Thursday, April 30, 2009

Hatton camp struck by 'problems'

Venue: MGM Grand, Las Vegas, USA
Date: Sunday 3 May
Start: Approx 0300 BST Coverage: Full commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live, reports and photos on BBC Sport website, TV coverage on Sky Sports (pay-per-view)

Ricky Hatton and Floyd Mayweather Sr
Hatton has been learning a better defensive technique under Mayweather

Floyd Mayweather Sr has revealed Ricky Hatton's training camp ahead of his title fight against Manny Pacquiao has been marred by personality clashes.

Hatton defends his unbeaten record at light-welterweight against the pound-for-pound best boxer in the world, Pacquiao, at the MGM Grand on Saturday.

But Mayweather admits problems have overshawdowed the preparations.

"Was there a problem (in the camp)? Yes. I saw a problem and addressed it. Nobody is jerking me around," he said.

It is just the second fight Hatton and Mayweather Sr have worked together, with Hatton seeking to get back on top of the boxing world after suffering the only defeat of his career in a welterweight showdown with Mayweather's son in December 2007.

Following that fight, when a knockout saw Hatton fall to the first defeat of his 46-fight career, Hatton took on Mayweather Sr as a trainer ahead of his return to the light-welterweight division.

Mayweather Sr had just seven weeks to prepare Hatton for last November's victory over Paulie Malignaggi, but the lead in to the fight with Pacquiao, who has a record of 48 wins, three draws and two losses, has been a lot longer - leading to divisions in the camp.

But the American insists he is happy with Hatton's lead-up to the fight, despite admitting to a spot of in-fighting.


"It doesn't mean a camp is not a good camp because there are problems," he said. "It doesn't mean you've had a bad camp. I think he had a good camp.

"It was a problem that could be addressed and taken care of without being in the media. We straightened it out."

When asked if there was a clash between himself and Hatton's assistant trainer Lee Beard, Mayweather said: "Why wouldn't Lee and I be friends? Why would you pick Lee out of everybody?

"There are a lot of people there (in camp), not just me and Lee. But you could be on the right track.

"I'm a no-nonsense trainer. We have a very clear understanding. I respect them and I want them to do the same with me."

And Mayweather Sr believes his no-nonsense approach will pay dividends when Hatton, 30, takes on Pacquiao.

I want him to use the jab more as an offensive and a defensive weapon. You can beat him up with the jab and keep him off you with it

Floyd Mayweather Sr

The Mancunian has been learning the hard way about keeping his head moving in training, with Mayweather going as far as hitting Hatton on the head with his pads during training sessions to drill into him the importance of the exercise.

"If someone's fighting you is he going to play-fight?" Mayweather asked. "So are you going to play-train? "What are you going to do? Are you going to move your head or are you going to stay there?

"I don't play games, if you leave your head there I'm going to take it off. I said to Ricky, 'You need to move your head, man, you want to be able to see your kids. You don't want to be hit in the head, that's your brain in there. When you get hit in the head your brain rattles'.

"So I don't want him to get hit upsides the head and I want him to use the jab more as an offensive and a defensive weapon.

"You can beat him up with the jab and keep him off you with it."

Hartley joins Red Bull as reserve

Brendon Hartley
Hartley raced in Formula Three in 2008

Brendon Hartley has been granted his motor racing super-licence and will join Red Bull as a reserve driver.

The New Zealander, 19, said: "I must thank Red Bull for all their support and this is another step on the path to reaching my goal of being an F1 driver.

"I know that with the new in-season testing ban, I'm not likely to get much cockpit time, but I will be part of the team and will learn a lot from that."

Hartley tested for Red Bull in December but needed his super-licence to race.

David Coulthard, who retired at the end of last season, was retained as a stand-in reserve driver while Hartley waited for his licence.

Red Bull's regular drivers are Germany's Sebastien Vettel and Australian Mark Webber.

Vettel won the team's first grand prix in Shanghai last month and they are currently second in the constructors' standings behind Brawn GP.

Friday's gossip column

Transfers Other gossip And finally


Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has made Blackburn striker Roque Santa Cruz his number one summer transfer target - and hopes he can land him for a cut-price £12m. (Daily Express)
Full story

Wenger's interest in Santa Cruz could signal the end of Emmanuel Adebayor's Arsenal career. (Daily Mirror)
Full story

Manchester City say they may miss out Santa Cruz but are back in the race to sign £35m-rated Valencia striker David Villa. (The Independent)

And City are interested in winger Arjen Robben, who could be offloaded by Real Madrid in the summer. (Daily Mirror)
Full story

Manchester United are poised to make a £30m bid for Lyon striker Karim Benzema - to replace Carlos Tevez. (The Sun)
Full story

Everton manager David Moyes is set to make a £6m bid for Rennes full-back Rod Fanni. (The Sun)
Full story

Djibril Cisse's goal drought could lead to him failing to secure a permanent deal with Sunderland. (The Sun)

Stoke manager Tony Pulis wants the club to finish as high in the league as they can so that he can sign Cardiff midfielder Joe Ledley in the summer. (Daily Mirror)

Wigan boss Steve Bruce will turn his attention to Manchester United's Fraizer Campbell after an unproductive scouting trip to Mexico. (The Sun)

Promoted Wolves want to bring experienced Liverpool centre half Sami Hyypia to Molineux. (The Sun)

More to follow.


Manchester United skipper Rio Ferdinand will be out of action for at least three weeks after the cracked rib he picked up during the Champions League win over Arsenal led him to start coughing up blood. (Daily Mail, Daily Mirror)
Full story

West Ham's European hopes have been dealt a blow with the news that midfielder Scott Parker is unlikely to play again this season. (Daily Mirror)

Chelsea midfielder Michael Essien has warned Barcelona's players, who complained about being kicked during the Champions League semi-final first leg, that they will be just as tough at Stamford Bridge.
Full story


More to follow.

Safina too strong for Hantuchova

Dinara Safina
Safina wasted little time in securing a quarter-final place

World number one Dinara Safina eased past Daniela Hantuchova to reach the last eight at the Stuttgart Grand Prix.

The Russian, playing in her first event since taking the top ranking, won 6-4 6-2 against Slovakian Hantuchova.

Safina goes on to face Polish eighth seed Agnieszka Radwanska, who beat Tsvetana Pironkova 6-3 6-3.

Second seed Elena Dementieva saw off Agnes Szavay 7-6 (7-4) 6-1, and third seed Jelena Jankovic beat Sabine Lisicki 7-5 5-7 6-3.

