Milner targets perfect finish

James Milner claims Liverpool must win all their remaining games and if it's not good enough then Manchester City will deserve to claim the Premier League title.

Following Sunday's victory over Cardiff City, the Merseyside outfit now have 88 points, two more than Rafael Benitez's squad secured 10 years ago in finishing runners-up to arch rivals Manchester United.

Even if they win their remaining three games and make 97, that might not be enough as Pep Guardiola's City have a game in hand.

"We just need to win the rest of our games," Milner said. "If we do that and it's not good enough then you have to hold your hands up and say 'well done City'.

"They are a top team, they have done it before and are grinding it out. It's frustrating to think we've had one defeat all year and it might not be enough. But all we can do is win the rest of our games and put them under pressure."

Liverpool are next in action on Friday night when they welcome Huddersfield Town to Anfield.

The Reds are 13/10 to win the Premier League, while Man City are 4/7 to claim the title.

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Klopp: Fabinho is OK

Jurgen Klopp has played down the head injury Fabinho sustained on Sunday as Liverpool returned to the top of the Premier League table by beating Cardiff City 2-0.

The Brazilian had to be taken off just four minutes after coming on as a substitute himself following a clash of heads with Kenneth Zohore.

Klopp said afterwards: "It was very unlucky. Fabinho is OK but he had a bit of shaky legs and that's of course not a good sign in the moment.

"It is a 100 per cent 'yes' or go off; if it's 95 per cent in that game in that position, we cannot make that decision [to stay on]. It's all good."

Liverpool are 13/10 to win the Premier League title following the victory and 13/2 to beat Huddersfield Town in their next match on Friday.

After a goalless first half in Wales, Georginio Wijnaldum's fine strike gave the Reds the lead before James Milner doubled their advantage with a late penalty.

Meanwhile, Jordan Henderson was pleased to pick up another three points in sweltering conditions.

The former Sunderland midfielder said: "It's a big result for us and we want to keep fighting right until the end, to keep winning games.

"It was a different type of test for us and I thought we came through it really well. We've got to keep believing, keep our confidence going and win as many games as we can.

"It was very hot so we knew it would be difficult but, to be fair, it was the same for both teams. The conditions were difficult but I thought we dealt with that really well and dealt with the game, coming back off the big win we had in midweek [against Porto in the Champions League]."

Liverpool hold nerve at Cardiff

A goalless first 45 minutes could have increased the nerves for Liverpool but two goals duly came in the second half as they beat Cardiff 2-0 to return to the top of the Premier League.

After Manchester City went top after beating Tottenham on Saturday, Jurgen Klopp's side needed victory in Wales to go back above them and missed a number of first half chances.

However, they held their nerve to dominate the second period and win the game to go back top.

Liverpool should have taken the lead midway through the first half, Mo Salah and Sadio Mane combining to set up Roberto Firmino who was clear on goal but fired over when he should have hit the target.

On half an hour Trent Alexander-Arnold produced an excellent cross which Mane was able to reach but he couldn't direct his shot which went over the bar.

Soon after, when Liverpool did get a shot in, from Salah, Cardiff keeper Neil Etheridge was on hand to make a good save.

Most of the pressure was one-way but Cardiff did have an opportunity before the break, Oumar Niasse getting a shot in from a corner but Alisson saved well in the Liverpool goal.

Half-time came with the score goalless but Liverpool were soon on the attack after the restart, Georginio Wijnaldum finding Mane whose shot clipped the top of the net before going over.

Wijnaldum was again involved minutes later, giving the visitors the lead, Alexander-Arnold sending over a corner and the Dutchman found space in the area to fire home from close range to the joy and relief of the away fans at the Cardiff City Stadium.

Neil Warnock's side should have quickly equalised when Sean Morrison was gifted the ball from a corner after Alisson fumbled the ball but the defender, presented with a free header, failed to connect properly and the danger was alleviated.
 
Morrison was to pay for his miss soon after when he was adjudged to have fouled Salah in the box and Liverpool were awarded a penalty with James Milner making no mistake to double the visitors lead and they held on comfortably for another win that takes them onto 88 points.

