Van Dijk backs Salah to rediscover scoring touch - GulfToday

Van Dijk backs Salah to rediscover scoring touch

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Liverpool's Mohamed Salah takes a position.Reuters

 Mohamed Salah has failed to score in seven consecutive Liverpool games but team mate Virgil van Dijk says it is only a matter of time before the goals come for the Egyptian forward.

Salah, who scored 44 goals for Liverpool last season and helped them reach the Champions League final, has notched 20 goals in 41 games in all competitions, with 17 of them coming in the league.

“People can say all they want but I think all the teams in the Premier League would love to have him in their side,” defender Van Dijk told the club website.

“The goals will come. That’s something for a striker that is maybe going to be in your head but we tell him every time: you just need to keep working, keep going and you will be fine.”

Elsewhere, Manchester United’s former players from the famous Class of 92 are critical of midfielder Paul Pogba because he was not loyal to former manager Alex Ferguson, Zlatan Ibrahimovic has said.

Pogba, who came through United’s academy, left the club for free in 2012 after Ferguson fell out with the Frenchman’s agent Mino Raiola but returned following a four-year spell at Juventus for a then-world record fee in 2016.

The 26-year-old was criticised for his poor form earlier this season by former players Gary Neville and Paul Scholes, who work as television pundits, and Ibrahimovic said it stemmed from Pogba’s decision to leave United and Ferguson for Juventus.

“With Pogba, he was with United when he was young, then he went out and he came back,” Ibrahimovic, who played with Pogba at United for 1-1/2 seasons, told the Mirror.

“In the circle of Ferguson, they don’t like that because they stayed all their life under Ferguson and they never moved from Ferguson.

“They didn’t even talk if Ferguson didn’t tell them to open their mouth. So now if they’re talking, I don’t know whether Ferguson gave them permission or not.”

Despite playing a crucial role in winning the World Cup with France last year, Pogba struggled for form at United this season under former manager Jose Mourinho, who benched the midfielder towards the end of his Old Trafford tenure.

However, Pogba turned his campaign around with nine goals and seven assists in all competitions after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was appointed caretaker boss in December.

“I think Pogba has the potential to be the best player in the world in his position,” Ibrahimovic, now with MLS side LA Galaxy, added.

“He’s a good guy, he trains hard, he listens, he wants to become better, he wants to win, he wants to perform in every game.

“Things happening outside do not really bother him because when you are at that level, everyone will speak — positive, negative, in between.”

Meanwhile, Chelsea forward Tammy Abraham, on loan at Aston Villa, believes he will play regularly for the first team next season when he returns to his parent club.

Abraham is on loan at the second-tier Championship club until the end of the season and he is their leading goal scorer with 21 league goals, three behind the division’s top marksman Teemu Pukki of Norwich City.

“As a young kid, I’ve always believed I will play for Chelsea, I always believe that,” Abraham told Sky Sports.

The 21-year-old, who has also had loan spells at Bristol City and Swansea City, has made two Premier League appearances for Chelsea - the same number of international caps he has for England - and is aiming to significantly add to that tally.

“That’s the aim going into next season,” Abraham added. “I think I have the ability to. I just have to, when I get the opportunity, grab it with two hands.”

Sixth-placed Villa are vying for promotion to the top flight through a Championship playoff spot with eight games to go and host Blackburn Rovers on March 30.

Agence France-Presse

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Team Emirates’ Pogacar claims podium finish

A monumental final push in the UAE heat from Tadej Pogacar wasn’t enough to take the win in the third stage of the team’s home country as Adam Yates...


The 184km Emirates Stage finished with an exhausting 10.8km climb as Yates launched a surprisingly early attack with 6km to go. Pogacar didn’t react to Yates’ initial acceleration but then ripped clear of the chasing group with 5km remaining, finishing second in the stage, claiming the young rider’s jersey and ending the day second in the GC in a successful day for the team.

Pogacar said “It was extremely hot today, so for me on a climb like that in those temperatures it was a really good ride and I’m pleased.

“There is still three stages with another big mountain stage and the chance of crosswinds tomorrow so it’s not over yet. We have a strong team here so will try something for sure.”

Pogacar will get another chance to claim back the one minute GC deficit as the fifth stage of the Tour finishes at the same Jebel Hafeet summit.

Pogacar will wear the white young rider’s jersey in Wednesday’s stage as the race sees the riders return to the flats which will come as welcome relief for the sprinters.

The Emirates NBD Stage starts from Zabeel Park, crosses Mushrif Park and Motor City before finishing at Dubai City Walk where the popular walkway has been transformed as part of the racing route.

British climber Yates pulverised the opposition on the tough, final ascent of stage, winning by over a minute and taking the overall race lead.

His compatriot Chris Froome was dropped early in the race.

The four-time Tour de France winner again struggled on his comeback from injuries sustained last May.

The 27-year-old Yates is also making his 2020 debut and looks favourite to win in a competitive field after his stunning attack from 6km out at the end of a warm day with temperatures passing 30C.

“I attacked maybe a little too early, but in the end I felt good,” said Yates, whose win gives him a 1min 07sec lead in the overall.

“A minute is a lot, but we have to do this climb again, and maybe my legs won’t be so good then,” Yates said in reference to stage five.

“Also tomorrow I heard a rumour there are going to be crosswinds, so we’ll see.”

Yates was followed up the final 10.6km Jebell Hafeet climb at a 7 per cent gradient by a trio of challengers with Slovenian prodigy Pogacar finishing 1min 03sec adrift.

Astana’s Alexey Lutsenko was third at 1min 30sec accompanied by up-and-coming Frenchman David Gaudu.

Yates came fourth at the 2016 Tour de France and is targeting the Grand Boucle this summer where he will lead the Australian team ahead of his brother Simon.

Wednesday’s flat stage, the fourth of seven, is a 173km run to Dubai City Walk where a mass bunch sprint is expected.





Stage 3 Results

1. Adam Yates (GBR) Mitchelton-Scott 4h42’34”

2. Tadej Pogacar (SLO) UAE Team Emirates +1:03

3. Alexey Lutsenko (KAZ) Astana +1:30

General Classification Results

1. Adam Yates (GBR) Mitchelton-Scott 12h30’02”

2. Tadej Pogacar (SLO) UAE Team Emirates +1:07

3. Alexey Lutsenko (KAZ) Astana +1:35

22 hours ago