Liverpool has been looking to strengthen its strikeforce after selling Luis Suarez to BarcelonaLiverpool signed Italy striker Mario Balotelli from AC Milan on Monday, taking a calculated gamble on a headline-grabbing player known as much for his controversies as his goals.Nineteen months after ending a two and a half year spell with Manchester City to play for his boyhood club, Balotelli will return to the English Premier League as a replacement for Luis Suarez – another of world football’s talented but disruptive stars.Liverpool has been looking to strengthen its strikeforce after selling Suarez to Barcelona for $130 million.During his time at City, in which he won the league title, Balotelli was sent off four times, threw a dart at a youth-team player and was involved in an incident that saw fireworks let off in his bathroom.Days before news of the fireworks incident emerged, Balotelli had revealed a T-shirt under his City jersey with the question, “Why Always Me?” after scoring in the team’s 6-1 win over Manchester United.Balotelli, with his physique, technical ability and qualities as a finisher, is one of the world’s best strikers and, at 24, the best times of his career could still lie ahead of him. At Milan, he scored 26 goals in 43 league matches and he is the Italian national team’s top striker.But with trouble always seeming to follow him, some are questioning whether Balotelli is worth the risk for Liverpool, which has fostered a strong team spirit under manager Brendan Rodgers that helped it finish second in the Premier League last season. Jose Mourinho described Balotelli as “unmanageable” during their time together at Inter Milan, which the striker left in 2010 to join City.advertisementHowever, Rodgers got the best out of Suarez and current first-choice striker Daniel Sturridge, who both had turbulent pasts before arriving at Anfield. Sections of the British media have reported that Balotelli has had to agree to behavior clauses being included in his contract with Liverpool.”We have a fantastic environment here and a great culture, and I think it is something that was very important for us to create and build here,” Rodgers said Friday. “There will be nothing that will ever shake that or provoke it in any way.”Rodgers’ attempts to bring in a striker has seen him look at Loic Remy of Queens Park Rangers, whose switch to Anfield broke down at the last minute, and former Barcelona, Inter Milan and Chelsea star Samuel Eto’o. Last month, during Liverpool’s tour of the United States, Rodgers was linked with a bid for Balotelli.
Deeney praises Watford teammates for Woking FA Cup winby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveTroy Deeney praised his Watford teammates for their FA Cup win at Woking.Deeney came off the substitutes’ bench to score in the 2-0 victory.Speaking to BT Sport after the match, Deeney said: “It was all about mentality and we want to give a massive respect and well done to Woking, they gave us a good fight and stayed in it until the end but I think the professionalism of our boys showed over the course of the game.“This guy (Hughes) was fantastic obviously with the goal, but you can look at (Isaac) Success, (Adalberto) Penaranda, many people all throughout the team who did really well. They set the tone and then obviously when I came on, I tried to stick with it or add a little bit more.” Asked about his goal, Deeney said: “I like a little tap in. To be fair that’s something I’ve worked on a lot this season. Getting back into the six-yard box was what I was known for in the Championship, but in the Premier League I’ve kind of come away from it, trying to be a bit more of a player. Now I’ll let these boys be the players and I do what I do.“It’s nice obviously to continue the run, that’s three two games (following his brace in the 3-3 draw at Bournemouth) so I’ve just got to carry on. I’m not going to get carried away because this is football and you can go on a drought very quickly, but I’ll enjoy this moment and back to work tomorrow.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say
ciara dress during title game national anthemStar recording artist Ciara sang the National Anthem ahead of tonight’s College Football Playoff National Championship, and by most accounts, she did a lovely job. But some people – apparently – took issue with her outfit.Former ESPN sideline reporter Bonnie Bernstein, who now does most of her work for Campus Insiders, thought Ciara’s dress was a bit too revealing.Dear Ciara. You’re stunning. But this is a National Championship Game. Kids are watching. Cover up.— Bonnie Bernstein (@BonnieBernstein) January 12, 2016Ciara’s other half, Russell Wilson, clearly doesn’t seem to have a problem with what she’s wearing.I see you baby!! Sounded amazing & looked flawless in every way! @Ciara #NationalChampionship pic.twitter.com/0buuntOFvF— Russell Wilson (@DangeRussWilson) January 12, 2016Here’s a close-up. Wtf ????? RT @BonnieBernstein: Dear Ciara. this is a National Championship Game. Kids are watching. Cover up. pic.twitter.com/TZD9CDIT71— Sam F. (@Sammyveli) January 12, 2016Does Bernstein have a point, or is this much ado about nothing?