Liverpool are two points clear at the top but Manchester City still have a game in hand and that takes place on Wednesday night at Old Trafford.

Manchester United, who lost to Everton on Sunday, are 5/1 to bounce back and puncture City's title bid while Pep Guardiola's side are 4/9 to win with the draw priced at 15/4.

City are 8/13 to retain the Premier League title with Liverpool available to be backed at 13/10.

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Reds attitude is ‘world class’

Jurgen Klopp believes the difference between success and failure this season for Liverpool can be their 'world class attitude'.

The Reds have manoeuvred themselves into a Champions League semi-final for the second season running and are embroiled in a thrilling Premier League title duel with Manchester City that appears destined to go to the wire.

A trip to Cardiff City on Sunday will be Liverpool's fifth game in 16 days but, after four key wins, Klopp doesn't see any signs of the schedule taking a toll on his squad.

Liverpool have in fact steadied their ship of lately and now look assured once again.

"We are not tired," Klopp said. "It's a decisive period of the season. It's good we are involved in two competitions; it's a sign for success.

"Training is low intensity because we cannot do a lot. The most important sessions in the week are the games we play."

Liverpool, 11/10 to win the title for the first time since 1990, are potentially four games from domestic bliss but Klopp says their attitude hasn't changed.

"Nothing has changed since July; we are in it, and now we want to win it," he added.

"It's all about how you mix up your potential with attitude. We obviously have a good football team with good players. Mix it up with world-class attitude and it makes you a difficult team to play against.

"That's all what we need. We've done that from the first day of the season and so far it has worked out."

Liverpool are 13/2 to beat Cardiff 3-0 on Sunday, while the Bluebirds are 16/1 to back up their midweek win at Brighton with a stunning success against Klopp's team as they continue to battle against relegation.

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Warnock seeks Bluebirds fight

Neil Warnock is hoping to see his Cardiff City side rise to the occasion when they play host to title-chasing Liverpool at the Cardiff City Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

The Bluebirds gave themselves a massive boost in their bid to escape relegation from the Premier League when they won 2-0 at fellow strugglers Brighton on Tuesday evening, with City now just two points adrift of safety.

However, their next assignment could hardly even any tougher, with the visitors top of the table going into the weekend action and also having qualified for the Champions League semi-finals.

Warnock told reporters at his pre-match press conference: "We'll just have to play the best we can and put in a good performance against one of the best sides in the world at the moment.

"I don't like my teams losing concentration and the fans are really looking forward to it, so we've got to give a good account of ourselves for them.

"I don't want it to be an occasion where we say it's a lovely day and get battered; I want us to put up a fight and that's what we've been working on.

"We've got to keep those good standards up for the rest of the season."

When the two sides met at Anfield earlier this season the Reds claimed a comprehensive 4-1 victory, while the last time these two sides met in South Wales the visitors stormed to a 6-3 triumph.

Liverpool are 1/5 to win the game on Sunday and are 3/1 to do so by a two-goal margin, with the Merseysiders 4/6 to keep a clean sheet.

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Premier League: Liverpool’s Title March Heads to Wales

Cardiff City vs Liverpool

Jurgen Klopp’s Premier League bandwagon rolls on to South Wales on Sunday for a huge clash against relegation threatened Cardiff City.

After clawing its way back into the survival race Neil Warnock will have his side set up to fight tooth and nail against Liverpool, and the Cardiff City Stadium will be at its hostile best.

These are often the games which provide the biggest tests; a team with four games left to earn another year at the top flight will never, ever roll over. So Liverpool will need to be at its best, and be patient. The way the Reds are playing they can break down any defence, but they don’t want to get into a war with Warnock’s warriors.

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Talking Points

Reds ready to go all the way

This has been the best Premier League title race in a while, and Liverpool showed just how well prepared they are with a vital 2-0 win over Chelsea last weekend. The Blues’ Eden Hazard has been in scintillating form but Liverpool put on a confident, energetic and ultimately impressive performance to win the game.

Manchester City’s shock exit from the Champions League last night, to Spurs on away goals, will have left Pep Guardiola’s team more determined than ever to take a clean sweep of domestic titles. But is the momentum beginning to swing towards Merseyside?