"We have had some close matches in the past and I did well today," said Safina, who had lost her three previous meetings to Hantuchova.


Jankovic fought back from 40-0 down at 3-3 in the third set to win the game and ultimately the match.

"She gave me a hard time," said the Serb after the two hours 13-minute encounter.

"She played really great and she served really well, she was hitting her serves hard - between 180 and 190km/h - and not many girls can do that.

"I am just pleased to have got through the match."

Her reward is a quarter-final against Flavia Pennetta after the Italian beat sixth seed Nadia Petrova 6-2 6-2.

Dementieva will next face Marion Bartoli, who was a surprise 7-6 (8-6) 6-4 winner over seventh seed Caroline Wozniacki.

"I knew she has a great backhand and it is always tough to play Caroline, I have never beaten her before," said Bartoli.

Fifth seed Svetlana Kuznetsova beat Li Na 4-6 6-4 7-5 to set up a clash with Argentina's Gisela Dulko.

Murphy and Roberston tied in semi

World Snooker Championship
Date: 18 April-4 May Venue: Crucible Theatre, Sheffield
Coverage: Live coverage each day on BBC Two, BBC Red Button and BBC Sport website (UK only), updates on BBC Radio 5 Live.

Shaun Murphy
World number three Murphy won the World Championship in 2005

Shaun Murphy and Neil Robertson are all square at 4-4 after the first session of their World Championship semi-final.

It was clear from the first frame how closely matched the two would be as they battled tactically for over 50 minutes before Murphy claimed it.

He also took the next frame but, thanks to breaks of 81 and 62 in frames three and four, Robertson drew level.

Murphy again constructed a two-frame lead but Robertson fought back and took the evening's last two frames.

Both players made mistakes throughout the session but at times displayed the kind of ruthlessness at the table that has seen them advance to this stage of the tournament.


Despite being 2-0 down, courtesy of losing the drawn-out first frame and a break of 46 by Murphy to claim the second, Robertson showed composure to open his account thanks to a break of 81 in the third.

The Australian drew level at 2-2 in the next frame but Murphy restored his lead soon after the resumption before a break of 88 restored his two-frame advantage.

But Robertson responded with 81 in the seventh frame and a run of 46 made sure he took the final frame of the evening to leave the match finely balanced.

Leader Button welcomes budget cap

Jenson Button
Button leads the championship by 12 points after four races

Formula One championship leader Jenson Button has backed the introduction of a £40m budget cap from 2010.

The cap is part of a raft of proposals to shake up F1 announced by governing body the International Automobile Federation (FIA) on Thursday.

"For the manufacturers and the bigger teams I'm sure they don't want that, but for teams like Brawn we need that for the future," Button told BBC Sport.

"It's the way F1 has to go in the times that we are experiencing," he added.

F1 is dominated by manufacturers who are suffering in the global downturn with the result of slumping car sales, while Button's former team Japan's Honda pulled out of the sport in 2008.

We remain encouraged by the new rules

Prodrive chairman David Richards

"For the teams that are not manufacturers this is what we need," said Button speaking at the Sport Industry Awards for 2009.

"For us and Williams and a few other teams we'll be reasonably happy with the decision - it's going in the direction that we need it to."

Teams are free to chose whether to be governed by the cap but those that opt out face certain restrictions.

Some teams are spending £160m each year and the proposed introduction of the budget cap has raised fears that F1 will become a two-tier sport.

McLaren's Martin Whitmarsh wants a solution which "may or may not include a budget cap, but which ideally would not encompass a two-tier regulatory framework".

F1 Mole

Those who comply with the budget cap will gain greater technical freedom and unlimited out-of-season testing.

The FIA is to allow three new teams to enter from next year and those that join and work within the cap will get money from the commercial rights holder, a proposal that was welcomed by Aston Martin and Prodrive chairman David Richards.

"We remain encouraged by the new rules which have the potential for a team to be commercially viable and competitive on a far more realistic budget," said Richards, who has expressed an interest in entering F1 in 2010.

Cup edge to Hamburg and Shakhtar

Trochowski heads in
Trochowski's header was enough to secure victory for Hamburg

An away goal from Piotr Trochowski earned Hamburg a 1-0 win in their all-German Uefa Cup semi-final first leg against Werder Bremen.

Trochowski rose at the far post to head in a Guy Demel cross in the first half.

Hugo Almeida missed a couple of good chances for Bremen who contributed much to a superb game.

Shakhtar Donetsk came away the happier from the all-Ukrainian Uefa Cup semi-final first leg after grabbing a vital away goal in a 1-1 draw at Dynamo Kiev.

Hamburg, who eliminated Manchester City in the quarter-finals, made much of the early running against Bremen.

After 20 minutes Paolo Guerrero forced a superb fingertip save from Bremen keeper Tim Wiese with a rasping drive.

Eight minutes later, Hamburg were ahead when Demel curled over a deep cross which midfielder Trochowski rose well to meet at the far post to nod a header back across goal into the far corner of the net.

Bremen came out fighting in the second half and were almost level immediately when Diego crossed for Claudio Pizarro - on loan from Chelsea - but his header was misdirected wide.


Shortly after, a Clemens Fritz cross was spilled by Hamburg keeper Frank Rost but Almeida's follow-up header was directed straight at the keeper.

Twice within a minute around the hour, Ivica Olic was central to chances that could have extended Hamburg's lead.

Firstly, he ran clear down the left but delayed his shot and allowed Rost to save and then he escaped down the right and crossed for Jonathan Pitroipa but his header went wide.

Bremen pressed for an equaliser as the game wore on but Rost saved well from a Naldo drive and Pizarro skewered a good chance high and wide.

An important away goal from Brazilian striker Fernandinho earned Shakhtar Donetsk a draw in the first leg of the all-Ukrainian semi-final at the Valeri Lobanovskiy stadium against Dynamo Kiev .

Kiev took the lead after 20 minutes when Olexandr Aliev's long-range free-kick deflected off Ismael Bangoura's instep across goal to the far post where Chygrynskiy - marking Kiev striker Artem Milevskiy - unfortunately deflected the ball into his own net.

Prior to that, Shakhtar had been largely in the ascendancy but the goal gave Kiev the impetus to seize control of the match and for long periods dominate possession.

It was Shakhtar, though, who could have scored twice in the space of two minutes around the half-hour mark.

