Liverpool and Egypt striker Mohamed Salah named Arab Player of the Year

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Mohamed Salah was named Arab Player of the Year for 2017 on Monday in a poll of around 100 sports journalists from several Arab countries.

Salah, 25, has been an instant success at Liverpool since joining from AS Roma, scoring 17 goals in the Premier League already and 23 in all competitions.

He also helped Egypt to qualify for this year’s World Cup finals in Russia.

Syrian winger Omar Khribin, who plays for Al-Hilal in Saudi Arabia, came second and another Syrian player, Omar Al-Soma, of Saudi side Al Ahli, was third.

Salah is also favourite to win the African Player of the Year title which will be announced in the Ghanaian capital Accra on Thursday.

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Pep Guardiola admits he's worried about Man City's fight on four fronts

Andy Hampson 31/12/2017
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Pep Guardiola admits even he is unsure how to juggle the demands of challenging in four competitions.

Guardiola’s Manchester City are enjoying a remarkable season, sitting with a 13-point lead at the top of the Premier League – with a game in hand – and having eased into the last 16 of the Champions League.

They also face Bristol City in the Carabao Cup semi-finals in January after beginning their challenge in the FA Cup at home to Burnley next weekend.

Guardiola has proved throughout his career he can deliver, having won 21 trophies during his spells in charge of Barcelona and Bayern Munich, but this situation is a new test for him.

The City boss said: “I am worried about that. Four competitions – I don’t know if we will be able to do that.

“The schedule – you have to be careful. I am worried because we cannot play every three days.

“We cannot play Kevin De Bruyne every three days 80 minutes, 80 minutes. He needs to be refreshed to help in the last part of the season.

“I have never before been in this situation. Three competitions I have handled many times, but four never. And the fourth is double games (two legs), and extra time. We are going to see how we handle that situation.”

In City’s favour, however, is not only the form that has seen them lose just one of 29 games in all competitions, but a team spirit as good as anything Guardiola has experienced elsewhere.

The squad’s togetherness was in evidence after City’s recent derby victory over Manchester United, their late winner against Southampton last month and the Carabao Cup penalty shootout success at Leicester.

Guardiola says these celebrations are only part of the story, however.

Asked if the spirit compared favourably to Barca and Bayern, Guardiola said: “Definitely, and not just the team – the staff.

“Every day I say thank you for my physios and doctors – people like that. They are involved. They support, encourage the players and we all move forward. I cannot do it alone. They help me.

“The team spirit, people speak about how we celebrate the goals, that is simple to see but that is not the real situation where it happens. The real situations are how the players who are not playing celebrate, how they are warming up, how they are on the bench, in the locker room, every day, not just after the games.

“You can ask other managers when they have success, when they win titles. Always they have in common the group is strong. Not 11 players, the group.

“Everybody wants to win, everybody dreams to do that. When that happens everything can happen.”

City face Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on New year’s Eve bidding to win their 19th Premier League game in succession.

Provided by Press Association Sport

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Nike leak Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho's move to Barcelona

David Cooper 31/12/2017
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Nike have seemingly jumped the gun in announcing Barcelona’s acquisition of Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho.

The sportswear giant and Barcelona apparel sponsor advertised customisation of the 2017/18 kit using the Brazilian on their online store.

The caption read: “Philippe Coutinho is ready to light up Camp Nou. Get your 2017-18 FC Barcelona kit with the Magician’s name on it. Act fast – free personalisation only available until 6 January.”

Nike later deleted the page and no further comment has been made with many left wondering if it was a PR blunder or online hacking.

Coutinho is widely expected to join the Catalan giants having failed to complete a switch in the summer.

A bid of £115million was turned down by Liverpool but reports have suggested their stance is softening as Barca prepare another bid in January.

The 25-year-old has been in stunning form since handing in a summer transfer request, scoring seven Premier League goals and adding a further six assists.

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