Liverpool thrashed by Man City in 1st game as champions

Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson, centre, reacts during the English Premier League soccer match between Manchester City and Liverpool at Etihad Stadium in Manchester, England, Thursday, July 2, 2020. (AP Photo/Laurence Griffiths,Pool)

MANCHESTER, England — As they stepped onto the pitch, Liverpool’s players were given a guard of honor from Manchester City. It was the only time they looked like Premier League champions on Thursday.

“I think they drank a lot of beers in the last week,” City manager Pep Guardiola said.

The dethroned champions made sure there was an abrupt comedown from the partying. A merciless attacking display sparked by City scorers Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling and Phil Foden consigned Liverpool to a 4-0 loss exactly a week after its 30-year title drought ended.

“They were quicker than us in mind — we lacked fluidity,” Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp said. “Isn’t it nice another team can be champions when Man City play so well?”

The slack defending and lack of sharpness from Liverpool was perhaps forgivable from players who had spent the previous 31 rounds establishing an unprecedented 23-point lead to become England’s earliest champions.

Such an emphatic loss is not how Liverpool wanted to close out such a memorable season. Especially when there are still has enough games to overhaul City’s record 100-point haul from 2017-18.

Klopp wasn’t as downbeat as the result suggested — despite Liverpool going a fifth away game in all competitions without scoring.

“I saw a brilliant attitude, I saw boys who were fighting with all their effort,” he said. “We didn’t behave like somebody who became champions a week ago.”

It was a night to forget for so many Liverpool players — particularly Joe Gomez, who dragged Raheem Sterling down to concede a penalty converted by Kevin De Bruyne in the 25th minute.


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Human foosball: New form of soccer developed for pandemic

PERGAMINO, Argentina  — Soccer-starved Argentines have found a way to play their beloved sport while social distancing, though the rules have been altered and the dazzling end-to-end dashes produced by national legend Diego Maradona are impossible.

Men play soccer at a local club, Play Futbol 5, in Pergamino, Argentina, Wednesday, July 1, 2020. In order to continue playing amid government restrictions to curb the spread of the new coronavirus, the club divided its soccer field into 12 rectangles to mark limited areas for each player, keeping them from making physical contact. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

Dubbed “metegol humano,” or “human foosball,” the system designed for the coronavirus pandemic involves dividing the field with white chalk into 12 rectangles and restricting each player to a defined space.

The ball can be passed across rectangles, and players can dribble inside their areas. The modified game emphasizes passing and shooting over running and fancy footwork. And of course there are no rough tackles.

Members of the Vende Humo FC and Los Mismos de Siempre amateur teams tried the new form of soccer at the Play Fútbol 5 sports complex in the city of Pergamino, about 240 kilometers (149 miles) from the capital of Buenos Aires.

Players concentrated Wednesday on not stepping over the lines as they dribbled and defended. Leaving one’s rectangle incurs a penalty.

They agreed it was great to be playing again after a 100-day drought. Professional soccer is suspended, and players cannot train. For amateurs who usually rent fields for games, it was like breathing again.

“Now I feel free and happy, getting together again with friends and playing soccer,” said Martín Rodríguez, a defender from Vende Humo FC. “If it were up to me, I would do this from Monday to Monday.”

A week ago, Pergamino became the first place

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Still not road’s end for Phil, James in PH

Philippine football has not seen the end of Phil and James Younghusband yet.

While the brothers are already retired after remarkable careers representing the country, both Phil and James are not ruling out a return albeit in a different capacity.

The brothers have hinted at coaching as the next phase of their careers as they intend to utilize their connections overseas to upgrade their skills and earn the necessary credentials.

Phil and James were former members of the reserve team of English Premier League giants Chelsea before they moved to the Philippines almost a decade ago and became poster boys to the rise of the team as a force in Southeast Asia.

“My goal was always to help develop Philippine football and to go abroad, learn and come back and share that to the Philippines,” said James, 33, who announced his retirement from the game last week just a few months after Phil also called time to his career.

“I want to go back to England, speak to our contacts at Chelsea if I can gain some experience there, gain some knowledge there and also look to go to the United States as well because I realize, I think with the Philippines, we share similarities with the American system, in terms of schooling and sports so I think it’s a good place to learn how they do things there and can bring back to the Philippines,” James added.

Phil, who is now based in Kent, England, said giving back to the sport will always be their priority.

“James and I have always said a lot of our knowledge and experience came from our time at Chelsea football club,” Phil, 32, said during the brothers’ appearance at “CPT Crossover” podcast on Tuesday night.

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