Apr 162016
Emre Can suffered the injury late in the game at Anfield and was replaced by Lucas

Liverpool midfielder Emre Can has been ruled out for at least four weeks after rupturing ankle ligaments in the Europa League win over Borussia Dortmund.

The German, 22, limped off during Thursday’s thrilling last-eight victory and left Anfield on crutches.

He is set to miss the rest of the domestic season, including the Reds’ semi-final tie against Villarreal.

Fellow midfielder and captain Jordan Henderson will miss the rest of the season with damaged knee ligaments.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said: “Emre is injured. He will take time. It’ll be for the next four or five weeks so we should not say the season is finished.”

Should the Reds beat the Spanish side in the last four they will face either Sevilla or Shakhtar Donetsk in the Europa League final on 18 May.

Can joined Liverpool from Bayer Leverkusen for £9.75m in the 2014-15 summer transfer window. This season, the Germany international has played 49 games and scored twice.

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Apr 162016
Jonas Gutierrez spent seven years with Newcastle United

Jonas Gutierrez says his former Newcastle United team-mates phoned to congratulate him on winning an employment tribunal against the club.

It ruled he was dropped by Newcastle because of his cancer diagnosis, with the 32-year-old suing for about £2m on grounds of disability discrimination.

Gutierrez called the ruling a “relief” but says he “can’t understand” the St James’ Park club’s treatment of him.

“I am so frustrated about that period,” the Argentine told BBC Sportshour.

The tribunal also ruled on Thursday that the club made it impossible for Gutierrez to trigger an appearance-based contract extension.

“I have good pals from my time there,” he said.

“Players I have played a long period with, like Perchy [James Perch], Ryan Taylor, [Dan] Gosling, Robbie Elliott – we were so close and we continue talking sometimes.”

He added: “They know what things were going on. They can’t understand the way [Newcastle] treated me.

“When the court announced, they called me and said congrats because they know what I had to go through.”

Listen to the full interview from BBC Sportshour

‘I want to set a precedent’

Gutierrez, who joined Newcastle from Real Mallorca in 2008, was diagnosed with testicular cancer in October 2013.

The Argentina international sued Newcastle over the way he was treated following his diagnosis and claimed the Premier League club saw him as a liability after he returned from treatment.

Claims of unfavourable treatment and another of harassment related to disability were dismissed.

Gutierrez says he was always “honest” during his seven-year spell at St James’ Park and did not directly blame owner Mike Ashley.

He said: “I don’t want to say it was him.

“I don’t want to speak too much about this, but one who runs the club is Mike Ashley – he is the owner, so he makes the decisions over there.”

During the tribunal, Gutierrez’s mother Monica Montore said she “wanted to take my own life at the club’s door” due to the treatment of her son.

The midfielder says his family found it “tough”, adding “it was as difficult for them as me”.

Jonas Gutierrez posted this message to Mike Ashley on Twitter

However, he wants his case to set a precedent for employees, not just footballers, who face similar battles.

“For me, it was the worst period in my life,” he added. “I didn’t deserve that type of treatment.

“It’s important to leave a precedent for the future. No-one can go through this again – not footballers or any employees, that is more important.

“It made me learn a lot about life. Now we’re here I’m really happy about what I’ve been through. To be alive and be healthy is more important for me.”

Newcastle United were contacted for a response and referred to their original statement from Thursday.

“The tribunal has now given its decision in the case brought against the club by Jonas Gutierrez. It found for him on two of the four heads of claim.

“We recognise that the task facing the tribunal was a difficult one, but we are dismayed by its decision. We will now take time to consider the judgement in full and consult with our legal team to understand the options available to us.”

‘Once a Geordie, always a Geordie’

Newcastle currently sit 19th in the Premier League table and six points from safety, but Gutierrez says he hopes Rafael Benitez’s side can avoid relegation.

“I want them to stay up,” he said. “The city and the fans don’t deserve to go down.

“It is a massive club. The fans are massive and they deserve to stay in the Premier League. They’re in a tough situation, but I say to the fans to be positive, to believe.

“It is for me, the best years in my career. The fans, the city make me feel so at home. Once a Geordie, always a Geordie is something that is totally true.

“Once you play in that shirt you want to support that team.”

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Apr 162016
Aston Villa have won only three of their 33 Premier League games

Aston Villa caretaker manager Eric Black says he will take a hardline stance to prevent “anarchy” if they are relegated from the Premier League.

Villa have lost eight successive matches and are 15 points from safety with five games of the season left.

“They’re probably going to be relegated,” Black said. “This could very easily implode. It could very easily turn into anarchy.

“I’m going to try and ensure that is not the case.”

He added: “If they’re all relegated I can only put certain parameters down to ensure that doesn’t happen.”

Villa will drop out of the top flight for the first time since 1987 if they fail to win at Manchester United on Saturday or if Norwich avoid defeat by Sunderland earlier in the day.

Black has told forward Gabriel Agbonlahor to undergo a personal fitness programme after deeming him unfit. He will not play for at least two weeks.

Black added: “The players are waiting to see what’s going to happen here. They’re all in limbo.

“They are not great elements to motivate yourself every single day.

“That’s my responsibility and I will do my utmost to ensure that it continues to be done on an extremely professional basis.”

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Apr 152016
Claudio Ranieri’s side have won five successive Premier League games

Claudio Ranieri says if one of the Manchester clubs were in Leicester City’s position, people would believe the title race to be “finished”.

The Foxes, who host West Ham on Sunday, are seven points clear in the Premier League with five games remaining.

Ranieri says Leicester, having avoided the drop 12 months ago, make for a good story, but his side must win the title to be remembered in “30 or 40 years”.

“We don’t achieve anything yet,” said the 64-year-old Italian.

“Football is very strange. If you weren’t here in Leicester but somewhere else, maybe City or United, with seven points more, you would say ‘it is finished’.

“At this moment you don’t think this. Why? Because we are Leicester. We have to fight and we have to be focused and strong.”

“I love the Champions League music”

Leicester have won their past five league games without conceding a goal and three more victories would assure Ranieri’s side of the title.

A 2-0 win at Sunderland on Sunday secured Leicester a top-four finish and, barring a permutation that includes Manchester City and Liverpool both winning European trophies, at least a place in the Champions League qualifying play-offs.

Ranieri, who admits to being a fan of the Champions League anthem, now wants the Foxes to earn a group-stage spot.

“It is two matches and two matches is not the Champions League – I want to play six,” he added.

“I don’t think there is the music,” he said. “I love the music.

“I think it will be a fantastic achievement. From the dream arrives the reality, but wait first.”

PFA award for Ranieri’s “sons”?

Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez and N’Golo Kante made the PFA Players’ Player of the Year award shortlist

The individual form of Riyad Mahrez, N’Golo Kante and Jamie Vardy has seen them named on the six-man shortlist for the Professional Footballers’ Association Players’ Player of the Year award.

Vardy has scored 21 league goals and made six assists, while playmaker Mahrez has contributed 16 goals and 11 assists.

Meanwhile, Frenchman Kante has made more tackles (146) and interceptions (134) than any other player in the Premier League this season.

“I am very proud because they deserve it,” said Ranieri.

“They are doing a fantastic performance in every match and I hope one of them can win.

“They are three sons for me. If one son wins I am very happy.”

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