Jurgen Klopp has pledged to end Liverpool’s terrible defending from set-pieces once and for all. The Reds have struggled to protect their penalty area from corners and free-kicks all season, conceding eight times from corners in the Premier League alone. Klopp’s side conceded all four goals from set-pieces in a 5-4 thriller against Norwich at Carrow Road on Saturday and the German insists it is a problem they “cannot ignore” any longer. “It’s not too late to learn and now it’s time to. We are always working on our weaknesses,” Klopp said. “We spoke about it really intensively. It was a good talk together; not the first one, but hopefully it will be the last one. “It’s not about the formation, nor the quality of the set-plays. It’s about what we are doing in these situations. Against Norwich, we defended the first ball well but struggled then with the second or third. “For the goal of (Dieumerci) Mbokani, there was still a full box so we could have pushed up earlier and left them offside. That would have been a clever idea.”
Chelsea midfielder Ramires is close to a move to Chinese side Jiangsu Suning. The 28-year-old Brazilian signed from Benfica for about £17m in 2010, is expected to join the Super League side for a fee which could reach £25m. Ramires signed a new four-year deal in October 2015 but has only started seven Premier League games in a campaign in which the Blues have struggled. Jiangsu finished ninth in China’s top tier in 2015 and are managed by former Blues defender Dan Petrescu. They also won the Chinese Cup in 2015 – the biggest honour in their history. In his time at Stamford Bridge, Ramires has won the Premier League, FA Cup, League Cup, Champions League and Europa League
The Russian Olympic Committee has banned four athletes for doping, including a former European silver medalist. Irina Maracheva, silver medal winner in the 800m at the 2012 European championships, received a two-year ban, as did race-walker Anna Lukyanova, for doping violations based on documents handed over by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). There were also four-year bans for runners Maria Nikolaeva and Yelena Nikulina.. Russia is struggling to overturn a suspension on its track and field team that could see it miss the Rio Olympics.
Adidas, the IAAF’s (the International Association of Athletics Federations) biggest sponsor, has told athletics’ world governing body it is to terminate their sponsorship deal four years early. The sportswear giant informed the IAAF of its decision last week and it is understood to be a direct result of the doping scandal sweeping the sport. Neither Adidas nor the IAAF confirmed the split but both issued short statements. They both referenced the “reform process” currently under way as the IAAF attempts to come to terms with a number of damaging revelations. They also claimed they were “in close contact” with each other, with the IAAF insisting it was in close contact with “all its sponsors and partners”. The 11-year sponsorship deal with Adidas was due to run until 2019 and was reportedly worth $33m. This means the projected lost revenue for the IAAF and its agency Dentsu over the next four years will be more than $30m.