Twitter/@gilgenastyThe Big 12 is looking at expansion, and everyone has an opinion about which teams the league should take. On Wednesday, Memphis native Justin Timberlake threw support behind his hometown Tigers. UCF’s answer may not be quite as big a name, but he’s a huge college football fan.Comedian Larry the Cable Guy, famous for his role in the “Blue Collar Comedy Tour,” is a Nebraska fan, but he also supports the UCF Knights, and would like to see the Big 12 add the Orlando program.This would be awesome! UCF would be a great addition. RT @PetertheNg: @GitRDoneLarry wanna throw some love for UCF to the @Big12Conference— Larry The Cable Guy (@GitRDoneLarry) July 28, [email protected]_Trotter Jake they’d be a great addition. 2 largest school in the country, also gives ya’ll another good warm weather stadium. Plus— Larry The Cable Guy (@GitRDoneLarry) July 28, 2016Having former Husker Scott Frost at the helm for the Knights doesn’t hurt [email protected]_Trotter with former Husker Scott Frost at the helm they’ll soon be doing great things.— Larry The Cable Guy (@GitRDoneLarry) July 28, 2016When asked about his UCF bonafides, Larry explained that he has done work with the program from his time as a Florida [email protected] @PetertheNg @Big12Conference I am. However I lived in Central fla for 20 years and did some studio stuff for them. Lotta friends.— Larry The Cable Guy (@GitRDoneLarry) July 28, 2016And of course, no discussion of Big 12 expansion is complete without a nice pot-shot at [email protected]_24 @chrisgb00 @PetertheNg @Big12Conference maybe they should quit playing like a mid major program! No offense.— Larry The Cable Guy (@GitRDoneLarry) July 28, 2016When stand-up comedians are weighing in on conference expansion for leagues that their teams are no longer in, we’ve officially hit realignment silly season. Please choose some teams soon, Big 12.
SAULT STE MARIE, Ont. – Doug Ford won’t say whether he’ll march in Toronto’s annual Pride parade if elected Ontario premier, prompting his rivals to question the Tory leader’s support of the LGBTQ community.Ford said Friday that he has not yet decided whether he will attend and participate in the event if he wins the June 7 vote.“When I get elected we’ll sit down and we’ll make that decision,” the Progressive Conservative leader said at a campaign stop in Sault Ste Marie, Ont. “My main focus is the economy, is making sure we create jobs and have this province thrive. I am zoned in on that.”NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said Ford’s indecision sends a message.“The perception of (Ford’s) message is that he’s not interested in supporting that community,” said Horwath, who has marched in the summer event. “That’s something he’s going to have to answer to.”Liberal premier Kathleen Wynne compared Ford’s refusal to say whether or not he would attend Pride to his refusal to release a fully costed election platform, saying Ford seemed to be trying to say as little as possible.“It would be great if all of us agreed that inclusion and acceptance of difference was what we believed in and we shared that value system,” Wynne said.“I don’t know what Doug Ford thinks about the Pride parade, I don’t know what he thinks about a lot of things. But … as a member of the lesbian, gay, bi community I can tell you it’s important to have political leaders acknowledge that differences are OK and we can take pride in those differences.”Ford, a former Toronto city councillor, has made controversial remarks about the Pride parade before, describing it in 2014 as an event where “middle-aged men with pot bellies” ran down the street “buck naked.”At the time, Ford also accused critics of labelling him as homophobic because he didn’t attend the event.“I think it’s good for tourism,” Doug Ford said in 2014 on a YouTube show he made with his brother, late former Toronto mayor Rob Ford. “But don’t try to put a gun to anyone’s head that disagrees with you. It doesn’t mean that they hate gays.”Rob Ford, courted controversy by never attending the Pride parade during his time in office, saying once that the event conflicted with a scheduled family weekend at the cottage.When Doug Ford ran for mayor of Toronto in the fall of 2014 he said he would attend and march in the Pride parade.On Friday, he stressed he had not made up his mind on attending the colourful event.“Reducing taxes, reducing hydro rates, putting money back into the people’s pocket. That’s my main focus for the next six days,” he said.Former Progressive Conservative leader Patrick Brown became the first Tory leader to head an official delegation in the parade in 2015. During his tenure, Brown said often that he was building a “modern, inclusive” Tory party.It was a move that angered some social conservatives who helped him, as they helped Ford just a few months ago, to win the party leadership.
