SYDNEY, Australia (CMC):A tidy all-round performance from Hayley Matthews failed to spark Hobart Hurricanes and the Sydney Sixers grabbed a seven-wicket victory over them in the Women’s Big Bash League yesterday.The West Indies Women’s opener hit the top score of 27, as the Hurricanes, choosing to bat, failed to ease worries about their batting and were restricted to a modest 106 for eight from their allocation of 20 overs in the 25th match of the League at Huntsville Oval.Matthews, a part-time off-spinner, returned to grab two wickets for 20 runs from 3.2 overs, but Australia international Elyse Perry made 44 not out to lead the successful chase for the Sixers.The result meant that the Hurricanes remained in fourth place on the eight-team table with seven points, but the Sixers improved to fifth with six points.Matthews and the Hurricanes now take a one-week break before returning to face Sydney Thunder, whose line-up includes West Indies Women’s captain Stafanie Taylor, on January 5 at Launceston.
Liam Brady believes it has been a “very positive” season for Arsenal and claims the club is now in a position to be serious title challengers.The Gunners have not claimed the Premier League crown since 2004 and are set to finish well adrift of Chelsea this season.But Brady reckons they are edging ever closer, telling talkSPORT: “The club is in a much, much better position to challenge for the title.“We have paid for our stadium. That took a lot of power away from the club to compete [in the transfer market] with the likes of Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United and I think we are in a much better place to do so now.“We have closed the gap – that has showed this season. I am very much looking forward to next season. I think this season has been very positive.”Arsene Wenger is expected to strengthen his squad in the summer, and Brady believes boosting their defensive options could make the difference for his old club.“If we are going to close the gap on Chelsea and win the league, I think defensively we have to be stronger,” he said.
Roberto Firmino 3 3 3 Milner’s reputation as a reliable utility man at Manchester City has been the hallmark of his domestic and international career, and Klopp may wish to utilise him in a similar manner once he gets a full look at his squad after the international break.At Dortmund, Klopp had a very Milner-esque player in Kevin Grosskreutz who was a typical 7/10 performer every week, and there is a feeling Milner’s versatility could see him mimic that role as a workhorse on the right side of midfield.Time will tell how Klopp plans to amalgamate his array of attacking talent, particularly with Daniel Sturridge, Christian Benteke and Danny Ings all vying for what is likely to be one forward’s position, but his appreciation for youth may also see the introduction of a few new faces.One thing is for sure – no one is safe. Every Liverpool player now has a mercurial and ruthless new manager to impress. Klopp will not be reticent to cast established first-team players into the wilderness, and that may just be what the Reds need to inspire an upturn in fortunes.Is this how Klopp’s Liverpool could line up once his squad is back to full strength? Comment below if you think it may differ… Jurgen Klopp’s arrival at Liverpool has installed levels of hysteria on Merseyside perhaps only rivalled in recent times by the final six months of the 2013/2014 season in which they came agonisingly close to a first Premier League title.The general consensus is this could be a fresh start. A blank slate. Brendan Rodgers, who was dismissed last week, was undermined by his tendency for hyperbole which ultimately created disillusionment amongst the Anfield faithful who lost patience with the Northern Irishman’s digressions.Klopp’s appointment has understandably manifested tenuous reports linking players from his Borussia Dortmund days with moves to Merseyside, with the German viewed as an enticing pull factor by the club’s owners Fenway Sports Group (FSG).But it is a player already amongst the Reds’ squad who may benefit the most from Klopp’s arrival.The £29m capture of Roberto Firmino in the summer epitomised the dysfunctional relationship between Rodgers and the club’s infamous transfer committee. The Brazilian was a committee signing rather than a player, like Christian Benteke and Nathaniel Clyne, actively pursued by Klopp’s predecessor.Rodgers’ reluctance to promote and entrust Firmino, who is currently sidelined with a back injury, with greater responsibility became candidly apparent almost instantly, casting the former Hoffenheim star into wide positions rather than his more established central role.In the aftermath of the disappointing 3-1 defeat to their great rivals Manchester United last month, Rodgers launched a thinly-veiled jibe at Firmino for his side’s ‘lack of creativity’ after he deployed the Brazilian on the right wing.For a player who amassed the most assists in the last two Bundesliga seasons and was statistically ranked the German top flight’s third best player last term, behind Arjen Robben and Kevin De Bruyne, it made little sense and was inhibiting his unique talents to float deceptively in between the lines.Klopp is already a well-known admirer of Firmino from his Bundesliga days and may look to restore the 24-year-old to his preferred number ten role where he previously flourished in Germany.The 48-year-old’s high intensity, dynamic 4-2-3-1 formation at Dortmund saw Marco Reus, his most prized asset, fielded on the left of the three behind a lone striker. Liverpool’s most potent attacking force is Philippe Coutinho, and Klopp may look to emulate his success with Reus by shifting Coutinho to the left to incorporate Firmino in a more natural role.Reus isn’t a winger but excelled in that role when allowed to cut in on his right foot – something Coutinho has made his signature move in 2015. The Brazilian wouldn’t be expected to hug the touchline either with left-back Alberto Moreno’s tendency to bomb forward providing the natural width.James Milner is another summer signing whose Liverpool career could take an interesting turn under Klopp. The England international cited Rodgers’ promise to deploy him in his favoured central midfield position as the main factor in his decision to move up the East Lancs Road, but he has so far struggled with the added responsibility.