Will Cristiano Ronaldo still be at Juventus next season?

Ronaldo's future appears to depend on Juve's Champions League participation.

Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain loom large for the Portuguese superstar.

 

TOP STORY – MAN UTD OR PSG FOR RONALDO?

Cristiano Ronaldo is weighing up whether to return to Manchester United or join Paris Saint-Germain if Juventus fail to qualify for the Champions League next season, according to Tuttosport.

Ronaldo's future has dominated headlines amid speculation the five-time Ballon d'Or winner is set to leave Serie A giants Juve at the end of the current campaign.

Initially linked with Real Madrid, Ronaldo is reportedly eyeing either United or PSG in order to play in the Champions League.

 

ROUND-UP

- Fabrizio Romano reports RB Leipzig head coach Julian Nagelsmann is set to replace Hansi Flick at Bayern Munich. Despite interest from Tottenham and other clubs, Nagelsmann has agreed a five-year contract with the Bundesliga champions, who must negotiate a fee with Leipzig.

Raphael Varane wants to leave Madrid amid links with Chelsea, United and PSG, claims Diario AS. The France international defender is contracted to the Santiago Bernabeu until next season but Madrid are believed to be willing to cash in on Varane as they look to fund moves for PSG's Kylian Mbappe and Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland, who has also been linked with Liverpool, United, Manchester City, Juve, Bayern and Barcelona.

- Manchester Evening News says United are interested in Slavia Prague's 21-year-old forward Abdallah Sima.

- The Sun reports England centre-back John Stones is in advanced talks with Premier League leaders City over a new five-year contract.

- Antonio Conte is dreaming of prising Udinese star Rodrigo De Paul to Inter, says Calciomercato. The Argentina international has also been linked with Napoli and Leeds United.

A week on from the drama, controversy and anger surrounding the European Super League, it felt like football – rather than its potential ruin – was at the front of the agenda this weekend.

However, the spectre of the Super League continued to loom over much of the action, with many of the so-called "big six" seeing it used as a stick to beat them with as they largely stuttered to underwhelming results.

Of those in league action over the weekend (Manchester City beat Tottenham in the EFL Cup final), only Chelsea emerged victorious, as Manchester United and Liverpool were held, while Arsenal lost at home to Everton.

Using Opta data, we look at some of the quirky facts from the latest Premier League matches…

Liverpool 1-1 Newcastle United: Reds to join exclusive list?

It was another underwhelming weekend for defending champions Liverpool, as their 1-1 draw at home to struggling Newcastle United saw them lose further ground in the fight for Champions League places.

Jurgen Klopp's men are four points adrift of Chelsea in fourth, after the Blues beat top-four rivals West Ham 1-0 at the London Stadium.

Liverpool have five matches to close the gap otherwise they face the prospect of an ignominious achievement.

Only five times before have the reigning Premier League champions failed to qualify for the Champions League the season after winning the title.

Manchester United were the first in 1994-95, also doing so in 2013-14. The other teams do this were Blackburn Rovers (1995-96), Chelsea (2015-16) and Leicester City (2016-17).

Wolves 0-4 Burnley: Wood and New Zealand join the United Nations of hat-tricks

Chris Wood enjoyed a weekend to remember as he netted his first Premier League hat-trick in Burnley's 4-0 win over Wolves.

In doing so, he became the first New Zealand national to score a treble in the competition, meaning there have been hat-tricks scored by 46 countries in the Premier League.

New Zealand has joined Gabon, South Korea, Venezuela, DR Congo, Japan, Israel, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Paraguay, Iceland, Sweden, Costa Rica and Serbia on one.

England, unsurprisingly, leads the way with 154 hat-tricks from 69 individuals. Joint second with 18 each are Netherlands and Argentina, while France (17) and Spain (11) are the only other countries into double figures.