McTeague said that he doesn’t forecast the shortage of fuel to have an impact on the price at the pump, but that shortages could also result in shortages at filling stations other than Suncor’s Petro-Canada, such as Shell and Esso. FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — A Canadian petroleum industry expert says an extended shutdown at an oil refinery in Edmonton is causing a ripple effect across the B.C. Peace Region, with the effects coming in the form of fuel shortages.Senior GasBuddy.com petroleum analyst Dan McTeague said that after being closed to conduct routine maintenance last month, Suncor’s 145,000 barrel per day refinery in Edmonton has yet to reopen, which is causing a pinch in supply. He said that all three major refineries in Edmonton owned by Suncor, Shell, and Imperial Oil were scheduled to be closed for the month of May to undergo routine maintenance, but only the Esso and Shell refineries are back up and running.McTeague explained that the Suncor refinery has now been closed for six weeks instead of the planned four, and that at this time, there’s no word on when the issue with the facility will be solved. He said that much of the gasoline that was stockpiled by producers ahead of the planned shutdown have been depleted, and that the lack of supply is causing shortages across the Interior of B.C. and Alberta to as far away as Winnipeg.
Kolkata: Rishabh Pant’s ascendancy as India’s premier Test wicketkeeper has not made Wriddhiman Saha “insecure” even one bit as he doesn’t believe that he is in competition with the Delhi glovesman. Saha, one of India’s more technically accomplished keeper, has recently made a comeback for Bengal in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy after being out of competitive cricket owing to shoulder surgery last year. In the interim, young Pant has made an impression with the bat, scoring Test hundreds in England and Australia. Had the long lay-off and Pant’s emergence made him insecure? “Not at all. I was not insecure. Being a sportsman you always run the risk of getting injured. The aim was to be fully fit and return stronger,” Saha, who scored 306 runs in 11 Mushtaq Ali Trophy games, said in an interview. Sceptics have cast doubts that Pant’s batting ability could make a international comeback difficult for the Bengal stumper but Saha remains unfazed. “I was out with an injury. Rishabh grabbed his chance and scored runs on a consistent basis. Now my aim is to get back to form and try to make a comeback in the Indian line-up. That’s purely my focus and I have stressed before and I want make it clear that there is no competition with Rishabh,” said Saha, who has scored 1164 runs in 32 Tests with three hundreds and an average of 30.63. He has been a very safe batsman without being too flamboyant but he does understand that versatility is a pre-requisite at the elite level. “Nowadays, it’s all about being versatile. Keepers have to bat too,” states Wriddhiman, who has scored a hundred and two half-centuries on his T20 comeback. In fact, his best performances have come whenever he has opened the innings. The normally introvert keeper said that he wouldn’t mind opening the innings if the Sunrisers Hyderabad team management gives him that opportunity. “Of course, I would love to open in the IPL but the decision is totally up to the team management. I have returned after so many months. So this IPL has an added significance,” said Saha, who has a century for Kings XI Punjab in the 2014 IPL final against Kolkata Knight Riders. His is a style of batting suits when he gets to play more deliveries.
