Klopp defends benching Sturridge after Tottenham draw

The manager believes he made the right call in leaving the England international out of his first XI, while claiming he received little help from match officials

Jurgen Klopp felt Liverpool’s performance in the 1-1 Premier League draw at Tottenham vindicated his decision not to start with Daniel Sturridge.

England striker Sturridge suggested displeasure at being deployed in a wide attacking role during Tuesday’s 5-0 EFL Cup win at Burton Albion.

And he was restricted to a late substitute cameo at White Hart Lane after Danny Rose cancelled out James Milner’s first-half penalty for the visitors.

“I picked him – last 10 minutes,” Klopp told BBC Match of the Day.

“If you want to you can always talk to me about players who didn’t start.

“You saw this was not the worst decision, this line-up. And then you have to change again in the game.

“We brought him [in], maybe a little bit too late. Unfortunately we didn’t have the ball long enough to bring his quality [in to the game].”

GOALREAD MORE  | Liverpool waste chance to whip Spurs

Klopp was very pleased with how his players acquitted themselves in north London but felt they might have had a touch more assistance from the officials.

A marginal offside call went against Adam Lallana when Sadio Mane briefly appeared to have made it 2-0 after half-time, while Klopp was frustrated to see referee Robert Madley give Jan Vertonghen the benefit of the doubt over the division’s current hot-button issue when he grappled with Joel Matip before a Liverpool corner.

“In football, against teams like this, you need a little bit of luck. If you [give] offensive advantage, it’s not offside, 100 per cent,” he said of the Lallana decision.

“If you want to give it, you give it. There were three, four times where it was not to our advantage, that’s not too nice.

“But we can’t make anyone [else] responsible for the draw. We need to have more chances. The goal was perfectly played. The ref thinks it’s offside, we can’t change it.”

On the Vertonghen incident, Klopp added: “You have to ask the ref, I don’t understand it. If he waits one second [before intervening] with the whistle, it’s a 100 per cent penalty. Nothing else.

“Whose fault is it? We may have to make the corner quicker so the ref can’t whistle. Ask him what’s the real rule. I have no idea what’s right.

“I would have preferred him to do nothing, wait, watch the situation and then it’s 100 per cent a penalty.”

Napoli 4-2 AC Milan: Milik & Callejon give Sarri's men the win

The Poland international got off the mark for his new side, though they needed the Spaniard to pop up with the winner after the visitors clawed their way back into the game

Napoli got the better of a hectic game against AC Milan on Saturday, winning 4-2 against the nine-man visitors, despite surrendering a two goal lead in the second half.

Arkadiusz Milik had the home side two goals up by half time with his first Serie A goals. The €32 million signing from Ajax opened his account with a scrappy finish from close range before a lovely header extended the lead.

M’Baye Niang pulled a goal back for Milan in the second half, however, taking on a pass and burying it past Pepe Reina.

The Rossoneri were level shortly afterwards thanks to Suso, taking the ball under control and drilling it into the top corner.

However, Callejon came to the rescue for the home side. Dries Mertens’ shot was saved by Donnarumma but the teenager could only spill it into the path of the Spanish striker who made no mistake.

The Rossoneri went a man down shortly afterwards as Juraj Kucka was sent off, only for Niang to follow with another red card, giving Vincenzo Montella’s side no way back into the game.

In fact, things got worse, as Napoli netted a fourth deep in injury time, with Romagnoli getting booked for trying to slap it out of the net.

More to follow

Mourinho worried over Fellaini back injury

The Belgium international played the entire 90 minutes on Saturday, and despite the injury is still scheduled to meet up with his national team-mates for the World Cup qualifiers

Jose Mourinho fears Marouane Fellaini has suffered a “bad” back injury, but maintains the Manchester United midfielder will still join up with the Belgium squad during next week’s international break.

Fellaini completed the entire match as substitute Marcus Rashford gave United a stoppage-time 1-0 win at Hull City to maintain their 100 per cent start to the Premier League season under Mourinho.

But an apparent setback for the 28-year-old midfielder took some of the shine off a hard-fought triumph, with boss Mourinho praising the performance of a player who has rarely enjoyed a high standing with United’s supporters.

“I saw the way Fellaini and the two central defenders controlled everything long, high and short,” Mourinho told a post-match news conference.

GOALREAD MORE  | United have their hunger back

“But I can’t play Fellaini for some time. He has a muscle injury in his back. He will fly [with Belgium] but it is bad.”

Mourinho was happy to see his team battle to a gruelling win on the back of far more straightforward encounters versus Bournemouth and Southampton, and revealed he was forced to put the breaks on a hungry squad earlier this week.

“I was telling them at half-time that on Wednesday on the training ground they were most intense than on the pitch in the first half today,” he explained.

“I had to stop the session. We have a long way to go, we have a lot to improve. We will have ups and downs.”

Real Madrid 2-1 Celta: Morata & Kroos on target as Blancos grab victory

The Germany international left it late to secure three points to keep the club’s incredible winning Liga run going, after Fabian Orellana had levelled with a stunning shot

Toni Kroos made the difference for Real Madrid just 10 minutes from the end to end Celta’s hopes of a share of the points, as the hosts prevailed 2-1 at Santiago Bernabeu. 

A quiet game burst into life in the final 30 minutes, with Alvaro Morata giving Madrid the lead, only for an excellent strike from Fabian Orellana to set up a tense finish.

But Madrid were not to be denied, with Kroos striking from outside the area with just nine minutes left to delight the Santiago Bernabeu.

Following the win, Zinedine ZIdane’s men have six points from their first two games, with title rivals Barcelona facing a testing trip to play Athletic Bilbao on Sunday.

Madrid have now won 14 league matches in a row and will have the chance to match their record of 15 – set in 1961 – when they play Osasuna after the international break.

The home side won last season’s fixture 7-1 in March, but goals were not flowing as freely without injured attacking duo Cristiano Ronaldo – who scored four in that game – and Karim Benzema.

Indeed, it was Celta who could have taken the lead midway through the first half when Theo Bongonda sliced wide from a decent opening.

Zidane’s men upped the pressure as the opening period progressed, with Luka Modric – who had earlier tested Sergio Alvarez – so unlucky not to score after surging forward and seeing a stunning, curling strike bounce away off the crossbar.

Modric forced Alvarez into a good diving save with his third effort, before Gareth Bale headed a good chance wide from Kroos’ corner.

Bale was first to threaten in the second half as his dipping free-kick clipped the top of the bar.

The breakthrough arrived on the hour mark when Alvarez’s poor clearance gave Modric the chance to run into the box and send a pass into the area. The goalkeeper thought he had atoned for his error by saving from Marco Asensio, but Morata was there to smash home the rebound with his left foot.

Morata came so close to a second on the counterattack moments later, seeing his deft shot hit the foot of the post after Kroos had superbly launched the move.

The failure to convert that chance then proved costly after 67 minutes as John Guidetti found Orellana 20 yards out and he picked his spot with curling shot into the far corner.

Substitute James Rodriguez and Marcelo both had penalty appeals denied as Madrid searched for a late winner, while Alvarez got down to keep out Bale’s header.

Just as it looked like Madrid were going to have to settle for a surprise draw, the winner arrived. 

Lucas Vazquez, who had come off the bench, made ground down the right and cut back for Kroos and the Germany international guided a controlled low strike in off the post from 20 yards to keep the streak alive.