Jurgen Klopp: Liverpool motivated by fans not 'Holy Grail' of title win

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says his players are not motivated by the "Holy Grail" of the Premier League title but by the club's supporters.

The Anfield club have not won the title since 1990 but went back to the top with a 2-0 win in Cardiff. They are two points clear of Manchester City.

"If you are only motivated to win the Holy Grail, then something is wrong with you," said Klopp.

"We want to win football games because we enjoy the ride with the fans."

Second-half goals from Georginio Wijnaldum and James Milner gave Klopp's side a deserved win in south Wales that took them to their highest-ever Premier League points total of 88.

 

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Monte Carlo Masters: Novak Djokovic & Rafael Nadal through

Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal breezed into the Monte Carlo Masters quarter-finals, but Britain's Cameron Norrie could not progress from the last 16.

Top seed Djokovic, 31, needed just one hour and eight minutes to win 6-3 6-0 against American Taylor Fritz.

Second seed Nadal eased past Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov in a 6-4 6-1 win on the clay - having now won 23 consecutive sets at the Masters 1000 tournament.

Norrie lost 6-2 7-5 to Italian Lorenzo Sonego, ranked 40 places below him.

The British number two, who is set to rise into the top 50 next week, was broken four times and struggled to test Sonego's serve.

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Geraint Thomas: Tour de France champion 'on track' for strong defence

Geraint Thomas says he is "on track" to challenge for a second straight Tour de France title this year.

Thomas started his Tour preparations later than for last year's win and said in February he would miss May's Giro d'Italia to be "in the best shape possible" for July's Tour.

"I'd love to win it again, but I'm not going to be thinking 'I need to win'," said the Welshman, 32.

"I'm not far off what shape I was in last year. I know what I've got to do."

After becoming just the third Briton to win the Tour - after Chris Froome and Bradley Wiggins - Thomas started winter training towards the end of November, three weeks later than the previous year.

 

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Manchester United: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says club must aspire to reach Barcelona's level

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says Manchester United must "aspire to Barcelona's level" after the Spanish side knocked them out of the Champions League.

Lionel Messi inspired Barca to a 3-0 win in Tuesday's quarter-final second leg, sealing a 4-0 aggregate victory.

"If we want to get back to Man Utd's true level, true traditions, we have to challenge Barcelona," United boss Solskjaer said.

"They were a couple of levels above over the two games." Messi scored two goals in four first-half minutes, with Philippe Coutinho adding a stunning long-range third in the 61st minute.

United struggled to contain their opponents and had just three shots on target across the two legs.

 

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Chinese Grand Prix: Have team orders caused more problems for Ferrari?

"Now what?" Charles Leclerc asked his team over the radio during the Chinese Grand Prix.

It was a very specific question addressing a very specific situation, but it also neatly sums up the awkward position Ferrari find themselves in after the third race in succession in which they have imposed team orders on their drivers.

Inevitably, Ferrari's decision to order Leclerc to hand third position to team-mate Sebastian Vettel after just 10 laps in Shanghai overshadowed Lewis Hamilton's dominant victory,

a win which sealed three one-twos for Mercedes in the first three races of this season.

And equally inevitably, Ferrari - and Vettel in particular - did not enjoy the spotlight on this always contentious subject. Which, if they are not careful, could come to overshadow their season.

 

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Tiger Woods wins 2019 Masters at Augusta to claim 15th major

Tiger Woods produced a scintillating finish to win a fifth Masters title and end an 11-year wait to claim a 15th major.

There were raucous celebrations around the 18th green as Woods finished with a two-under-par 70 to win on 13 under, one clear of fellow Americans Dustin Johnson, Xander Schauffele and Brooks Koepka.

Woods, written off by so many so often as he battled back problems in recent years, punched the air in delight, a wide smile across his face, before celebrating with his children at the back of the green.

"I'm a little hoarse from yelling," said the 43-year-old. "I was just trying to plod my way around all day then all of a sudden I had the lead.

"Coming up 18 I was just trying to make a five. When I tapped in I don't know what I did, I know I screamed.