Los Angeles: Actor Sophie Turner says her ‘Game of Thrones’ co-star Kit Harington was paid more than her, and she was okay with that. The 23-year-old actor is on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar U.K.’s May issue in which she has revealed why she was okay with her on-screen brother, Harington, having a bigger paycheck for the eighth and final season of the popular series, reports etonline.com. “(It’s) a little tricky,” she told the magazine of demanding equal pay. Also Read – I have personal ambitions now: Priyanka”Kit got more money than me, but he had a bigger storyline. And for the last (season), he had something crazy like 70 night shoots, and I didn’t have that many. I was like, ‘You know what… you keep that money’.” Despite her own acceptance about making less than Harington, Turner has made it a point to fight for equality on sets, adding an inclusion rider in her contracts – demanding 50 per cent of the crew be women – and expressing joy that issues such as these are being discussed. “Now, you see women in the camera departments, producing, directing. It’s exciting,” she said. “… (Executives are) willing to listen to people saying, ‘I want the same amount of money’. So things are getting done, but it will take a while.”
Scoring is up at the World Cup, but it would be even higher if more players could shoot straight.Teams have taken 221 shots on direct free kicks or off shots set up by direct free kicks. TruMedia, a soccer stats supplier to ESPN, has developed a model, based on club soccer data from Opta, to predict the probability of any shot going in, according to its location and other variables. That model predicted that those 221 shots should have yielded 21 goals. But just 11 have gone in the net.Or take long-distance shooting. In the World Cup’s first 62 matches, players have let shots fly when they were 20 yards away from the goal or farther 817 times. TruMedia predicted the ball would go in 31 times. But it has gone in just 17 times. (There is some overlap between these categories, because some shots off free kicks are from long-range.)The low yield from these shots could mean that World Cup goalkeepers are better than the club goalkeepers who defended the shots that were used to build the model. Or it could mean that the average shooter in the World Cup isn’t as good as the average shooter in top club soccer, because many World Cup nations can’t field 10 shooters who play for top clubs.To check who was missing the shots, I cross-referenced the World Cup shooters with shooters from the top five European leagues — the top divisions in England, France, Germany, Italy and Spain — in the most recent club season.Not surprisingly, players who didn’t take any shots of a certain type in those club leagues — either because they don’t play in them or don’t get the chance to take those shots — have been the source of many of the misfires in the World Cup. But even the players who shoot often on free kicks or from long-range in Europe have been firing blanks more often in Brazil.The effect is particularly pronounced on shots from 20 yards or more. Players who took no shots in the big five leagues in Europe could have expected to score 9.5 goals on their World Cup kicks off long shots. They’ve scored three goals — or about a third as much as we’d expect on their shots. The European long-range shooters have been better, but not great — scoring about two-thirds as many goals as we’d expect. Two players — the impossible Lionel Messi, and the merely improbable James Rodriguez, who plays club soccer for Monaco and national soccer for Colombia — account for a very large chunk of long-range outperformance in Brazil.On shots created through free kicks, the players who didn’t take any such shots in the top European leagues have been dreadful — scoring four goals for every 10 expected. The European club shooters again have been better but still disappointing, scoring at just 79 percent of expectations.The errant World Cup shooting, then, is partly a result of shooters without top club experience taking lots of shots, and of shooters with top-level experience underpeforming. That’s especially disappointing because the overlap between the top five European leagues and the World Cup is a very impressive set of players, who as a group scored 8 percent more goals on free kicks than expected in club play last season and 11 percent more goals than expected on long-range shots.Three explanations come to mind:1. World Cup goalkeeping is very good. There are more than three times as many teams in the top five European leagues as there are in the World Cup. World Cup teams need to field 10 outfield players, but they need just one high-quality goalkeeper.2. It’s easier to organize a defense made up of players who don’t play club soccer together than it is to organize an offense. Defensive principles transfer more readily and require less training, so World Cup defenses have the advantage on these plays.3. This is a bit of a fluke, because factors Nos. 1 and 2 apply at every World Cup, yet this has been the worst shooting performance on these kinds of shots since 1966 — as far back as Opta has tracked the stats.