Willian lifts Fernandinho
Willian lifts Fernandinho in celebration after his equaliser for Shakhtar

Firstly, Fernandinho cut inside and brought a neat save from Stanislav Bogush in the Kiev goal with a low shot, and then Luiz Adriano was just beaten to the ball by the keeper as he ran onto a through-ball.

In first-half injury time, Kiev's Carlos Correa unleashed a speculative 35-yard drive which took a deflection to wrong-foot Shakhtar keeper Andriy Pyatov but struck the outside of the post.

Kiev picked up where they left off in the second half and were close to extending their lead when Aliev found Milevskiy's head, but he was always stretching and could not apply sufficient contact to direct the ball goalwards.

Aliev then had a scuffed shot which found Ognjen Vukojevic free in the box but he could only steer a side-foot finish past the post.

Dynamo were made to pay for such wastefulness after 67 minutes when Shakhtar grabbed a precious away goal, forged entirely in Brazil.

Jadson unleashed Willian down the right and his cross was poked home by the sliding Fernandinho.

Kiev could have restored their lead but Aliev could not beat Pyatov after receiving a neat chipped pass from Milevskiy in the box.

Ospreys win but Munster nab title

Ospreys (11) 27
Tries: Hook, Williams Con: Hook Pens: Hook (3) Drop-goals: Biggar, Hook

Dragons (12) 18
Pens: Connor (6)

Ryan Jones tackles Dan Lydiate
Ryan Jones tackles Dan Lydiate at the Liberty Stadium

Munster were crowned Magners League champions as the Ospreys beat the Dragons but failed to claim a bonus point in a low quality Welsh derby.

Former Osprey Shaun Connor booted all the Dragons' points, poor kicking from James Hook keeping the result in doubt.

Hook claimed a first-half try after great work from Tommy Bowe and Shane Williams added a dazzling second.

Ospreys did not chase the tries, Hook's late drop goal denying Dragons a bonus in their Heineken qualification bid.

The Dragons are one point behind the Blues and Scarlets, the bottom Welsh side having to face a Heineken Cup play-off against the third best Italian side.


The Blues will take themselves out of that equation if they win this season's Heineken Cup.

Connor put the Dragons ahead with an early penalty at the Liberty Stadium, Dan Biggar - playing at fly-half with Hook in the centre - levelling matters with a drop goal for the home side.

Alun Wyn Jones put in a huge hit on Joe Bearman as the derby began to heat up, before Connor landed his second penalty.

We want to go to Munster in the last game and prove a point

Ospreys coach Sean Holley

Biggar's restart was plucked superbly out of the air by Bowe, the Lions tourist off-loading behind his back to Hook who handed off Dan Lydiate as he crossed for the opening try.

Hook missed the conversion, but extended his side's lead with a fine 25th-minute penalty.

Connor missed with a shot at goal, then saw his team down to 14 men when flanker Jamie Ringer was sin-binned for a clumsy challenge on Lee Byrne when the full-back jumped in the air for a high ball.

It was the Dragons who profited in Ringer's absence, though, Connor landing two penalties after Hook had missed an Ospreys kick to give the visitors an unlikely 12-11 advantage at the break.

Shane Williams makes a break for the Ospreys
The Ospreys were forced to rely on moments of individual brilliance

Following his knock Byrne was replaced as a precaution at half-time, the Ospreys then missing an early second-half chance to regain the lead when Hook blew another shot at goal.

Andrew Bishop stirred the home side with a fine midfield break, resulting in the Dragons again being reduced to 14 men as Rory Sidey saw yellow for killing the ball at the breakdown.

Hook landed the resultant penalty to edge the Ospreys back ahead, but the advantage was short-lived as Connor converted his fifth kick at goal.

A piece of Williams magic was needed, and the Lions winger dutifully obliged, a trademark midfield step breezing him past Rhodri Gomer Davies for a try under the posts.

The Dragons hit straight back, a Connor break and off-load splitting the Ospreys defence and forcing Bishop into an off-the-ball tackle on the supporting runners to prevent a try.

The centre was sin-binned, Connor kicking the resultant penalty but missing with a drop-goal that would have brought the scores level.

We went for the bonus point and unfortunately we didn't get it so we're pretty disappointed

Man-of-the-match Jason Tovey

Another glorious Williams break split the visitors' defence, Aled Brew killing the attack illegally to gift Hook a penalty under the posts, the Ospreys showing no ambition to go for the tries that would keep them in the title race.

The Dragons were still hopeful after Hook failed for a fifth time with a penalty, and the visitors nearly scored following an excellent Brew break.

A Hook drop goal with four minutes to go put the result - and the title race - beyond doubt.

Ospreys coach Sean Holley:
"Very disappointing. It would have been tall order - we needed three bonus point wins, but just happy to get a win in the end, really.

"We are trying to build some confidence, some momentum towards the end of the season.

"No [I wasn't disappointed we didn't go for the bonus-point try at the end of the game instead of the drop-goal]. We needed to win the game first.

"It clearly wasn't a night for tries and the Dragons made it really, really difficult for us and as did the referee.

"But we got the win and we'll look to get two more wins to finish the season of strongly.

"There's still [Wales] tour places to play for. We want to finish as high up in the league as we can.

"We want to go to Munster in the last game and prove a point and we'll just keep working because there's another season to play for."

Man-of-the-match Jason Tovey:
"We came here to win, but when we knew the game was away from us we went for the bonus point and unfortunately we didn't get it so we're pretty disappointed about that.

"We're concentrating on getting up the league, getting into that European play-off and I hope to help the Dragons do that and if the Welsh tour [to North America] did come my way, I'd take it."

Ospreys: Byrne, Bowe, Hook, A. Bishop, Williams, Biggar, M. Phillips, D. Jones, Bennett, A. Jones, Levi, Wyn Jones, Smith, Holah, R. Jones.
Replacements: Owen for Byrne (41), Spratt for Biggar (65), Knoyle for M. Phillips (80), James for D. Jones (51), Shervington for Bennett (41), Gough for Levi (51), Tiatia for R. Jones (65).

Dragons: Tovey, Wyatt, Gomer-Davies, Sidey, Brew, Connor, W. Evans, Black, S. Jones, R. Thomas, MacDonald, Charteris, Lydiate, Ringer, Bearman.
Replacements: Walker for W. Evans (55), Gustafson for Black (59), Willis for S. Jones (59), L. Evans for Ringer (59). Not Used: N. Hall, A. Hall, Dolman.