Liverpool coasted through to the semi-final of the Champions League with a 1-4 win against Porto. Klopp’s philosophy is that his best players can keep playing as long as they are winning; and all three of his main strikers were on target. Sadio Mane, Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino all scored in Portugal, as did defensive lynchpin Virgil Van Dijk.

Wing back Andrew Robertson has had a superb season for the Reds as a key part of their defence, as well as making nine assists with his incisive runs and accurate crossing.

The Premier League 2019 betting odds still marginally favour Manchester City on the assumption they just can’t lose. But they did against Spurs over two legs…

Cardiff can still catch the falling Seagulls

The Bluebirds are still fighting for their lives, but after defeat last weekend to Burnley they face an uphill battle, but they certainly haven’t given up just yet.

Nathaniel Mendez-Laing eyes to secure a positive Premier League 2019 results against Liverpool

Nathaniel Mendez-Laing celebrates goal against Brighton & Hove Albion

Cardiff boss Neil Warnock doesn’t feel his team has been getting fair treatment from the officials recently and his comments have got him into trouble, but anyone who saw Chelsea’s offside equaliser a couple of weeks ago will have some sympathy. And midfield dynamo Harry Arter has issued a rallying call to his team-mates, saying: “We’ve faced adversity this season, on and off the pitch and we feel like if we are going to stay up, we will really have battled against everyone.”

And he adds a dose or realism: “The reason we’re in this position is that over the course of the season we haven’t been good enough at times.

Recent Premier League 2019 results haven’t been going in Cardiff’s favour, with Burnley, Newcastle, Crystal Palace and Southampton all easing away from the relegation places.

But the Bluebirds knew that Chris Hughton’s Brighton was still within reach after a poor run of form culminating in a 0-5 home reversal against Bournemouth. And on Tuesday night when the two teams clashed, Cardiff came out on top to claw their way to within two points of the sad Seagulls. Nathaniel Mendez-Laing scored a brilliant early strike to put the Bluebirds ahead before centre back Sean Morrison made the points safe as Cardiff completed a crucial double over Brighton.

With four games left Warnock knows his team must win at least another one, and probably two, to make a dramatic escape.

History

Liverpool has won all five of the Premier League meetings with Cardiff City, the last being a 4-1 victory at Anfield back in October when Sadio Mane scored twice.

While Liverpool has three strikers banging the goals in for fun; Cardiff’s top scorer is Victor Camarasa with five; and Mendez-Laing’s cracker on the South coast was only his second of the season.

Cardiff needs more wins, but may have to wait…Liverpool hasn’t lost in its last 17 games.

Betting Tip

??
Cardiff City vs Liverpool Cardiff +2.00 @ 1.90
April 21 23:00

Cardiff is at 15.00 to win with us with Liverpool at 1.21 and the draw at 5.60; so all reason points to an away win.

Warnock is a wily old bird though, and when Cardiff faced Manchester City recently he set his team up to concede as few goals as possible and they went down 2-0. I am sure this game will follow a similar pattern but wouldn’t rule out a goal for the battling Bluebirds.

A SHORT EXPLANATION ON HOW OUR (??) BETS ARE WORTH:
?? =€20 (Highly confident) ?? =€10 (CONFIDENT) ?? =€5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

 

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Klopp aims to find Barca flaws

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp says he will try to find some useful clues as to how his side can defeat Barcelona in the semi-finals of the Champions League.

The Reds roared through to the last four with a 4-1 win at FC Porto, with the Merseysiders claiming a 6-1 aggregate success to move one step closer to repeating their run to the final of the competition last season.

And Klopp is hoping that watching how others team have tried to tame Barca, who knocked out Manchester United in the quarter-finals, will be of some benefit to his players.

He told his post-match press briefing: "We are in the semi-final, we play against Barcelona, you can imagine I don't think too much about it, but I'm really happy about the fact that we play them.

"We will find things where we think we probably could use it or whatever. So many teams who tried it already and maybe we find something.

"I'm looking forward to it, it's brilliant. The news that there's a competition, a proper football game between Barcelona and Liverpool, I think that's really good news.

"I'm happy for all the people in the club that it's like this; second time in two years in the semi-final. That's a big statement.

