Liverpool defeats Stoke, sets up Wembley date

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Liverpool defeats Stoke, sets up Wembley date

Liverpool will head for Wembley for the League Cup final as they held off Stoke City to progress through the tournament.

The Reds went into the game with a 1-0 victory in hand, but trailed by 1-0 in 90 minutes. The team then played through a goalless extra time and clinched victory by scoring 6-5 on penalties.

Stoke’s Marko Arnautovic had scored the only goal in the game under controversy circumstances, slotting in an Adam Bojan pass in the stoppage time of the first time.

Later replays showed that the Austrian player was clearly offside, but the game remained 1-1 on aggregate score and both teams hit the woodwork during extra time before taking penalties.

Jon Walters, Glenn Whelan, Ibrahim Affelay, Xherdan Shaqiri and Marco Van Ginkel were all on target for Stoke while Adam Lallana, Christian Benteke, Roberto Firmino, James Milner and Lucas were successful for Liverpool before Joe Allen Anfield scored the winner and sent Anfield wild.

The victory ensures that Jurgen Klopp can visit Wembley in his first season as Liverpool manager, who said “Wembley is a cool place to play football… but we go there to win. It’s not much fun to lose.”

Messi and Suarez set for La Liga return

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Messi and Suarez set for La Liga return

Lionel Messi is set to return for a La Liga clash against Malaga as the Argentine returns to training with Barcelona.

Both Messi and Luis Suarez are expected to be fit for the match.

Messi was absent as Barca met Athletic Bilbao in their semi-final first leg match due to a hamstring complaint, while Suarez served the second game of a two-match ban.

Lionel Messi had since returned to training on Thursday, but the club won’t make a decision about whether he will travel to Malaga until after training on Friday evening.

Barcelona said earlier this week that tests revealed that the hamstring strain the Argentine forward sustained is only a knock and not an injury requiring long recovery.

However, Malaga, who have not lost a home game in La Liga since November 7, are capable of shocking the defending champions according to midfielder Ignacio Camacho.

“You have to take it as a game where three points are on offer, like any other match,” Camacho said.

“It is true that it is difficult, but we have big games against top teams this year.”

“We have to produce a complete game and we will go for the points. We have worked well all week, and the coach has told us exactly what we need to do on the field.”

Malaga sit 12th in the La Liga table, eight points clear of the relegation zone after an impressive run of form with four wins and one draw in six matches.

Lleyton Hewitt ends career at Australian Open Second Round

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Lleyton Hewitt ends career at Australian Open Second Round

A year ago, former tennis world number one Lleyton Hewitt announced that the 2016 Australian Open would be his last tournament, and he made good on his promise.

He pushed past fellow Australian James Duckworth in the first round by 7-6 (7-5), 6-2, 6-4.

In the second round, as he played against Spaniard David Ferrer, the No. 8 seed he produced some vintage tennis but was defeated by 6-2, 6-4, 6-4.

On court after the loss, Hewitt thanked the crowd after a video tribute was played, with messages from Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and others.

“I left nothing in the locker room. My whole career I’ve given 100%,” said the 34-year-old.

“I love coming out here and competing. I’ve been so fortunate to have that opportunity 20 years in a row.”

“The support I’ve had on this court… This is the perfect place to finish,” Hewitt said.

Hewitt finished his career with over 30 singles titles and a runner-up performance here in 2005, as well as two grand slams: one U.S. Open and Wimbledon title.

Bundesliga winter break too much for Guardiola

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Bundesliga winter break too much for Guardiola

Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola thirsts for action, admitting that “it’s boring going so long without playing” as a result of the Bundesliga winter break.

The German top league had been in intermission since December 20, and only resumed on the January 22 – slightly more than a month later.

Bayern Munich begin the second half of their Bundesliga campaign eight points clear of second-placed Borussia Dortmund.

They will travel north to face Hamburg who they beat 5-0 in the opening matches.

‘I’m happy that the first competitive fixture is finally upon us,’ he told the club’s official website.

‘It’s boring going so long without playing.’

As such, Guardiola’s keen interest to get work in England would be enforced by the fact that the Premier League has no breaks.

In fact, the League has a busier schedule, with back to back games during the Christmas season.