Att: 5,010

Referee: Andrew Small (RFU)

Serie A to form breakaway league

AC Milan will be one of the clubs in the breakaway league
AC Milan will be one of the clubs in the new league

Italy's top football division Serie A is poised to split from Serie B to form a new league Lega Calcio Serie A.

The two divisions have been unable to reach an agreement over finance and Serie A is set to copy the formation of England's Premier League.

The Premier League increased its share of television revenue after breaking away from the other divisions in 1992.

"Nineteen Serie A clubs today decided to create the 'Lega Calcio Serie A'," said a statement by the new league.

"The decision was made because of the impossibility of reaching an understanding with the Serie B clubs" the statement added.

Italian top-flight clubs are determined to close the gap on Premier League sides, who have increasingly dominated European competition.

The Premier League is the richest in the world and has had three teams in the semi-finals of the Champions League for the last two seasons, while top-flight English sides have been involved in the competitions last four finals.

This time it's for real. I'm not happy but it was necessary

Palermo president Maurizio Zamparini

It is believed that only relegated-threatened Lecce voted against the proposal for Serie A to split from Serie B, the only other fully professional division in Italy.

"We have created a new league for Serie A," said Palermo president Maurizio Zamparini after Thursday's meeting. "This time it's for real. I'm not happy but it was necessary."

Maurizio Beretta, the former head of Italy's employers' association, has been proposed as the president of the new league.

But the formation of Lega Calcio Serie A leaves the current Serie B facing an uncertain future.

The second-tier division did not have a television agreement last season and only struck a new one shortly before the start of the current campaign, while many clubs in the division have recently experienced financial problems.

Woakes shines as West Indies toil

Tour match, Derby: England Lions v West Indies
Dates: 30 April-3 May Start time: 1100 BST Venue: County Ground
Coverage: Live scorecard and daily reports on the BBC website

Warwickshire seamer Chris Woakes
Woakes finished the first day with figures of 4-26

Warwickshire seamer Chris Woakes took all four wickets as England Lions dominated a rain-affected start to their four-day game with West Indies.

Devon Smith pulled Saj Mahmood's first delivery for four but only 18 more were possible before tea and in that time Woakes had Lendl Simmons caught behind.

Tim Ambrose also pouched Smith before Dinesh Ramdin was caught by Ian Bell to leave the tourists struggling on 34-3.

Ramnaresh Sarwan hit six boundaries but fell for 31 as they limped to 76-4.

England Lions team: Rob Key (Kent, capt), Tim Ambrose (Warwickshire, wkt), Ian Bell (Warwickshire), Sajid Mahmood (Lancashire), Stephen Moore (Worcestershire), Samit Patel (Nottinghamsire), Liam Plunkett (Durham), Adil Rashid (Yorkshire), Jonathan Trott (Warwickshire), Chris Woakes (Warwickshire), Luke Wright (Sussex).

Woods leads the way in Charlotte

Tiger Woods
Woods beat Steve Stricker by two shots at the same event in 2007

Tiger Woods made a late burst to take a three-shot clubhouse lead on the first day of the Quail Hollow Championships in Charlotte.

The 33-year-old, making his first appearance since finishing sixth in the Masters, shot six birdies in his last nine holes for a seven-under-par round.

Fellow Americans Jeff Maggert and Steve Flesch and South Africa's Retief Goosen are in joint second place.

England's Justin Rose, at two over par, is the highest-placed Briton.

World number Woods won the title in 2007 but was unable to defend it last season as he was recovering from knee surgery and Anthony Kim won in his absence.

But after starting on the back nine, Woods transformed his round over the second half of the course to signal his determination to reclaim the trophy.

A trademark run of form saw him pick up shots on 16, 17 and 18 to accelerate away from those already on the course and throw down the gauntlet to those still to tee off.

Ten of the world's top 14 have gathered for the tournament with Kim, Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia, Padraig Harrington, Vijay Singh, Jim Furyk and Angel Cabrera all hoping to deny Woods.

England warn France-bound stars

Rob Andrew
Andrew is taking a tough stance against the French exodus

England players who move to France must attend all training sessions with the national team in order to be selected, says elite rugby director Rob Andrew.

England boss Martin Johnson and Andrew want French clubs to abide by the same agreement for player release as their English counterparts.

"If the players can't deliver everything we wish they will not be picked," Andrew told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"We need Martin to be in full control of the England team's preparation."

Three England players - James Haskell, Riki Flutey and Tom Palmer - are moving to France at the end of the season.

Jonny Wilkinson has held discussions with French side Toulon and could move in the summer.

"We've got a very detailed agreement with the English Premiership clubs over player release for the England team and we're insisting that we have the same for the players who go to France if they wish to be in Martin's squad," added Andrew.

Johnson will announce his next Elite Performance Squad on 1 July and Andrew is adamant that the situation with French-based English players must be known by that point.

If players can't deliver everything we wish for then they will not be picked in the England EPS

RFU director of elite rugby Rob Andrew

"We're going to be very clear on this and if players can't deliver everything we wish for then they will not be picked," said Andrew.

"They've all been aware of this for quite some time - the players, their agents, their lawyers and the clubs themselves - and we're in good dialogue with the French clubs."

England are scheduled to tour Australia in June 2010, with the trip beginning before the conclusion of the French domestic season.

And Andrew hinted that if players based in France would be unable to make the tour it could hinder their chances of being selected for next year's Six Nations.

"We would look very seriously at that," he added.

"It's a year out from the 2001 World Cup in New Zealand - the last major tour to the Southern Hemisphere - and if we're going to find that we have players who can't come on the tour or can only come halfway through it then that will clearly impact on selection decisions.

"We're not going to invest a lot of time in players who are then going to disappear towards the end of the season. Those are decisions we won't make lightly."


A four-page letter, signed by Rugby Football Union chief Francis Baron, was sent to all members of Johnson's current elite squad last month warning that moving abroad could jeopardise their international status.

Damian Hopley, head of the Professional Rugby Players' Association, told BBC Sport: "We are taking legal advice.

"The concern is that this becomes a restraint of trade.

"You have to remember that it's not just a financial decision for players to go, but also about lifestyle and experience."

It has also been made clear that Johnson and his coaching staff will not travel to watch players in the French league.

Higgins opens lead in semi-final

World Snooker Championship
Date: 18 April-4 May Venue: Crucible Theatre, Sheffield
Coverage: Live coverage each day on BBC Two, BBC Red Button and BBC Sport website (UK only), updates on BBC Radio 5 Live.

