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Rowdy Anfield Key To Liverpool Title Success This Season -Van Dijk

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Van Dijk

Virgil van Dijk admits Liverpool need a raucous Anfield to be successful this season.

The Reds ran out 2-0 winners over Burnley on Saturday, the first time they had played in front of fans at Anfield since March 2020.

“Even an early kick-off, to see all the fans back is a big buzz. We all enjoy it,” van Dijk told the club’s website.

“It’s something that hopefully is going to be normal again because we need the fans – whether it’s at home games but also the away games, we need the atmosphere of fans.

“We’ve seen how football is, it belongs to the fans, with the fans. I’m just glad everyone is back.”

Jurgen Klopp’s side are two from two so far this season, but van Dijk says they must not get ahead of themselves.

“Obviously to win the first two games with no goals conceded is just a good thing, something to build on,” he added.

“We’re not there yet, we feel that, but the only thing we can do is try to win the game in front of us and that’s what we did today.

“We knew it was going to be very tough, it’s always been tough against these guys. They play a certain way, they make it very difficult for us and they did today again. A lot of physical battles, a totally different challenge to last week.

“It was good to get the clean sheet again and something to build on, good things. There are some things that should be better, but to win here today with the fans back is just great.”

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Win AFCON 2021 Trophy, Get N102m, Otedola Promises Super Eagles

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Billionaire businessman Femi Otedola has promised the Super Eagles the equivalent of $250,000 in naira (N102,895,000) if they win the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon.

The Eagles will also receive N49,389,600 ($120,000) for the six goals they scored in the group stage of the ongoing continental showpiece, thanks to the Coalition Against COVID-19.

CACOVID, a private sector-led platform established to assist the government in combating Coronavirus in the country, praised the team for their performance at the AFCON and promised to reward the squad with the naira equivalent of $20,000 for each goal scored in the group stage.

The Eagles finished the group stage with six goals, which amounted to $120,000.

According to Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, who represented CACOVID during a visit to the team’s camp in Cameroon, their impressive group stage performance convinced CACOVID to increase the amount for every goal scored to $50,000 in the round of 16.

“I came with a message from the CACOVID. The CACOVID is the coalition of private-sector companies that was set up to fight COVID-19 in Nigeria and they have been happy with the performance of the team,” Emefiele said in a video posted by the Eagles media department on Thursday.

“During the meeting I had with the captain (Ahmed Musa) and the coach (Austin Eguavoen), I delivered a message from CACOVID and the message is that, for every goal that is scored, the team will receive the naira equivalent of $20,000 so far, you have earned for yourself the naira equivalent of $120,000.

“We held a CACOVID meeting again because everyone is overjoyed for everything you’ve done so far, CACOVID has asked me to raise the ante.

“From the round of 16, for every goal scored, you will earn for yourselves as a team the naira equivalent of $50,000.

“Also, Femi Otedola, who is a member of CACOVID, has asked me to tell you that if you lift the trophy, he has in the bank for you, the naira equivalent of $250,000. This is just the beginning and I can assure you that if you win your round of 16 games, another promise might be made,” Emefiele added.

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Jota Double Fires Liverpool Into League Cup Final

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Diogo Jota fired Liverpool into the League Cup final against Chelsea as the Portugal forward’s double sealed a 2-0 win at Arsenal in the semi-final second leg on Thursday.

Jota put Liverpool on course for Wembley with a first half strike and he clinched their berth with a late second goal in north London.

Jurgen Klopp’s side will face Chelsea in the final on February 27.

Jota’s 13th and 14th club goals this season underlined his value at a time when Liverpool are without Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane due to the African Cup of Nations.

The Reds, who last lifted the League Cup in 2012, are back in the final for the first time since 2016 as they aim to win the competition for a record ninth time.

It will be Klopp’s fifth cup final with Liverpool since he took charge in 2015.

In the week that Liverpool’s former chief executive Peter Robinson died aged 86, it was fitting the club returned to the final of a tournament they won four years in a row under his stewardship in the 1980s.

For Arsenal, it was a frustrating loss after they managed to grind out a 0-0 draw in last week’s first leg at Anfield despite Granit Xhaka’s red card.

Mikel Arteta’s youthful side were exposed by battle-hardened opponents, emphasising the improvements still needed to revive the Gunners.

Thomas Partey’s stoppage-time dismissal for two bookings in quick succession rubbed salt into their wounds.

Arsenal were unable to field a team when they successfully asked for last weekend’s north London derby against Tottenham to be postponed.

But Arteta sent out close to a full strength side just days later as fit-again trio Takehiro Tomiyasu, Emile Smith Rowe and Martin Odegaard all returned.

Caoimhin Kelleher replaced Alisson Becker in goal for Liverpool and quickly repaid Klopp’s faith with a superb save in the fifth minute.

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Defending Champions Algeria Crashed Out Of AFCON 2021 After Losing 3-1 Against Ivory Coast

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Defending champions Algeria crashed out of the Africa Cup of Nations with a 3-1 defeat against Ivory Coast in Douala.

Needing a win to stay alive, Algeria trailed by two goals at the break after Franke Kessie capped off a fine move and Ibrahim Sangare headed home.

Arsenal’s Nicolas Pepe put the Ivorians 3-0 up before Algeria captain Riyad Mahrez hit a penalty against the post.

Algeria, for whom Sofiane Bendebka scored a late consolation, exit bottom of Group E after a torrid campaign.

Djamel Belmadi’s men are the third holders to exit at the first hurdle in the past five Nations Cup finals.

Africa Cup of Nations fixtures
Africa Cup of Nations group tables
Their departure from the competition is in marked contrast to their entry, travelling to Cameroon on a 34-match unbeaten run and looking to surpass Italy’s all-time record of 37.

The Algerians had drawn 0-0 with Sierra Leone before a 1-0 defeat by Equatorial Guinea, and leave with just one point from three games – but did at least finally get on the scoresheet in Cameroon when substitute Bendebka’s late goal inspired a brief rally.

Ivory Coast’s Elephants topped the group to line up a mouth-watering last-16 match with Egypt, scheduled for Douala on Wednesday, 26 January.

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