Leeds United 0-0 Manchester United: 'Boring, boring Man United'

Fans expecting a repeat of Manchester United's 6-2 thrashing of Leeds United will have been sorely disappointed, not just with the 0-0 draw, but also given it was a fairly drab encounter.

Sure, United have excited on occasion this season, that previous win over Leeds and the 9-0 demolition of Southampton immediately coming to mind.

But Sunday's stalemate was United's seventh 0-0 draw of the season, more than any other team in the Premier League.

On top of that, 2020-21 has now seen United play out more goalless draws than any other Premier League season.

They previously played out six in 2004-05 and 2016-17, but 2020-21 now leads the way.

West Ham 0-1 Chelsea: Tuchel's at home on the road

Thomas Tuchel has made a fine impression at Chelsea since replacing Frank Lampard in January. The achievements seem to be piling up.

Chelsea's latest win saw them leave London rivals West Ham with a 1-0 win that moved them back into the top four at the expense of David Moyes' boys.

As such, he became the first Chelsea manager to avoid defeat in his first 10 away games across all competitions.

The previous club record was set by William Lewis over 100 years ago in 1906-07, when they went nine unbeaten on the road.

Tuchel also matched the record set by Luiz Felipe Scolari for the number of clean sheets (10) in his first 14 Premier League matches.

What's even more impressive about that is it's a league record, rather than just relevant to Chelsea.

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insisted his team will not be impacted by protests against the club's owners and the European Super League ahead of a defining week at Old Trafford.

Solskjaer's Red Devils were held to a 0-0 draw by rivals Leeds United in Premier League action at Elland Road on Sunday.

The pre-match build-up had been centred on the Super League controversy, which has fuelled an already negative view on Manchester United's owners – the Glazer family.

The breakaway competition, which sought to establish a closed-shop competition featuring 12 of the continent's elite clubs – including United – collapsed 48 hours after its launch, in the face of widespread opposition.

United fans have continued to protest against the Glazer family, with a plane trailing a banner – "2bn stolen – Glazers out' – flying over Elland Road prior to kick-off on Sunday.

As United look ahead to Thursday's opening leg of their Europa League semi-final against Roma, followed by a showdown against bitter rivals Liverpool on Sunday, Solskjaer was asked if the protests would distract the players for the remainder of the season.

"I'm really happy with the boys' focus. They have such a determination to finish the season strong," Solskjaer told reporters as United sit second in the Premier League, 10 points behind leaders Manchester City and 13 points clear of sixth-placed Liverpool.

"Of course, the European disappointment of the last game of last season [against Sevilla in the Europa League], that still sticks in their minds and hearts.

"We're very, very focused to do well against Roma [UEL semi-final] and, of course, we've got Liverpool in between so we're not worried about [the protests] at all."

United are unbeaten in their last 24 Premier League away games (W15 D9), with only Arsenal between April 2003 and September 2004 (27) having a longer such run in English top-flight history.

"It's a really good achievement, no matter if there's fans or no fans," Solskjaer said. "With the 24 game [streak] without defeat, I think the players have prepared well for these games. We travel, the work by the coaches for every game is really, really good and planned down to a tee.

"I've got to say, we hope it continues because we've got a lot of big games coming up. We want to take as many points as possible."

United are on track to finish second this season, with the Red Devils eight points clear of Leicester City – who have a match in hand.

However, United's wait for Premier League glory is set to continue, having not hoisted the trophy aloft since 2012-13.

"We've taken baby steps in the way we play, in the way we train, in the fitness," added Solskjaer. "The coaches, the work that has been done on the training ground has been planned. We have been able to put down layer by layer by layer, as I said, and now we feel confident going into every game, trusting our way of playing.

"That's a big thing for us, knowing that whoever we play against, we have our own way of dealing with the opponent. Of course, there's little tweaks here and there but with an addition or two, we'll keep on strengthening this squad and keep on training hard.

"I've not seen many teams, in the second half, dominate as much as we did against Leeds. They're so fit, strong, they steam roller teams but we almost did that to them in the second half."

