CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

Wary Benitez has only respect for Bilbao

STAR POWER: Argentina striker Gonzalo Higuain (far left) and his Napoli teammates will be gunning to take a first leg advantage against Athletic Bilbao.
“Athletic’s strongest weapon is the group, with players who have been together for many years and have the support of a city that never loses its passion.” - Rafael Benitez
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Arsenal must win at all costs

"Besiktas had a convincing result against Feyenoord (winning 5-2 on aggregate in thirdround qualifying), and so for us we have the luck to play the first game away." - Arsene Wenger
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Laxon crosses the half-century mark

His Sunday double takes his season's tally to 51 winners

WINNER NO. 50: Alfonso fending off newcomer Quechua to give trainer Laurie Laxon his 50th victory this season.
LAURIE LAXON: On course for his ninth Singapore champion trainer title.
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Atletico seek revenge

HEARTBREAKING: Atletico Madrid (in stripes) were a minute away from winning their first Champions League trophy, when Real Madrid (in white) equalised. After extra time, Real came out 4-1 winners.
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You are wrong, Macca

Vice-captain Fletcher says United will make Liverpool star eat his words, after van Gaal's squad come in for harsh criticism

DETRACTORS: Darren Fletcher (above) feels critics like Steve McManaman are taking pot shots at Man United as a consequence of their recent success.
DETRACTORS: Darren Fletcher feels critics like Steve McManaman (above) are taking pot shots at Man United as a consequence of their recent success.
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The new faces shine in EPL

SCORING DEBUT: Eric Dier's (in white) injury-time goal in his first start for Tottenham earned his side a win against London rivals West Ham.
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Liverpool need a fast striker and goalkeeper

POSITIVES: Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge (above) showed signs of a flourishing partnership, while Dejan Lovren displayed promise in their game against Southampton.
POSITIVES: Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge showed signs of a flourishing partnership, while Dejan Lovren (above) displayed promise in their game against Southampton.
NEGATIVES: While Rickie Lambert (above) and Simon Mignolet do not look worthy of a first-team place, Lucas Leiva and Glen Johnson have no future at Anfield.
NEGATIVES: While Rickie Lambert and Simon Mignolet (above) do not look worthy of a first-team place, Lucas Leiva and Glen Johnson have no future at Anfield.
NEGATIVES: While Rickie Lambert and Simon Mignolet do not look worthy of a first-team place, Lucas Leiva (above) and Glen Johnson have no future at Anfield.
NEGATIVES: While Rickie Lambert and Simon Mignolet do not look worthy of a first-team place, Lucas Leiva and Glen Johnson (above) have no future at Anfield.

Liverpool's hard-fought 2-1 win over Southampton is just the start of a long, hard slog, but it has thrown up some takeaways of what we can expect from them this season.

1. Some things can't seem to change - like the Reds having the second-half blues

2. The new SAS partnership of Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge looks promising

3. Rickie Lambert's aerial prowess gives Liverpool a different attacking option

4. Time's up for Lucas and Johnson

5. Dejan Lovren and Martin Skrtel can only get better after more games together and, barring injuries, the two will be Rodgers' first-choice pairing.

6. As a shot-stopper, Simon Mignolet is up there with the best, but looks suspect when dealing with crosses or with the ball at his feet.

Read the full report in our print edition on Aug 19. Subscribe to The New Paper, now available in print and digital, at http://bit.ly/tnpeshop.

Holder Nadal out of US Open with wrist injury

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PELLEGRINI FRETS OVER POST-TITLE BLUES

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Man City look like winners again

"He was one of our best players, not just because of the way he created the first goal and worked hard but also because he won a lot of headers and held the ball up well. It was a complete performance." - City boss Manuel Pellegrini on Edin Dzeko (above, right) whose back-heel set up David Silva for the opening goal.
INEVITABLE? Even Newcastle manager Alan Pardew (above) couldn't bear to watch as Manchester City carved out a routine win. 


There was something distinctly depressing about Manchester City's stroll to victory yesterday morning (Singapore time).

Without playing particularly well against Newcastle, the 2-0 win and three points were never in doubt. They won without really trying.

If a pattern has been set, then it's a rather bland one.

The Premier League title race threatens to be a lazy Sunday afternoon for City and a dull spectacle for everyone else.

Unless their rivals recover lost ground quickly in the final days of the transfer window, City could coast to their familiar destination in a journey that offers all the entertainment value of a trip to the dentist.

That's wonderful news for City supporters. Whether that's a reason for the Premier League to rejoice is another matter.

Read the full report in our print edition on Aug 19. Subscribe to The New Paper, now available in print and digital, at http://bit.ly/tnpeshop.

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