John Higgins
Higgins hit the highest break in a scrappy opening to the semi-final

Scotland's John Higgins emerged with a 6-2 lead from an error-strewn first session of his World Championship semi-final with Mark Allen at the Crucible.

Both players were guilty of making basic mistakes in a nervy opening, but Higgins knocked in a 55 in frame three.

The balls were blamed and a decision to change them was made at the mid-session interval with Higgins leading 3-1.

Northern Ireland's Allen pinched the fifth but Higgins found some momentum, knocking in a 114 and 75 to lead 6-2.

Allen, who knocked Ronnie O'Sullivan out in the second round, took an untidy first frame and although Higgins responded with breaks of 40, 55 and 49, neither played with any fluency.

During the mid-session interval it is believed that concerns were raised over the state of the baize, which was re-clothed overnight and playing slowly, and the balls themselves after both players were troubled by kicks.

The baize was ironed and the balls changed and Allen, bidding to become the first man from Northern Ireland to reach the final since Dennis Taylor's victory in 1985, took the fifth with a break of 41.

But Higgins, who is aiming to win a third world title, rattled in the only century to re-establish his two-frame lead before edging a tight seventh and closing the session with a well-crafted 75.

England's Shaun Murphy, who won the title in 2005, starts his semi-final against Neil Robertson at 1900 BST.

Federer avenges loss to Stepanek

Roger Federer
Federer has twice finished runner-up at the Rome Masters

Roger Federer put last year's Rome Masters defeat by Radek Stepanek behind him with a convincing win over the Czech in round three.

Federer eased to a 6-4 6-1 victory and a place in the last eight.

Defending champion and third seed Novak Djokovic thrashed 13th seed Tommy Robredo of Spain 6-1 6-1.

Juan Monaco, conqueror of Andy Murray, beat Marin Cilic 6-4 6-4, and fifth seed Juan Martin del Potro defeated Stanislas Wawrinka 6-2 6-7 (5-7) 6-3.

Stockport go into administration

Stockport in action against Northampton
The 10-point deduction sees Stockport fall to 18th in League One

League One side Stockport County have been placed in administration.

In accordance with Football League rules, County are given a 10-point penalty and fall from 13th to 18th in league football's third tier.

Chief executive Sean Connelly told BBC Radio Manchester: "I am absolutely gutted and frustrated.

"We were so close to having everything put into place to guarantee a long-term future for the club but we don't know what's going to happen now."

County now lie just three points above the relegation zone and need a draw in Saturday's final game of the season at Brighton to be mathematically certain of avoiding relegation to League Two.

Sheff Hatter

The club have been fighting to stave off administration but their level of debt, with one creditor owed £300,000, has made it unavoidable.

"We went so far, this morning, as to offer our creditors a large part of the payment directly into their account in earnest of our intent going forward but obviously that didn't get taken up," said Connelly.

"To have the rug pulled from under us like this is simply soul destroying. I know the staff here are just destroyed by it."

John Titley and Paul Reeves of Manchester-based accountancy firm Leonard Curtis confirmed that they had been appointed as joint administrators.

"We are keen to work with the board to explore all possible solutions to ensure the club's future prospects are protected," said Titley.

"We are extremely hopeful we will find a buyer for the club and are already aware of expressions of interest."

Sandelin plays after fire rescue

Jarmo Sandelin
Sandelin is a five-time winner on the European Tour

Sweden's Jarmo Sandelin completed his first round at the Spanish Open on Thursday just days helping an elderly neighbour escape from a fatal blaze.

The former Ryder Cup player carried the woman to safety when fire struck his apartment block in Stockholm.

But he was unable to rescue the woman's husband, Swedish newspapers reported.

"My family and I could have lost our lives so I am still in shock," said the 41-year-old after shooting a six-under par opening round of 66 in Girona.

"I would prefer not to talk about it at the moment.

"It's hard but I'm trying to block things off so I can play golf."

Oldham confirm Penney as manager

Dave Penney
Penney joined Darlington in 2006 after five years in charge of Doncaster

League One side Oldham have confirmed Darlington boss Dave Penney as their new manager on a two-year deal.

Penney replaces Joe Royle, who took temporary charge of the Latics in March after the departure of John Sheridan.

On Tuesday, former Everton boss Royle announced he was to leave Boundary Park after failing to win in eight games in his second spell in charge of the club.

Penney resigned as Quakers boss earlier on Thursday after almost three years in charge of the administration-hit club.

The Latics will not owe Darlington any compensation because of the League Two side's financial situation.

Oldham managing director Simon Corney told the club website: "We are delighted to be able to welcome a manager of Dave's calibre to Boundary Park.

"He is a very professional and thorough person who ticked all the boxes and who has an excellent track record."

Penney guided Doncaster from the Conference to League One, the club's highest league position for 50 years.


He left in August 2006 and was appointed Darlington boss two months later.

Penney's Darlington have faced an uncertain future since the club went into administration and had 10 points deducted in February.

The Quakers were in contention for a promotion place this season before having their points taken away.

Meanwhile, Royle has dismissed suggestions he may have stayed at Oldham beyond the end of the season.

He told BBC Radio Manchester: "I came to Oldham specifically to see the club through nine games to buy time to find a manager.

"They needed breathing space to have a look at CVs of the managers in the frame and I was very much a caretaker.

"There is always an 'if' factor in football and if we had won six games in a row and gone into the plays-offs, who knows? But I only ever came for nine games."

Spurs star Bent out for two weeks

Darren Bent
Bent has been linked with a move away from White Hart Lane

Tottenham striker Darren Bent will be out of action for two weeks after suffering a medial ligament injury.

The 25-year-old suffered the problem with his left knee in Saturday's 5-2 defeat by Manchester United.

Following scans this week Bent has been instructed to wear a knee brace for a fortnight before specialists make a further assessment.

The former Charlton forward has struggled to cement a starting place but has scored 17 goals this season.

Spurs face West Brom on Saturday as they chase a seventh-place finish and possible European football.

More to follow.

Collingwood likeliest T20 captain

Paul Collingwood
Collingwood has been a drinks carrier for his Delhi Daredevils team-mates

England will aim to arrest a poor record in Twenty20 cricket when they name their captain and 15-man squad on Friday for June's ICC World Twenty20.

Paul Collingwood is favourite to take the lead role, nine months after resigning England's one-day captaincy.

England host the second edition of the latest global cricket tournament.

The uncapped players from a provisional squad of 30 looking for call-ups are Graham Napier, Joe Denly, Chris Woakes, Eoin Morgan and Adil Rashid.