 

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Chinese GP, F1's 1,000th race: Vettel top in first practice

Sebastian Vettel set the pace in first practice as Ferrari hinted they could be the team to beat at the Chinese Grand Prix this weekend.

Vettel finished the first session 0.207 seconds ahead of Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton - but the German was running harder tyres which should be slower.

Team-mate Charles Leclerc was third ahead of Red Bull's Max Verstappen.

Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas was fifth ahead of Renault's Daniel Ricciardo and Toro Rosso's Pierre Gasly.

As in Bahrain two weeks ago, Ferrari's advantage over Mercedes appeared mainly to be on the straights.

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Chris Froome to compete in Tour of the Alps in Team Sky's final stage race before sponsor change

Four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome will step up his preparations for the 2019 race at this month's Tour of the Alps.

Froome is joined in the field by Italian Vincenzo Nibali for the five-day race that begins on 22 April.

The 33-year-old has raced only twice so far this season, finishing 91st and 94th at the Tour of Colombia and Tour of Catalonia respectively.

He withdrew from February's UAE Tour.

 

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Masters 2019: Tiger Woods believes in ending major wait

Tiger Woods believes he can break his decade-long drought in the majors and win a fifth Masters title this week.

The 14-time major champion, who last won at Augusta National in 2005, has not won any of golf's four majors since claiming the 2008 US Open.

After back surgery, he returned to form in 2018 with a "special" win at the Tour Championship after competing at The Open and US PGA Championship.

"I feel like I can win again," said the 43-year-old American.

"I've proven I can do it. I put myself in with a chance of winning the last two majors of last year.

 

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Sebastian Vettel: Pressure mounting on error-prone Ferrari driver - Jolyon Palmer

Sebastian Vettel's performance at the Bahrain Grand Prix has raised serious questions - about his series of unforced errors, about his status within Ferrari and about his claim to be a potential world champion this year.

A spin while battling with Lewis Hamilton and a weekend on which he was out-paced by his new team-mate were exactly what Vettel did not need just two races into the new season.

The German came into 2019 needing to bury memories of 2018, when Ferrari had the fastest car for much of the season. Vettel had it within his hands to win a fifth world title, but a series of errors cost him that chance.

A crash out of the lead in Germany, and spins in Italy, Japan and the United States all left a lot of doubts.

As such, Vettel would have welcomed the winter break by the time Abu Dhabi came around last November.

 

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Barcelona: Lionel Messi & Luis Suarez leading charge before Manchester United

It's fair to say Barcelona are very happy with life at the moment.

Sitting pretty 11 points clear at the top of La Liga and through to the Spanish Cup final, Ernesto Valverde's team will be full of confidence when they head to Manchester United for the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final on Wednesday.

Their latest triumph was a hard-earned 2-0 home win over nearest league challengers Atletico Madrid on Saturday night, which did not come easily but eventually showed exactly why Barca should be feared as they head to Old Trafford.

A magnificent goalkeeping display by Atletico keeper Jan Oblak looked to have earned Atletico a point, but then Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi decided enough was enough.

 

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Danny Rose on racism: Tottenham defender 'can't wait to see the back of football'

Tottenham defender Danny Rose says he "can't wait to see the back of football" and is frustrated at the lack of action taken against fans' racism.

Racist chanting was directed at several England players, including Rose, during the Euro 2020 qualifier in Montenegro.

Uefa has charged Montenegro with racist behaviour but Rose, 28, does not expect a significant punishment.

The left-back said: "When countries get fined what I probably spend on a night out in London what do you expect?"

Rose, who was also abused while on England Under-21 duty in Serbia in 2012, says he will play on but has "had enough" of racism in the game.

 

 

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Relive Valencia's victory over Real Madrid

Real Madrid suffered their ninth La Liga loss of the season and their first under the returning Zinedine Zidane after being outclassed by Valencia.

They have now lost as many league matches this term as in their previous two campaigns combined.

Goncalo Guedes side-footed in a finish for the hosts in the first half and Ezequiel Garay headed in the second.

Karim Benzema pulled a goal back in injury-time for Real, but there was no time remaining to claim a point.

 

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Sergio Garcia & Matt Kuchar both to blame over Match Play incident

Golf is a maddening game usually made more sane by unspoken empathy between opponents.

