Liverpool hurry on, Leicester and Chelsea draw

first_imgBy Ian Chadband acceleratesLONDON, England (Reuters) – Liverpool quickened their march towards a first English title for 30 years as they stretched their lead at the Premier League summit to a staggering 22 points with a 4-0 win over Southampton at Anfield yesterday.With nearest pursuers Manchester City playing at Tottenham Hotspur today, Liverpool increased the gap at the top with a Mohamed Salah double leading a second-half blitz that secured a record-equalling 20th straight home league win.In the Premier League era, only City between March 2011 and 2012 had previously enjoyed such a winning streak at home, with unbeaten Liverpool now the first English team ever to win 24 of their first 25 matches in a top-flight league campaign. With the European champions on an unprecedented 73 points for this stage of the season, their distant chasers could only drift further behind with third-placed Leicester City and Chelsea, who are fourth, drawing 2-2 in an entertaining contest.At the other end of the table, stranded Norwich City drew 0-0 at Newcastle United while 19th-placed Watford were left crestfallen after Everton fought from two goals down at Vicarage Road to win 3-2 despite playing the last 20 minutes with 10 men.West Ham United dropped into the bottom three after Brighton & Hove Albion recovered from 3-1 down to earn a 3-3 draw, while Aston Villa are teetering above the drop zone after a 2-1 defeat at Bournemouth, who played most of the second half a man down.At Anfield, even the doubters surely do not doubt any longer as Liverpool’s unreal season continued apace with a 42nd game unbeaten in the league, which came only after Southampton had given the champions-elect real problems. The visitors, impressive in the first half, only capitulated when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain put the hosts ahead following the break, moments after Saints felt they were denied a penalty.Captain Jordan Henderson struck the second before Salah took his league tally for the season to 14 with two goals in the last 20 minutes.OPPORTUNITYAt the King Power Stadium, Leicester missed out on the chance to join Manchester City on 51 points as an unlikely headed double from defender Antonio Rudiger earned Chelsea a draw.The vibrant second-half fare demonstrated again why neither team have been able to muster a sustained challenge to Liverpool, with poor defending enabling Germany international Rudiger to swoop twice.A header from a corner soon after the break was overturned by goals from Harvey Barnes and Ben Chilwell before Rudiger’s 71st minute equaliser ensured that Chelsea remain eight points behind Leicester’s tally of 49. The results meant Liverpool need 21 points from their remaining 13 fixtures to be mathematically sure of winning their first title since 1990. “When we are rolling, it’s difficult to stop,” said manager Juergen Klopp.Sheffield United provisionally moved into fifth spot on 36 points, at least until Manchester United’s late game at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers, courtesy of a goalkeeping howler from Crystal Palace’s Vicente Guaita.The Spaniard dropped the ball into his own net just before the hour mark when making a hash of collecting a corner to gift the Yorkshire side a 1-0 win.The performance of the day was surely Everton’s comeback at Vicarage Road where two first-half stoppage time goals from defender Yerry Mina saw them claw back Watford’s advantage.Even after Everton midfielder Fabian Delph was dismissed for a second yellow card foul after 70 minutes, Theo Walcott earned a 90th minute-winner on the counter-attack. The Toffees’ new manager Carlo Ancelotti, it seems, is already working wonders.last_img read more

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Hammock leaves for coaching spot with Ravens

first_imgWisconsin running backs coach and recruiting coordinator Thomas Hammock announced Wednesday he will leave the program to join the Baltimore Ravens coaching staff.Wisconsin head coach Gary Andersen said in his national signing day press conference Wednesday that Hammock was coaching the Badgers’ running backs at 6:30 a.m. this morning, but has since made the decision to pursue a career in the NFL.“As he moves forward, this is something that Thomas has wanted for a long time,” Andersen said. “Some people want to coach professional football. It’s been a driving force of his for quite a few years, and it’s where he sees the best spot for him and his family, which I have the utmost respect for the decision that he has to make.”Hammock started his coaching career with Wisconsin in 2003 as a graduate assistant. He then left Madison in 2005 to become the running backs coach at Northern Illinois for two seasons and then joined the University of Minnesota’s coaching staff in 2007 for the same position. Hammock rejoined Wisconsin in 2011.As the running backs coach at Wisconsin, Hammock helped train Montee Ball, who tied Barry Sanders’ record for touchdowns in a season, and was a Heisman Trophy finalist. Last season he worked with Melvin Gordon, James White and Corey Clement, who, as a group, ranked eighth in the nation in rushing yards per game.During Hammock’s time with the Badgers, Wisconsin’s rushing attack ranked third nationally in rushing yards per attempt (5.7), fourth in rushing touchdowns (121) and seventh in rushing yards per game (251.1), while leading the Big Ten Conference in all of those categories.As for who will take over for Hammock at Wisconsin, Andersen didn’t give any specific names, but gave an idea for the type of coach he is looking for.“I look for two things,” Andersen said. “I look for someone who’s going to take care of the kids. That’s number one. And number two, somebody that can recruit. That’s what we’ll look for.”Hammock will take over a Ravens running group highlighted by two-time all-pro running back Ray Rice and third year tailback Bernard Pierce.Baltimore will look to Hammock to improve a running game that ranked 30th in yards per game and 32nd in yards per carry this season.last_img read more

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