A news conference has been called for 1315 BST at Lord's, when national selector Geoff Miller will reveal all.

Collingwood, who led England in 24 ODIs and 10 Twenty20 games, was at the centre of an ugly incident in a match against New Zealand last June during a year he described as the worst of his career.

In a tense climax during a one-day international at The Oval, Grant Elliott was given run-out after he was knocked to the ground colliding with England seamer Ryan Sidebottom.

The Durham all-rounder later apologised after his decision to uphold the appeal was deemed by some to be against the spirit of the game.

Although England were not always a roaring success under his leadership, there were impressive 50-over series wins at home to India and in Sri Lanka.

BBC Sport's Jamie Lillywhite

However England's Twenty20 cricket is particularly weak, epitomised by the ill-conceived Stanford Super Series finale last November when they were bowled out for 99 in Antigua.

They have lost nine of their 15 internationals, including four out of five at the inaugural World Twenty20 in South Africa in 2007, where they could only beat Zimbabwe.

Collingwood finished a short stint for Delhi Daredevils in the Indian Premier League on Thursday having not been selected for any of the five matches for which he was available.

Last week he told the Daily Telegraph "it would be an exciting challenge" to lead the national side in June.

His strongest challenger for the job might be Hampshire captain Dimitri Mascarenhas, who has bowled well for Rajasthan Royals in the IPL but does not yet have an ECB second-tier "increment" contract, let alone a central contract.

England squad (to be reduced to 15 at 1315 BST, 1 May):
Kabir Ali (Worcestershire), James Anderson (Lancashire), Gareth Batty (Worcestershire), Ian Bell (Warwickshire), Ravi Bopara (Essex), Tim Bresnan (Yorkshire), Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire), Paul Collingwood (Durham), Steve Davies (wk, Worcestershire), Joe Denly (Kent), James Foster (wk, Essex), Andrew Flintoff (Lancashire), Steve Harmison (Durham), Rob Key (Kent), Sajid Mahmood (Lancashire), Dimitri Mascarenhas (Hampshire), Eoin Morgan (Middlesex), Graham Napier (Essex), Samit Patel (Nottinghamshire), Kevin Pietersen (Hampshire), Liam Plunkett (Durham), Matt Prior (wk, Sussex), Adil Rashid (Yorkshire), Owais Shah (Middlesex), Ryan Sidebottom (Nottinghamshire), Graeme Swann (Nottinghamshire), Chris Tremlett (Hampshire), Shaun Udal (Middlesex), Chris Woakes (Warwickshire), Luke Wright (Sussex).

Penney resigns as Darlington boss

Dave Penney
Penney joined Darlington in 2006 after five years in charge of Doncaster

Darlington manager Dave Penney has resigned ahead of his expected appointment as the new boss of League One side Oldham Athletic.

Penney joined the Quakers in 2006 after five years in charge of Doncaster Rovers, who he guided from the Conference to League One.

He is now set to be named Oldham boss after Joe Royle announced he will leave Boundary Park at the end of the season.

Oldham have called a press conference for 1500 BST on Wednesday.

Penney's Darlington have faced an uncertain future since the club went into administration and had 10 points deducted in February.

The Quakers were in contention for a promotion place this season before having their points taken away.

Royle took temporary charge of the Latics after John Sheridan left the club in March.

Sunderland v Everton

Venue: Stadium of Light Date: Sunday, 3 May Kick-off: 1500 BST
Coverage: Full commentary on BBC Newcastle, BBC Radio Merseyside 95.8 FM, 1485 AM, and DAB, Score updates on Final Score, BBC Sport website and BBC Radio 5 Live; live text commentary on BBC Sport website; Highlights on Match of the Day

Sunderland are still without goalkeeper Craig Gordon (knee) and defender Nyron Nosworthy (hamstring).

George McCartney is also sidelined with a calf injury.

Everton midfielder Jack Rodwell is rated doubtful having sustained a hamstring injury playing for the reserves in midweek.

Phil Jagielka is recuperating after surgery on a ruptured knee ligament sustained in last weekend's defeat to Manchester City.

Sunderland (from): Fulop, Bardsley, Ferdinand, Davenport, Collins, Edwards, Richardson, Tainio, Reid, Cisse, Jones, Malbranque, Whitehead, Leadbitter, Healy, Ben-Haim, Colback, Colgan.

Everton (from): Howard, Hibbert, Lescott, Baines, Osman, Neville, Fellaini, Vaughan, Pienaar, Cahill, Saha, Jo, Rodwell, Nash, Yobo, Castillo, Jacobsen, Gosling, Vaughan.

Sunderland manager Ricky Sbragia:
"We need to get points on the board and we cannot rely on other teams.

"The team were very quiet after our loss against West Brom but we have said that kind of display will never happen again.

"We have trained well in the latter part of this week and hope we can carry that into the game.

"But we know Everton are a good team and that they are well drilled and difficult to beat. We were well beaten by them at Goodison Park earlier this season and we have to try and reverse that result."

Everton manager David Moyes:
"I think Sunderland are hurting from their loss against West Brom last week.

"If they want to stay in the Premier League then they're going to have to do something about it.

"We know it will be a tough game, we know the crowd will be anxious, but our form is very good. We had a little bit of a blip last week but we'll be hoping to show our good form again."


Sunderland take on Everton with only a four-point cushion between themselves and the relegation zone, as they attempt to take their current Premier League stint into a third season.

Everton are still involved in the race with Aston Villa for fifth. A place in the Play-Off round for the Europa Cup will be secured, if they either win the FA Cup or finish in the top five. Should they not overhaul Villa and lose to Chelsea at Wembley, a sixth placed finish would see them in the third qualifying round for the Europa League.

Ricky Sbragia will want to see his side avenge the 3-0 defeat at Goodison Park in December, which was his first game after being appointed in full-time charge of the Black Cats.

Sbragia demands Sunderland commitment

The Toffees lost to Manchester City last time out, but have not suffered back-to-back defeats in 62 Premier League outings since losing to Newcastle (a) and Liverpool (h) on 7 and 20 October 2007 respectively.

Everton are unbeaten in eight Premier League matches against Sunderland, and have won the last three with an aggregate score of 11-1.