It is this spirit that helps make it the envy of many a sport.

This is why Matt Kuchar is feeling the heat for doing nothing wrong according to the rules of the game. His crime was contravening its spirit during his quarter-final win over Sergio Garcia at the WGC Match Play in Austin, Texas.

As Garcia acknowledged, the primary fault lies with him. He hot-headedly raked away his ball before what should have been the most straightforward of concessions on the seventh hole last Saturday. It was an unprofessional, silly error.

 

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Mesut Ozil is 'playing like we want', says Arsenal manager Unai Emery

Arsenal manager Unai Emery said midfielder Mesut Ozil is "playing like we want" after producing a man-of-the-match performance against Newcastle.

Ozil, at times out of favour since the Spaniard took over this season, helped the Gunners to a 2-0 win - their 10th consecutive home league victory.

"I like how every player is playing and Mesut with his quality is helping us and giving us his work," he said.

"Also individual moments and skills, he has the capacity to help us."

Prior to Monday's win, Ozil had only started three league games since Boxing Day. 

 

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Paul Pogba: Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane likes Man Utd midfielder 'a lot'

Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane says he likes Manchester United's Paul Pogba "a lot" and that the midfielder "knows how to do everything on the pitch".

Pogba, 26, has been linked with the Spanish giants and described Real as "a dream club for every player" while on international duty with France.

"I know him personally," said former France captain Zidane before Real's La Liga match against Huesca on Sunday.

"He brings so much and there are few players who bring as much as he does."

Pogba rejoined United from Juventus for a then world record £89m in 2016, but his future at Old Trafford appeared in doubt earlier this season with widespread reports of acrimony between him and former manager Jose Mourinho.

 

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Man Utd: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer warns against complacency after permanent appointment

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has challenged his Manchester United players to "work harder" - and warned them against complacency because they will "never last at this club".

The former United striker was named the club's permanent manager on Thursday, having arrived on an interim basis in December to replace Jose Mourinho.

Under the Norwegian, 46, United have lost only once in 13 league games.

"We are looking forward, we have got to work harder," Solskjaer said.

"I want a Man Utd team to be one of the hardest working, fittest teams and that will bring results.

 

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Lucas Hernandez: Bayern Munich sign Atletico Madrid's World Cup-winning defender

Bayern Munich have signed Atletico Madrid defender Lucas Hernandez on a five-year deal worth a club record 80m euros (£68m).

The 23-year-old, who won the 2018 World Cup with France, will join the Bundesliga leaders on 1 July.

During his medical at Bayern, doctors discovered Hernandez had damaged a ligament in his right knee and he subsequently had surgery on Wednesday.

"This is a really important day in my footballing career," Hernandez said.

"Bayern Munich is one of the best clubs in Europe and the world. I'm proud to be able to fight for all possible titles with Bayern."

 

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Euro 2020: Ten minutes of madness as Denmark draw in Switzerland & Norway deny Sweden

The Euro 2020 qualifiers began with a bang and - fittingly after an exciting week - ended with even more drama.

Two incredible finishes took place simultaneously - one in Basel and one in Oslo - as 10 minutes of madness produced six goals and two 3-3 draws.

Denmark fought back from 3-0 down to draw in Switzerland, while a see-saw game in Norway ended with the hosts also nabbing a point against neighbours Sweden.

Here is how it unfolded....  84 mins - Switzerland 3-1 Denmark

Switzerland must have been confident of earning a second win from their two Euro 2020 qualifiers after Remo Freuler, Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka and Breel Embolo put them into a commanding 3-0 lead with little over 15 minutes to play.

 

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Conor McGregor: Ex-UFC champion announces retirement

Former two-weight UFC champion Conor McGregor says he has retired from mixed martial arts.

The Irish fighter, 30, announced his decision on social media on Tuesday.

"I've decided to retire from the sport formally known as 'Mixed Martial Art' today," he said.

McGregor's last fight ended in defeat, when he was beaten by Khabib Nurmagomedov in October 2018 - the Russian winning the lightweight contest by a fourth-round submission.

The Irishman, a former trainee plumber had established himself as one of the sport's leading fighters.

 

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