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Soccer – Anfield stay suits Robertson

Premier League leaders Liverpool have handed a new long-term contract to Scotland international Andy Robertson.

The 24-year-old has made 56 appearances in all competitions for the Reds since being signed by Jurgen Klopp from Hull City in the summer of 2017.
“As soon as the club came to me, it was a no-brainer for me. I want to stay here, so as soon as they put an offer on the table it was signed as quickly as that,” Robertson said.
Liverpool, 8/11 with Bet365 to win the Premier League title this season, can be backed at 8/11 to keep a clean sheet against Roy Hodgson’s Crystal Palace team on Saturday.

Soccer – Albrighton pledges his future to Foxes

Marc Albrighton has said that he never had any desire to leave Leicester City after signing a new contract that will keep him at the club until June 2022.

The 29-year-old, who has made over 170 appearances for the Foxes, moved to the King Power Stadium on a free transfer from Aston Villa in the summer of 2014.
“Leicester offered me a deal and I was always going to sign it. I’ve had some good times here and hopefully I can continue to do so,” Albrighton said.
Albrighton played a key role in Leicester’s title-winning campaign and in their run to the quarter-finals of the Champions League in 2016/17.
Leicester are 12/5 with Bet365 to beat Wolves at Molineux on Saturday with Albrighton 22/1 to be the first goal scorer in the encounter.

Soccer – Solskjaer confirms Sanchez boost

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is hopeful that Alexis Sanchez will be able to play some part in Manchester United’s game against Brighton on Saturday.

However, Marouane Fellaini, Chris Smalling and Marcos Rojo look set to miss the match, which United are 3/10 with Bet365 to win.
Sanchez has struggled with several niggling injuries in the last two months while Fellaini, who missed last weekend’s 1-0 victory at Tottenham, looks set to be sidelined until mid-February with a calf problem.
Solskjaer said: “Alexis has trained all week, so hopefully he will be available. Chris and Marcos have just started running lightly so they’re not fit yet. Felli is the long-term one who is out. He’ll be out for a few weeks.”
United can be backed at 7/4 to finish in the top four this season.

Soccer – Coach seeks Saints focus

Head coach Ralph Hasenhuttl has told his Southampton squad to focus on the job of ensuring Premier League survival, following their exit from the FA Cup.

The Saints lost 5-3 on penalties in a third-round replay against Derby County on Wednesday evening, with the top-flight outfit letting slip a two-goal lead during the game, just as they had done in the original tie in the East Midlands.
That left Hasenhuttl frustrated that his team had been unable to see the game out, while also warning that focus and concentration will need to be much improved on Saturday, when Everton are the visitors to St Mary’s.
He told the Daily Echo: “We have to concentrate on the Premier League now.
“We have to take time to recover very well, because on Saturday we have an important game here at home against Everton. We should be more concentrated in this game than we were here.”
Southampton are just one point clear of the relegation places, having moved out of the bottom three thanks to a fine 2-1 win at Leicester City last time out, with the Saints available at 8/1 to be relegated this season.

Cricket – Stone setback hurts Root

Skipper Joe Root is ‘gutted’ that paceman Olly Stone has been forced out of the England tour of the West Indies because of a stress fracture in his lower back.

The 25-year-old Warwickshire fast bowler made his international debut on the recent tour of Sri Lanka, featuring in four one-day internationals, but was unable to force his way into the Test side.
He had hoped to make a further impression in the Caribbean, but will now head home and could face a significant spell on the sidelines.
Root told reporters at the completion of a warm-up match against a CWI President’s XI: “I’m gutted for him, he worked extremely hard to get into this squad.
“He did some really good work in Sri Lanka, pushed his case really hard and was doing the same here.
“It’s a massive blow for him personally and for us as a team too, but I’m sure we’ll see plenty more of him in the future.”
England are 1/5 with Bet365 to win the Test series against the West Indies.

Snooker – Selby back in the groove

Mark Selby was pleased to register a win at a Triple Crown event, having suffered early exits in all three tournaments last year.

The three-time world champion, three-time Masters champion and two-time UK Championship winner crashed out of all three tournaments at the first stage last season, leaving him determined to put things right in 2019.
And Selby, 5/1 with Bet365 to win the tournament, made a decent start to his Masters campaign as he saw off Stephen Maguire 6-2 to set up a quarter-final clash with Judd Trump.
Afterwards he told World Snooker: “In the last few big competitions over the last year or 18 months I’ve struggled and not really produced.
“I’ve put too much pressure on myself in the past, especially in the three majors and it’s shown in the way I’ve performed sometimes. So it was nice to perform like that and get the win.”

Rugby League – Widdop coup joy for Warrington

Warrington Wolves claim they have pulled off the biggest deal in the history of the Super League after snapping up Gareth Widdop on a three-year contract.

The 29-year-old England international has spent his career playing in the NRL, having joined current club St George Illawarra Dragons from Melbourne Storm, where he started out in 2010.
However, with Widdop looking to return to England from the start of the 2020 season, it resulted in a scrum for his signature which Warrington have emerged from triumphant.
And Wolves’ CEO Karl Fitzpatrick said: “This is arguably the biggest signing in the club’s history and quite possibly in the history of Super League. In 2020 Gareth will be a fantastic addition to an already formidable squad.”
In the meantime, Warrington are 3/1 with Bet365 to win the 2019 Grand Slam final ahead of Widdop arriving at the end of the year.

Soccer – Mane backing Reds to cope with pressure

Sadio Mane is confident Liverpool will win the Premier League title this season and not succumb to the pressure like they did in the 2013-14 campaign.

The 26-year-old Senegal international has played a key role in helping Jurgen Klopp’s men open up a four-point lead at the top of the table ahead of Manchester City with 16 games remaining this term.
And, despite Liverpool impressing so far this season and only being defeated once, there are fears that they could let their lead slip like five years ago when Brendan Rodgers’ side suffered a late-season defeat to Chelsea and then drew at Crystal Palace, which allowed Manchester City to clinch the title by a two-point margin.
However, when discussing the current crop at Anfield, Mane insisted that the players will see the title race through, which they are 8/11 with Bet365 to achieve.
He said: “This is not a team of chokers. I am sure we will win the league.”

Tennis – Federer hails Evans after battling win

Roger Federer defeated Dan Evans in straight sets to reach the third round of the Australian Open and claimed it was like “playing in a mirror” because of the British player’s style.

The 37-year-old Swiss veteran is aiming to defend his crown and become the first player to win the opening major of the year for a seventh time.
And, while he came through the second round tie on Wednesday, his 28-year-old opponent gave him a difficult test as the opening two sets went to a tie-break before Federer claimed a 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (7-3) 6-3 victory.
Federer said Evans, who is ranked 189th in the world as he makes his return from a drugs ban after testing positive for cocaine in 2017, “played very well”.
He added: “It felt like playing in a mirror a little bit. That was the mindset I had – how would I play myself potentially.”
The third seed, who is 9/2 with Bet365 to win the Australian Open, will face Taylor Fritz in the third round.

Soccer – Guardiola calls for City focus

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has urged his side not to pay attention to Liverpool’s fixtures after the Citizens secured a 3-0 win over Wolves on Monday.

A brace from Gabriel Jesus and an own goal from Conor Coady ensured City, who are 6/5 with Bet365 to win the Premier League, claimed the spoils at the Eithad Stadium.
With four points between themselves and frontrunners Liverpool, Guardiola has urged his players to focus on their own games and not worry about Jurgen Klopp’s side.
“We can’t do anything about Liverpool’s games, they belong to them,” he said.
“The only way to put that pressure on is by being there and maybe one day they fail.
“I say to them don’t look at the calendar for Liverpool’s games, forget about it. Because normally when that happens you lose your games.”