Distance between the clubs: 169 miles (273 kilometres)



Going into this round of matches: 16th 35 points

(all statistics are ahead of this weekend's round of Premier League fixtures)

1. Won one of nine Premier League matches; 1-0, home to Hull on 18 April.

2. Lost five of the last six top-flight matches.

3. Not beaten any of the top six clubs, and only taken points off Arsenal, by drawing both home and away.

4. Holding the worst record against the top-half clubs; won two and drawn four, claiming 10 points from a possible 54.

5. The current return of 35 points after 34 matches is one point down on last season, and 23 points up on 2005-06, when they were last relegated.

6. Last season's 15th placing was their highest finish since seventh in 2000-01.

7. Squandered 20 Premier League points from winning positions; only Manchester City match that. More details

8. Lost the last five against North-West opponents and picked up one point in eight. Their 1-2 away victory over Blackburn on 15 November is their only triumph in 12 against clubs from the region this season.

9. Been beaten home and away by Manchester United, Liverpool, Aston Villa, West Ham and Manchester City. Chelsea, Everton, Bolton and Portsmouth could all also do the double over them.

10. Still to entertain Chelsea on the last day of the season, 24 May. The full run-in is:- Bolton (a), Portsmouth (a) and Chelsea (h).


Going into this round of matches: 6th 53 points

(all statistics are ahead of this weekend's round of Premier League fixtures)

1. Ever-presents in the Premier League; never finished higher than fourth (2004-05) or lower than 17th, and averaging 12th.

2. Never finished consecutive seasons in the top-half of the Premier League until last year - now they're certain to register three in a row, and could equal last terms fifth place.

3. Victory would take their total of Premier League points under David Moyes past the 400 mark; on 398 at present.

4. Won one of five Premier League matches; 4-0, home to Wigan on 5 April.

5. The current total of 53 points after 34 games is eight points down on last season, when fifth in the table.

5. Winless in seven away league games; drawn five and lost two.

6. Boxing Day was the last time they won on the road; 0-1, against Middlesbrough at the Riverside.

7. Conceded a goal a game on average away from home; 17 in 17.

8. Not lost to a North-East club this season (won two, drawn three), nor in nine since Newcastle's 3-2 victory at St James' Park on 7 October 2007.

9. Already achieved home and away victories over Stoke, Bolton and West Brom. Could also do the double over West Ham, Fulham, Tottenham and Sunderland.

10. The Premier League run-in after this is:- Tottenham (h), West Ham (h) and Fulham (a).



Djibril CISSE is the club's top Premier League scorer with 10 goals.

If selected:-

Deputy keeper Marton FULOP will be making his 100th appearance for an English club (Chesterfield, Coventry, Sunderland, Leicester and Stoke).

Craig GORDON will be making his 50th appearance in a Sunderland goalkeepers' jersey.

Kieran RICHARDSON will be making his 50th appearance in Black Cats colours.

Kenwyne JONES will be making his 150th career league appearance (Southampton, Sheffield Wednesday, Stoke and Sunderland).

Nick COLGAN will be keeping goal in his 250th English and Scottish league game (Chelsea, Brentford, Reading, Hibernian, Stockport, Barnsley, Dundee United and Wigan).

If on the field from the outset:-

Dwight YORKE will be making his 50th Premier League start for the Black Cats.


Tim HOWARD is the only remaining player to have been on the field for every minute of every one of Everton's league and cup matches this season.

Tim CAHILL is the club's leading Premier League scorer with eight goals.

If selected:-

Joseph YOBO will be making his 200th Premier League appearance - all for Everton.

If on the field from the outset:-

HOWARD will be making his 150th English league start (Manchester United and Everton).


The Merseysiders travel to the Stadium of Light in search of a fourth successive top-flight victory there, having won the last three all by 0-1 scorelines.

If Sunderland score, they will have put 150 goals past Everton in home league games against the Merseysiders.

Everton are striving to do the double over Sunderland for the third time in the Premier League, and the second in successive seasons.

There's never been a hat-trick or a goalless draw in Premier League fixtures between Everton and Sunderland.

Everton have suffered four club record 7-0 away league losses in their history. One of those was on Wearside against Sunderland on Boxing Day 1934. Conversely, it was only 24 November 2007, when the Toffees defeated Sunderland 7-1 in a Premier League clash at Goodison Park.

Home and away
League (inc PL): Sunderland 61 wins, Everton 64, Draws 22
Prem: Sunderland 5 wins, Everton 8, Draws 2

at Sunderland only
League (inc PL): Sunderland 44 wins, Everton 18, Draws 11
Prem: Sunderland 4 wins, Everton 3, Draws 0


Sunderland 0-1 Everton
9 March 2008 - Ref: Alan Wiley
Everton scorer: Johnson 55


Everton 3-0 Sunderland
28 December 2008 - Ref: Rob Styles
Everton scorers: Arteta 10, 27, Gosling 83


Martin Atkinson (Yorkshire)

Liverpool v Newcastle

Venue: Anfield Date: Sunday, 3 May Kick-off: 1330 BST
Coverage: Full commentary on BBC Radio Merseyside 95.8 FM, 1485 AM and DAB, Score updates on Final Score, BBC Sport website and BBC Radio 5 Live; live text commentary on BBC Sport website; Highlights on Match of the Day

Liverpool midfielder Steven Gerrard is set to return to the first XI for Sunday's match having missed the last four games with a groin injury.

Swiss full-back Philipp Degen continued his comeback from injury with an outing in the reserves in midweek.

Newcastle will be without key defenders Jose Enrique (hamstring) and Steven Taylor (ankle).

Jonas Gutierrez (ankle) is fit and Joey Barton, an unused substitute against Portsmouth, is included in the squad.

Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez said the return of his captain is invaluable to his team.

"Gerrard is fit - he has been training and hopefully he will be available for the game," said the Spaniard.

"The team were doing well without Stevie, but everyone knows we are stronger with him on the pitch.

"He is a player who can changes games and is very important for us."

Liverpool (from): Reina, Arbeloa, Carragher, Skrtel, Agger, Hyypia, Aurelio, Dessena, Insua, Benayoun, Gerrard, Alonso, Mascherano, Babel, Lucas, Kuyt, Torres, Riera, Ngog, Cavalieri.

Newcastle (from): Harper, Forster, Krul, Beye, Bassong, Coloccini, Edgar, Cacapa, Butt, Duff, R Taylor, Gutierrez, Nolan, Guthrie, Barton, Lovenkrands, Geremi, Smith, Martins, Owen, Viduka, Carroll, Xisco, Ranger.

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez:
"They are under pressure and we need to win every single game.

"The teams that have something to play for are more dangerous.