United have drawn seven league games nil-nil this season – only in 1980-81 (eight) have they been involved in more goalless draws in a single league campaign. The Red Devils have the most goalless draws of any side in the Premier League this term.

"Compared to last season, we've won a few more tight games," said Solskjaer. "We've won many games towards the end of the game, I think our fitness has been really good. Second half, we looked strong, like athletes. I really liked what I saw out there. We dominated, played in their half, kept them away from our goal, or even from our half really.

"So really happy with that but today we just didn't have the moments, we didn't take them when we had them. A draw is disappointing because we wanted to put pressure on Manchester City, but unfortunately we couldn't score."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer felt a dominant Manchester United performance just lacked a cutting edge in Sunday's 0-0 draw with Leeds United.

The Red Devils had won the reverse fixture 6-2 at Old Trafford back in December but there was to be no repeat of that high-scoring affair in the April sunshine at Elland Road.

A Marcus Rashford free-kick forced a smart save out of Illan Meslier in the first half, while Bruno Fernandes dragged a glorious opportunity wide not long after the interval.

The visitors had 16 attempts but managed to get just four on target, meaning a five-match winning run in the Premier League ground to a halt, pushing Manchester City a step closer to the title.

"I thought we played well. I thought we played really well," Solskjaer told Sky Sports after a seventh goalless draw in the league this season - only in 1980-81 have the club been involved in more.

"In the second half, I thought we dominated. We didn't really give any chances away, just didn't have the ball fall for us correctly. We had some decent chances but, unfortunately, couldn't take them.

"When two teams meet, you create problems and you solve problems. The opposition gives you things to think about and I think also we made them adjust to us, and we had to adjust to them because they are a unique team.

"I thought we did that really well. We put a really big shift down, worked hard. So many times I've seen Leeds run over teams in the second half, but I thought it was quite the opposite for us.

"Up until the last 18 yards, that's where we stopped. The quality, or the decision-making, let us down.

"Of course we are disappointed that we don't get three points, but I think the boys know they put a shift down and they really have a lot of respect for how Leeds play, plus the results they have had lately."

Leeds were restricted to only six shots in the match, their joint-fewest in a league game at Elland Road under Marcelo Bielsa.

The result also sees Solskjaer's squad extend their unbeaten league run on the road to 24 games, just three shy of Arsenal's record top-flight run of 27 between April 2003 and September 2004.

Manchester United are next in action on Thursday, hosting Roma at Old Trafford in the first leg of the Europa League semi-final.

Manchester United saw a five-match winning run in the Premier League come to a halt as they had to settle for a 0-0 draw at Leeds United on Sunday.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side had been far too hot for their trans-Pennine rivals to handle in the December meeting at Old Trafford, Scott McTominay scoring twice inside the opening three minutes in a stunning 6-2 triumph.

However, a first league trip to Elland Road since October 2003 failed to provide anywhere near the same level of drama and excitement.

The Red Devils do extend their unbeaten away run in the Premier League to 24 games – Arsenal's domestic top-flight record of 27 is well within their sights – but the draw leaves them 10 points behind leaders Manchester City, who could now clinch the title as soon as next weekend.

Angus Kinnear provided more entertainment in his programme notes than a tepid first half played out in pleasant late-April sunshine, Leeds' CEO having heavily criticising the "self-proclaimed big six" of English football for their involvement in the breakaway European Super League.

Illan Meslier reacted quickly to turn away a powerfully struck Marcus Rashford free-kick, while the only attempt on target for the hosts before the interval saw Stuart Dallas shoot straight at Dean Henderson.

Leeds felt a penalty should have been awarded when a Jack Harrison cross struck Luke Shaw on the arm, but a check by video assistant referee Mike Dean ruled it not to be deliberate.

Bruno Fernandes – closely watched for much of the game by Kalvin Phillips – dragged an attempt wide of the target following good work by Aaron Wan-Bissaka as the visitors showed greater urgency after the interval.