"However you go there (to Barcelona), it's difficult. Everybody tries it and nobody did it (won there) in the last two years."

Liverpool are available at 5/2 to win the Champions League this season, with Barcelona priced at 6/4 and Ajax 9/2.

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Spurs belief impresses Pochettino

Tottenham Hotspur head coach Mauricio Pochettino hailed the character of his team after they reached the Champions League semi-finals at the expense of Manchester City.

Spurs were beaten 4-3 in the second leg of their quarter-final at the Etihad Stadium, but a 1-0 win in the first leg meant that they progressed on away goals, with a Fernando Llorente strike in Manchester eventually proving to be crucial.

And Pochettino was clearly emotional after watching his team in action and setting up a last-four showdown with Ajax, who have knocked out both Real Madrid and Juventus on their way to the semi-finals.

He told reporters: "I am more than happy, I am more than proud. To be in the semis was a dream, now we are there.

"(It is) one of the most important times in my career like a manager, of course, one of the best.

"Sport always gives you the possibility to beat teams that no-one believes or thinks we are capable of (beating).

"Football is not only about talent, but belief and to have the right mentality. This team has the personality, character and mentality to believe all is possible.

"With the quality, we can have this type of performance and achieve these big things. If not, it's impossible."

The second Champions League semi-final sees Liverpool take on Barcelona, with the Reds having won 4-1 at Porto to complete a 6-1 aggregate victory in their last-eight tie.

Liverpool are priced at 5/2 to win the Champions League, with Tottenham 9/2 and Barcelona 6/4.

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City told to stand up and react

Manchester City will have to react quickly to their Champions League exit according to head coach Pep Guardiola, with the Premier League title still in their hands.

The Citizens crashed out of the Champions League despite a 4-3 win at home to Spurs in the second leg of their quarter-final tie, with the Londoners progressing on away goals – having won the first leg 1-0.

And, with a crunch Premier League clash against the same Tottenham side next on the agenda at lunchtime on Saturday, Guardiola accepts that he and his players simply have to move on quickly.

The Spaniard told reporters: "It's tough, it's cruel, but we have to accept it. We have to stand up and react. It is a close (short amount of) time and the same team. We can't think too much now.

"We have fought for nine or 10 months in the Premier League and still we are there. It is in our hands. Today is tough and tomorrow will be tough too, but the day after we will be ready."

The Citizens are currently in second place in the Premier League standings, two points behind Liverpool, but with a game in hand.

That extra match comes up next Tuesday, when City head to Old Trafford for a derby showdown with United, who were also eliminated from the Champions League this week – being knocked out by Barcelona.

The Citizens are 1/4 to defeat Tottenham on Saturday and are 14/1 to win the game 2-1, with City 8/11 to eventually retain their Premier League title come the end of the season.

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Ill Lovren to miss Porto clash

Jurgen Klopp has revealed that Dejan Lovren has not travelled to Portugal for Liverpool's Champions League clash with Porto because he is ill.

The Croatian defender was not included in the 21-man squad for the quarter-final second-leg tie but Adam Lallana is available while Jordan Henderson has recovered from an ankle knock and should feature in the game.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain played for the Reds' Under-23 side at Leicester City on Sunday but will not be involved in Portugal as Liverpool attempt to reach the semi-finals of the Champions League.

Liverpool won last week's first leg at Anfield 2-0 thanks to goals by Naby Keita and Roberto Firmino and are 17/2 to win the second match by the same scoreline with Henderson available at 8/1 to score at any time in the encounter.

Klopp said: "Dejan is ill. He had a bad night. He had no chance to travel. That is the reason for that.

"We have Joe (Gomez), so should be fine for that. We have Fabinho for the position, so that should be OK. We never forced it and we cannot force it.

"Pretty much all the rest are travelling; Ox is not, it makes more sense for him to train here. However much we all love having Ox around, it makes absolute sense for him that he stays here.

"Adam (Lallana) is back in the travelling squad. Hendo is all fine. The other players are all fine, that's really good. Nothing happened. We all have knocks and Hendo got a knock, but that would never take him out."

Liverpool are available at 10/3 to win the Champions League this season and at 11/10 to clinch the Premier League title.