"If you are trying to win the title you have to win almost every game and when you play teams like Hull and Newcastle you know it will be difficult because they will fight until the last minute."

Newcastle manager Alan Shearer:

Shearer could drop Owen

"There will be twists and turns before the end of the season but we are relying on other teams. If they slip up then we must take our chance.

"We are going to Liverpool and we will give it a right good go. We are going there as underdogs but underdogs have come away with results before.

"I expect we will get at least one chance and if we do we must take it.

"But with the players Liverpool have got it will be difficult to keep them out."


Liverpool could be six points off the pace and even overtaken by Chelsea by the time they face relegation-haunted Newcastle, who'll be three points below safety when they run out at Anfield on Alan Shearer's 31st day in charge.

Benitez still hopeful of Man Utd slip

The Merseysiders must rely on Manchester United slipping up, if they're to win a first ever Premier League crown, and deny the Red Devils a share of their record 18 English top-flight titles.

Newcastle are the Premier League's draw specialists (13) and are without a win in nine; they have gained just two points from a possible 12 under Shearer.

This match brings together the clubs to have won the fewest and lost the fewest top-flight matches this season; the Magpies have won only six, the Reds have lost only two. Indeed Liverpool could become the first club in Premier League history to lose only two or fewer games, and fail to win the title.

This is Newcastle's 16th successive season in the Premier League. They have been runners-up twice (1995-96 and 1996-97), and have never finished lower than 14th (2004-05). Their average finish is eighth.

Liverpool have won their last three Premier League matches against Newcastle, with an aggregate score of 11-1.

Newcastle have claimed just two points out of a possible 42 at Anfield, and have not won in 14 top-flight visits since prevailing 0-2 on 16 April 1994, when Rob Lee and Andrew Cole were on target in a 0-2 triumph.

Distance between the clubs: 174 miles (279 kilometres)



Going into this round of matches: 2nd 74 points

(all statistics are ahead of this weekend's round of Premier League fixtures)

1. Unbeaten in seven Premier League games; won six and drawn one (19 points out of 21) since losing 2-0, away to Middlesbrough on 28 February; their only loss in 23 league games.

2. The current total of 74 points after 34 games is their best ever return in the Premier League, and the best to this stage since the title-winning campaign of 1987-88, when 80 points had been accrued.

3. Scored 10 goals in stoppage time; only Arsenal match that.

4. Failed to score in one of the last 13 Premier League matches; away to Middlesbrough.

5. Lost just one of 18 league games in which they've opening the scoring; away to Spurs.

6. The only club with an unbeaten home Premier League record (10 wins, seven draws). Not lost in 28 league games at Anfield; won 19 and drawn nine since a 0-1 reverse to Manchester United on 16 December 2007 - their only loss in 40.

7. Won seven of eight Premier League matches against North-East clubs (the exception being the visit to Middlesbrough), and lost two of 22 against clubs from the region.

8. The only club not to have had a player sent off in this Premier League campaign.

9. Completed the double over Manchester United, Chelsea, Bolton, Portsmouth, Blackburn and Sunderland. West Brom and Newcastle could also be added to that list.

10. The run-in after this is:- West Ham (a), West Brom (a) and Tottenham (h).


Going into this round of matches: 18th 31 points

(all statistics are ahead of this weekend's round of Premier League fixtures)

1. On the joint longest current winless streak in the highest division of nine games.

2. Drawn four and lost five (four points out of 27) in the Premier League, since beating West Brom 2-3 at the Hawthorns on 7 February 2009; their only maximum in 16 since Christmas.

3. The current tally of 31 points after 34 matches is eight points down on last season and their lowest ever return in a Premier League season.

4. Not scored more than a single goal in a game in nine attempts since the 2-3 victory at West Brom.

5. Lost the last four against the 'Big Four' by an aggregate score of 3-12. Those matches were all at home against the quartet of Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United. Gained a point a piece from their trips to Manchester United (1-1) and Chelsea (0-0) earlier in the season.

6. One win in 13 against North-West clubs this season; 1-0 over Bolton on 23 August. Lost the last four trips across the Pennines.

7. Already lost home and away to Arsenal and Blackburn. Liverpool and Fulham could also do the double over them.

8. The three-match run-in after this is:- Middlesbrough (h), Fulham (h), and Aston Villa (a).



Pepe REINA is the only remaining player to have been on the field for every minute of every one of Liverpool's Premier League matches this season.

Jamie CARRAGHER is the only other player to have started all of Liverpool's Premier League games this term.

Steven GERRARD and Fernando TORRES are the club's top Premier League scorers, with 13 goals each.

If he scores:-

TORRES will reach the milestone of 50 goals for Liverpool.


Michael OWEN is the club's top Premier League scorer with eight goals.

OWEN scored 26 Premier League goals against Newcastle as a Liverpool player, but has failed to net in six league starts for Newcastle against Liverpool. The 29 year old England international striker made 297 appearances (216 in the league) and scored 158 goals (118 league) for the Reds, from the beginning of his career until his move to Real Madrid in August 2004.

If selected:-

Habib BEYE will be making his 50th top-flight appearance for Newcastle.

Danny GUTHRIE will be making his 50th career Premier League appearance (Liverpool and Bolton).

If on the field from the outset:-

Shola AMEOBI will be making his 150th start for the Magpies.


Liverpool's 1-5 win over Newcastle in the reverse fixture in December was their joint highest scoring match of the season. The Reds have netted more Premier League goals against Newcastle than against any other club (63).

These clubs were once involved in an 11-goal top-flight match. Liverpool's 6-5 win on 4 December 1909 was a club record equalling highest home aggregate for Liverpool and highest aggregate for Newcastle.

The Reds are on course for a sixth Premier League double over the Magpies, and second in successive seasons.

Home and away
League (inc PL): Liverpool 70 wins, Newcastle 40, Draws 37
Prem: Liverpool 18 wins, Newcastle 7, Draws 6

at Liverpool only
League (inc PL): Liverpool 48 wins, Newcastle 11, Draws 14
Prem: Liverpool 12 wins, Newcastle 1, Draws 2


Liverpool 3-0 Newcastle United
8 March 2008 - Ref: Peter Walton
Liverpool scorers: Pennant 43, Torres 45, Gerrard 51


Newcastle United 1-5 Liverpool
28 December 2008 - Ref: Mark Halsey
Newcastle scorer: Edgar 45
Liverpool scorers: Gerrard 31, Hyypia 36, Babel 50, Gerrard 66, Alonso 77 pen


Phil Dowd (Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire)