4 The Daily Telegraph Wednesday 22 July 2020 *** Sport Football Klopp: Liverpool now the envy of footballing world Tottenham and Everton locked in battle to sign Saints’ Hojbjerg By Jeremy Wilson and Jason Burt Southampton have accepted a bid from Everton of around £25million for Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, but Tottenham Hotspur are still in the race after tabling an offer of their own. Tottenham’s bid falls short of Southampton’s valuation and, although they are ready to sell Hojbjerg to Everton, Jose Mourinho has not given up hope of signing the former Bayern Munich midfielder. Hojbjerg has only one year left on his contract so could leave for nothing next year, so will have some considerable say over his future. The 24-year-old was stripped by manager Ralph Hasenhuttl of the By Chris Bascombe “From a professional basis, it is one of the greatest days of my life,” he said. “To finally get our hands on this trophy, when everyone was waiting so long and probably two or three years ago nobody thought it would be possible for us. “I will try to be prepared for it. It’s difficult and quite a challenge. Everyone in the club worked so hard for it. I will be proud. It’s a milestone and we should see it as such. The last 13 or 14 months, it is for sure the most exceptional and successful year of my career. Being champion of Europe, England and of the world doesn’t happen often. Achievement sinks in ahead of champions lifting the trophy Manager reflects on the most successful period of his career Jurgen Klopp believes he and his Liverpool squad are the envy of every coach and player in the world after creating “one of the biggest football stories in history”. Ahead of tonight’s Premier League trophy presentation, Klopp had no intention of downplaying the magnitude of Liverpool’s achievement in ending their 30-year wait for the English title. The silverware will finally be in Jordan Henderson’s hands after the last home game against Chelsea, with Klopp comparing his emotions to that of a child on Christmas Eve. “It is one of the big stories in football history,” the manager said. “If someone had a chance to decide to become champion in any country this year, which team would you want to be at to have it special? Make your choice. The choice would have been Liverpool FC because it was the one everyone wanted to be part of, and we are lucky to be part of it. “I appreciate that a lot. It is a really big one. It is not that other championships will ever be forgotten, but this one no one will forget. “I had some good moments since we won the Premier League, being reflective and happy about how big a prize it is, but the difference [with seeing the trophy lifted] could not be bigger. It is 100 per cent the moment [it sinks in] when we get the trophy. That is what it is all about.” Klopp’s emotions got the better of him when the title was confirmed a month ago. He is unsure how he will react when the trophy is finally lifted, but has already absorbed what it means, given how many illustrious names have tried and failed in the past three decades. Liverpool v Chelsea 8.15pm, Anfield, Sky Sports “It makes sense that we take a picture with all our trophies at some point in the future. We will do that and rightly so. This is the moment you really have to cherish.” A podium has been built on the Kop for the presentations, with Sir Kenny Dalglish among the dignitaries joining Premier League chief executive Richard Masters for the ceremony. Klopp was reminded how the last time Liverpool were awarded the English title at Anfield, on May 5, 1990, Dalglish made his farewell appearance as a second-half substitute against Derby County. “There is no chance that I will come on as a sub,” Klopp said. “The game when we became champions, we saw Kenny and Graeme Souness and how much it meant to them. It was really nice to see.” Liverpool’s hopes for players’ close families to attend the game were last night blocked by the city council’s Grounds Safety Advisory Group. Increasing capacity from 300 to 500 needs written permission from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, so the safety certificate could not be amended. Liverpool could try for a last-minute reprieve with a formal request to the DCMS today. Southampton captaincy and replaced by James Ward-Prowse earlier this summer after deciding that he would not sign a new deal. Spurs emerged as early favourites to sign the Dane, but Everton made the first formal bid, of around £18 million, which was rejected last week. There have since been discussions over a player-plus-cash deal which could include Tottenham right-back Kyle Walker-Peters converting his loan move to the southcoast club to a permanent transfer. Although he wants to remain, Southampton would prefer to keep the negotiations separate. Mourinho will have to raise funds in the transfer market if he wants to make signings during the window and Southampton were last night waiting to see if Spurs would return with a new bid that at least matches Everton’s offer. England international Eric Dier, has agreed a new four-year contract to keep him at Tottenham until 2024. Losing out on Hojbjerg, meanwhile, would be a blow to Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti, who is pushing hard for the club to invest this summer. Lampard: Europe key to more buying By Tom Morgan an advanced stage, and attacking options have been transformed next season following the signings of Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech. Lampard said qualifying for the Champions League was “massively important for the club… you want to compete at the highest level and attract players of the highest level”. Lampard added: “Getting into the Champions League has to be, even with the way this year the season has gone, an aim for us.” Frank Lampard has acknowledged that securing Champions League qualification is critical to Chelsea’s plans to continue recruiting heavily in the transfer market this summer. Roman Abramovich, the owner, has given his head coach a war chest to start closing the gap on tonight’s opponents, Liverpool, following a season in which Chelsea have exceeded all expectations. Talks with Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Kai Havertz are reaching Oscar winner joins Serena in first female-led consortium to launch US soccer ‘Angels’ entrepreneur and venture capitalist Alexis Ohanian, is aiming to bring a professional women’s NWSL team to Los Angeles in spring 2022. Currently called Angel City, the club’s official name will be announced before the end of the year. They promise to “write a new playbook” and “reshape exceptions and think differently about ownership, ticketing, partnerships and community collaboration”. In response to fan-driven demand for an NWSL team in the region – there has not been a professional women’s football team in California for more than a decade – the group applied to secure the exclusive rights to bring a professional team to Los Angeles. This model is not unprecedented for football in the United States: there are parallels with men’s club LA FC, whose owners and investors include actor Will Ferrell and Magic Johnson. Mia Hamm is also a member of LA FC’s ownership group, while Williams controls a small share of the NFL’s Miami Dolphins. “The difference is that this ownership know it’s not just a social movement. They think this is an investment that can make money, as well. “It’s a big moment for women’s soccer in the US. “In the middle of a pandemic, when the economy is not doing well, the NWSL is getting new investment from a pretty remarkable ownership group.” group, which has more than 30 people in it, is majority women,” former writer Grant Wahl told By Katie Whyatt Sports A new majority female-founded National Women’s Soccer League club are launching in Los Angeles, backed by A-list celebrities including Eva Longoria, Jennifer Garner, Oscar winner Natalie Portman and tennis legend Serena Williams. The group – the first women majority-owned club in American sport – led by actress Portman, technology venture capitalist Kara Nortman, media and gaming entrepreneur Julie Uhrman and tech Illustrated The Daily Telegraph. “There is a social movement aspect to it, definitely, but the owners also want to make sure that people
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