first_img Luis Suarez in action for Liverpool last season Joe Allen believes Liverpool have finally overcome the loss of Luis Suarez and are now even better than they were with the Uruguayan leading their attack.With Suarez in sensational form last season, the Reds only narrowly missed out on the Premier League title.His summer departure to Barcelona left a huge void and Brendan Rodgers’ side, also rocked by the absence of fellow striker Daniel Sturridge through injury, made a disastrous start to this season.But Liverpool have been vastly improved in recent weeks, with a ten-match unbeaten run moving them to within touching distance of the top four, and Allen reckons they are now at the top of their game.“At the start of the year we talked about how losing Suarez was going to have an affect but now we have overcome that,” the midfielder Allen said.“It took us a little bit of time to overcome that because the injury problems we had were not ideal.“We are certainly back up to that level and if anything with the different system we play this season we might even have taken a step forward.“Sometimes (criticism) gets taken out of hand but I don’t think it was unfair. There was no hiding places and we were not delivering as players.“There was no excuse from us. We knew there might be a difficult patch early in the season and that probably went on longer than we hoped and expected.“At the same time we always knew we would come through it and I think that was the biggest sign we would be where we are at this stage.”As well as edging closer to a Champions League qualification spot, Liverpool are through to the FA Cup quarter-finals and travel to Besiktas on Thursday looking to secure safe progress to the Europa League last-16.Allen says everyone at the club is “digging deep” to cope with their three-pronged attack, epitomised by the resilience showed in winning 2-0 at Southampton on Sunday.The St Mary’s encounter was not without its controversy, though, as referee Kevin Friend waved away three strong, first-half penalty appeals from the hosts.Dejan Lovren handled after Filip Djuricic twice went down in the box, first under pressure from Emre Can and then Allen’s challenge.“If I am being honest I didn’t get contact on the ball, which was disappointing because I felt I could get it but missed it,” the latter said.“I didn’t really take him down either so it is one of them where my heart was in my mouth a little bit but at the same time I can see why it wasn’t given.”Those incidents along with others at the weekend led to widespread discussion about the merits of video technology – something Southampton captain Jose Fonte would back.Asked if he would support the introduction of such the measure, the Portuguese centre-back said: “Yeah, I think so, I think it would be a good solution.“It’s one of those days. Nothing went our way. We kept trying, we kept working hard.“They got a great goal really early on and then we put the pressure on them, and we just didn’t have any luck today, either with decisions or in the game itself.” 1last_img read more

first_imgJimmy Garoppolo, not retiring. His career, in fact, looks back on track.It was not flawless but it was the pick-me-up game Garoppolo needed in the 49ers most vital exhibition, a 27-17 win Saturday night against the host Kansas City Chiefs.Garoppolo’s confidence ramped up throughout his first-half workload. He completed 14-of-20 passes for 188 yards with no interceptions and a dandy, 20-yard touchdown toss to a diving Matt Breida on a near-perfect second series.San Francisco 49ers running …last_img

first_imgThe crisis over Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh seems to have passed with the BJP high command in New Delhi having taken a decision that there will not be a change of leadership in the State’s government. According to top sources in the BJP, Mr. Singh along with other MLAs met with BJP president Amit Shah, working president J.P.Nadda and general secretary organisation B.L.Santhosh late on Wednesday evening and had a patient hearing from all the three.He had been facing dissidence from within his own government and also protests over the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB), which home minister Amit Shah had declared would be coming soon, before undertaking a National Registration of Citizens (NRC) exercise in several parts of the country.Cabinet reshuffleBJP leadership told Mr. Singh that a senior leader from Delhi will be sent to Manipur soon to settle the internal issues within the party, including, possibly effecting a Cabinet reshuffle in the State that could go a long way in calming tempers.The issue of CAB has also led to protests in the State, with some dissidents raising this as an issue that requires sensitive handling. Sensitive issueAccording to senior BJP leaders in the know, Mr. Shah has assured that there would be nothing done to affect the culture and rights of the indigenous population in the State, but while the hill areas are protected under Article 371(c) of the Constitution, those residing in the Valley, the Sanamahi and Hindu Meiteis both, are sensitive over the issue.The Manipur Assembly had passed the Manipur People’s Protection Bill, 2018 in July last year aimed at providing protection to the Meiteis in the Valley. That measure is still pending with the Rashtrapati Bhawan. The State unit is hoping that it goes through and some of the negative perception over the CAB in the State can be ameliorated. The CAB aims at providing a path to Indian citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Christians, Parsis and Buddhists fleeing religious persecution from India’s neighbouring countries. With a porous border with Bangladesh, north-eastern States have been nervous that it could lead to swamping by Bengali Hindus.last_img read more