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EPL: Salah, others shine as Liverpool put three past Villa



Liverpool looked like the dominant Jurgen Klopp side of old as a 3-0 win over Aston Villa at Anfield on Sunday maintained the Reds’ unbeaten start to the new season.

Dominik Szoboszlai, with his first goal for the club, and Mohamed Salah were on target either side of Matty Cash’s own goal.

Victory takes the Reds to within two points of Manchester City at the top of the Premier League.

But it was the manner of victory and a return of 10 points from a tricky opening four games of the new season that will have Liverpool fans dreaming of a title challenge once more.

Either side of Liverpool’s first title in 30 years in 2020, Klopp’s men missed out on the title to City twice by a solitary point in 2019 and 2022.

However, last season they slumped to fifth in the Premier League to miss out on Champions League football for the first time in seven years.

A return to the top four looked like it could be the limit of Liverpool’s ambitions for the new campaign after a difficult summer in the transfer market led them to miss out on a number of targets.

Klopp has had to completely rebuild his midfield, but new signings Szoboszlai and Alexis Mac Allister have slotted in with ease.

Arguably the Reds’ most important business of the window was turning down a huge offer from Saudi side Al-Ittihad for Mohamed Salah this week.

Salah was a constant threat and there is little doubting Liverpool’s firepower up front with Darwin Nunez now finding his feet after a difficult first season.

Nunez was rewarded for his match-winning contribution off the bench with two goals away to Newcastle last weekend with his first start of the season.

The Uruguayan’s pace and power consistently exposed the Villa defence but it was from a set-piece that the home side broke the deadlock after just three minutes.

Trent Alexander-Arnold’s corner came out to the edge of the box where Szoboszlai arrowed a powerful shot into the far corner on his weaker left foot.

Alexander-Arnold controlled the game from his new role at the base of the Liverpool midfield when in possession.

Captain for the day in the absence of the suspended Virgil van Dijk, it was his pass that started the move for the second goal.

Salah squared for Nunez, who should have scored himself, but when his shot came back off the post, the ball ricocheted in off the unfortunate Cash.

Villa had lost just seven Premier League games in 28 under Unai Emery.

But just as in the 5-1 thrashing they suffered at Newcastle on the opening weekend of the season, their high defensive line was easily picked off.

Joel Matip headed a huge chance wide and Nunez hit the crossbar as Liverpool should have added to their lead before half-time.

But Villa will also feel they did not make the most of their chances to bring the game to life.

John McGinn blazed over with just Alisson Becker to beat before the Brazilian goalkeeper produced a miraculous stop to keep out Cash’s header at the start of the second period.

At the other end, Nunez somehow headed wide with the goal gaping after a wonderful cross by Salah picked out his strike partner.

The Egyptian remains indispensable if Liverpool are to hold any hope of reeling in City for a 20th English top-flight title and got the goal his performance deserved on 55 minutes.

Villa failed to deal with another corner and Salah converted Nunez’s flick-on at the back post


Football is coming home! UK & Republic of Ireland set to host Euro 2028 as Turkey withdraw bid



The United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland look set to host Euro 2028 after the Turkish FA withdrew its bid to host the tournament.

The Turkish FA has officially withdrawn its bid to host Euro 2028 in order to focus on its plan to co-host the tournament with Italy in 2032. UEFA has now approved the joint proposal, which was first announced in July.

Turkey’s withdrawal from the 2028 bidding process means that the UK and Republic of Ireland’s bid will now run unopposed. Wembley Stadium hosted the semi-finals and final of the delayed 2020 European Championship, but the UK has not hosted an entire major tournament since 1996.

Both bids will require official approval at a meeting of UEFA’s executive committee on Tuesday. An official statement from UEFA read: “The presentations at that meeting will be an important part of the process which will take due consideration of the content of the bid submissions before reaching a decision.”

If approved, then Euro 2028 will be hosted in the UK and Ireland. Among the ten proposed stadiums are Wembley Stadium, Hampden Park and the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, as well as the currently unbuilt Bramley Moore Dock stadium in Liverpool and Casement Park in Belfast

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Messi makes decision on when he will leave Inter Miami



Lionel Messi has reportedly decided where he will end his playing career, but it won’t be in Miami or Barcelona.

Messi’s Inter Miami contract is set to expire in 2025, at which point – according to El Nacional – he will look to return to boyhood club Newell’s Old Boys in his native Argentina. There is an option for the World Cup winner to extend his deal with Miami for an extra year, but the report states that he wants to retire in his homeland.

Messi left Barcelona in 2021 after more than two decades at the club, having joined the Spanish giants from Newell’s as a 13-year-old. He snubbed a return to Camp Nou when he left Paris Saint-Germain over the summer, and it now looks like a fairy tale return to Barca is never going to happen.

Messi scored 10 goals in his first seven games for David Beckham’s Miami franchise, but he has spent the past month injured. He will play a farewell match at Barcelona at some point, even if he does not return to play for the club

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Real Madrid flop Eden Hazard ready to return to football this month



Former Chelsea and Real Madrid star Eden Hazard is all set to play football again but this time in a charity match in France.

The former Belgian international is currently without a club after he mutually terminated his Real Madrid contract at the end of the 2022/23 season.

Amid speculation regarding his future, Hazard is all set to step on a football pitch in October and will be playing for Varietes Club de France in a charity match.

He is set to team up with France legends Laurent Blanc and Didier Deschamps and will also be accompanied by his former Lille team-mates Yohan Cabaye and Mathieu Debuchy, according to L’Équipe.

The match will be played for a noble cause at the Stade de L’Epopee in Calais in front of 12,000.

The 32-year-old star had offers from his former club Lille and from Ligue 1 giants Marseille in the summer but the player reportedly rejected them. He was also linked with a move back to the Blues but in reality, there were no talks between the two parties.

While Hazard is back on the football field, his future in professional football still remains doubtful as he has yet to make a call on whether to quit playing or continue his career.

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