Edinson Cavani was introduced late on to bolster the attack but there was no breakthrough, Leeds again showing they can compete with those connected to the failed Super League having previously drawn at home this season with Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and champions-elect City.

Leeds United CEO Angus Kinnear has heavily criticised the "self-proclaimed big six" in the Premier League for their involvement in a breakaway European competition, branding the "deeply cynical" plan a betrayal of every true football supporter.

Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham were all part of a 12-club group that launched the Super League last Sunday.

The proposal included the agreement that the six English clubs, as well as fellow founding members Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Inter, Juventus, Milan and Real Madrid, would qualify each year for the competition, regardless of performances in their domestic leagues.

However, a widespread backlash led to the collapse of the competition inside 48 hours of the initial announcement. The Premier League contingent all withdrew on Tuesday, though UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has made clear there will still be consequences for getting involved.

Ahead of hosting Manchester United at Elland Road on Sunday, Kinnear lambasted Leeds' domestic rivals in his programme notes.

"The fact that the whole Leeds fan-base has been united by the brilliantly impassioned words of Gary Neville illustrates how desperate the plight of European football became this week," Kinnear wrote.

"A fortnight ago we left the Etihad with an instinct that Manchester City didn't take well to being humbled by lowly Leeds United, but we could never have predicted that it would be the catalyst for them creating their own league where they would never have to be inconvenienced with the spectre of on-pitch failure again.

"The audacity of a resurgent Leeds United, an ambitious Aston Villa, a brilliantly managed Leicester City, a Champions League-bound West Ham United and an Everton with bold stadium plans have clearly overwhelmed the self-proclaimed 'big six'.

"The timing of their plan combined with the turmoil of a global pandemic was not coincidental, it was deeply cynical, and the clandestine plotting of fellow Premier League shareholders made it all the more seditious.

"Whether the collective intent was a genuine move to breakaway or the act of playground bullies seeking negotiating leverage at European and domestic level by threatening to take their ball home is irrelevant. The result was a betrayal of every true football supporter. However, this astonishing ingordigiousness has been the unexpected catalyst of creating a furious unity across nations, leagues, players, owners and fans.

"I was proud to see Leeds United and Liverpool supporters stand shoulder to shoulder in protest before a game which once again showed we are already in a Super League and making it all the more bizarre that, in the world envisioned by Liverpool's ownership, the same fixture would have been a meaningless dead rubber."

Fans protested outside Elland Road on Monday ahead of Leeds' home fixture with Liverpool – a game that finished 1-1 after Diego Llorente dented the visitors' top-four hopes with a late equaliser.

The hosts had warmed up prior to the game wearing shirts that read "Earn it" – in reference to the Reds' bid to qualify for the Champions League – and "Football is for the fans". There was also a sign saying the same stationed behind one of the goals inside the stadium.

Speculation is beginning to grow around the vacant Tottenham coaching position after Jose Mourinho's exit last week.

Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy is on the hunt as Spurs try to return to England's top echelon.

Spurs appear set to miss out on Champions League football for the second straight season.

 

TOP STORY – SPURS PLOT RODGERS SWOOP

Tottenham are planning a move to recruit Brendan Rodgers from Leicester City as their new head coach this off-season according to The Sun.

Levy is a long-time admirer of the former Liverpool coach although he reportedly needs to convince his fellow Spurs board executives after disparaging comments Rodgers made about the club years ago.

Rodgers has been in charge of Leicester since 2019 with the Foxes firmly in the hunt for a top four finish this term.

 

ROUND-UP

- Borussia Monchengladbach forward Alassane Plea is being tracked by Premier League pair Arsenal and Manchester United claims the Mail.

- Inter Milan are interested in outgoing Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero, but Barcelona remain favourites to land him reports Tuttosport.

- The Sun reports Manchester United could make a surprise move for 35-year-old goalkeeper Tom Heaton who spent time with the club as a youngster and is currently back-up at Aston Villa.

- Ajax are ready to sell full-back Nicolas Tagliafico as his admirers circle, including Leeds United, Inter Milan and Manchester City according to the Mail.

Alex Ferguson was manager and Michael Owen scored twice when Paul Pogba was handed his Manchester United debut at Leeds United, where on Sunday he could make a 200th appearance for the club.

It was September 20 2011 when Pogba made that first Red Devils senior outing. It came in an EFL Cup tie at Elland Road, Pogba coming off the bench to replace Ryan Giggs as the visitors scorched to a 3-0 victory.

United are back at Elland Road on Sunday for their first Premier League clash at Leeds since October 2003, and Pogba will complete a double century of matches for the club should he be selected by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Pogba said: "Obviously, it's a great achievement for me, playing against Leeds, I know the history with Leeds and I know it's going to be a good game. And, for me, 200 you say? I'm surprised. I didn't know."

In a question-and-answer session with fans for the United website, Pogba added: "I remember I started, playing my first game was against Leeds, and now it's 200 so it's kind of beautiful for an achievement. And the most important thing, I hope, I really hope that we win my 200th game."

Pogba's first-team career with United at one stage looked to be over almost as soon as it started, as he left at the end of that 2011-12 season to join Juventus, with Ferguson accusing the then youngster of showing a lack of respect.

Four years later, Pogba returned to Old Trafford, and there have been ups and downs since. His relationship with Jose Mourinho appeared to badly deteriorate before the manager was sacked in December 2018, and Pogba last week reflected on how he got on much better with Solskjaer than with the Portuguese.

Pogba has scored five goals and had six assists this season from 35 games, well down on his career best of 16 goals and 11 assists in 47 games in the 2018-19 season.

However, last season he contributed only one goal and three assists in 22 matches, so the World Cup winner at least seems to have turned a corner.

Across his 199 games to date for the club, Pogba has scored 37 goals and had 39 assists.

Pogba is a Muslim and is following the customs of Ramadan, the month of prayer and reflection which runs until mid-May.

Muslims who are able to are encouraged to fast during daylight hours, and Pogba says he can remain physically strong enough to keep playing at his best during the period.

"I would say now I'm just getting used to it," he said. "I've been doing it for years. I have a professional nutritionist as well here, who helps me with what I have to eat and also when I train, he gives me some stuff, some protein, so I don't lose too much muscle and it's okay.

"I'm lucky. It's not that hot, you know, so I can deal with it. It's not that hard, you know. It's okay and it's for a good cause so it's good."

As they prepare to head to West Yorkshire, United have good recent memories of facing Leeds, having won the reverse fixture 6-2 at Old Trafford in December. Only twice in the Premier League have they done the double over Leeds (1996-97 and 1999-00).

Manchester United are "definitely" hunting Arsenal's Premier League record streak of unbeaten away matches, according to Fred.

The 3-1 win at Tottenham earlier this month moved United onto 23 games on the road without defeat.

That put Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men level with the Gunners' run from 2001-02, but still five games short of overtaking the north London club's spell from 2003-04.

On Sunday the Red Devils will put their proud record on the line again with a trip to rivals Leeds United, a side they beat 6-2 at Old Trafford in December.

Asked if setting a new landmark was on United's radar, Fred told the club's official website: "Definitely, we look at the numbers that are so important in football these days.

"We'll aim to do our best in the games... we always do that anyway, give our all with one game coming after another.

"We're on a great run of form away from home. We've been winning, it's a great run, I hope we can keep up this winning run away from home until the end of the season.

"I also hope we can improve our home form, we've already improved a lot since the start of the season. I think we can continue on this run and finish the season really well."

The December meeting between the sides in Manchester was their first in the league for over 16 years, but for Leeds it swiftly turned into a nightmare as Scott McTominay became the first player in Premier League history to score twice in the first three minutes of a match.

That was just the tip of the iceberg, however, as Leeds went on to concede four goals in the first half of a Premier League fixture for the first time, Bruno Fernandes and Victor Lindelof increasing the lead before Liam Cooper pulled one back just before the break.

Although it was the first occasion a Marcelo Bielsa team had conceded six goals in a game since 1992 and the first time United had scored so many since an 8-2 win over Arsenal in August 2011, United still allowed Leeds 17 attempts.

Sunday's clash will be United's first league visit to Elland Road since October 2003, when the visitors snatched a 1-0 win – they have not won successive league games at Leeds since 1976.

Between 2003 and 2009, Cristiano Ronaldo won three Premier League titles and the Champions League among other honours at Manchester United.

Ronaldo has since gone on to play for Real Madrid and Juventus, but he could be set for an Old Trafford reunion.

Watch this space…

 

TOP STORY – UNITED MAKE RONALDO CONTACT

Manchester United have made contact with Cristiano Ronaldo's agent Jorge Mendes over a return to Old Trafford, according to the front page of Friday's Gazzetta dello Sport.

Juventus superstar Ronaldo has been tipped to leave Turin, where he arrived in 2018, amid links with former clubs United and Real Madrid, as well as Paris Saint-Germain.

Ronaldo, who starred for United between 2003 and 2009, would have to take a wage cut in order to make a Manchester reunion a reality.

 

ROUND-UP

- Diario AS claims Madrid are willing to sell Raphael Varane in order to raise transfer funds amid strong links with Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland and PSG star Kylian Mbappe. Varane has been linked with United and Chelsea.

- Staying at the Santiago Bernabeu, and AS says the future of captain Sergio Ramos looks less likely to be at Madrid. The likes of United and PSG have emerged as possible destinations for the superstar Spain skipper.

Barcelona are prioritising the signing of Lyon captain Memphis Depay, reports RMC Sport. Juventus have also been linked.

Rodrigo De Paul is wanted by Leeds United, Juve, Inter and Napoli, according to Calciomercato. Juve have been eyeing the Udinese star, but the Italian giants are also weighing up moves for United's Paul Pogba and Sassuolo midfielder Manuel Locatelli.

Fred does not believe Manchester United were even at their best in December's remarkable 6-2 thrashing of Leeds United as he fired a warning ahead of a rematch of what he calls an "English football Clasico".

United and Leeds were once party to one of the fiercest rivalries in British football, but it took a backseat to the Red Devils' other major matches after the Yorkshire club were relegated from the Premier League in 2004.

The December meeting at Old Trafford was their first in the league for over 16 years, but for Leeds it swiftly turned into a nightmare as Scott McTominay became the first player in Premier League history to score twice in the first three minutes of a match.

That was just the tip of the iceberg, however, as Leeds went on to concede four goals in the first half of a Premier League fixture for the first time, Bruno Fernandes and Victor Lindelof increasing the lead before Liam Cooper pulled one back.

Fernandes converted a penalty in the second half shortly after Daniel James netted, with Stuart Dallas' goal at the other end scant consolation.

Although it was the first occasion a Marcelo Bielsa team had conceded six goals in a game since 1992 and the first time United had scored so many since an 8-2 win over Arsenal in August 2011, United still allowed Leeds 17 attempts.

"I don't know if it was our best performance of the season, [but] 6-2 was a great result of course," Fred told United's official website. "I think we've had better performances this season.

"Scott's two goals very early on helped us to control the game, but they're very difficult opponents playing with such high intensity, they're very strong and always looking to attack.

"We're prepared for this, we know how they play and we'll aim to be at our very best to get the win."

Ordinarily United would be entitled to a rather frosty reception at Elland Road, though the absence of fans amid the coronavirus pandemic means they will avoid the worst of it.

Fred is certainly familiar with such occasions as a veteran of several 'Grenal' matches between Gremio and Internacional, a match that in December was ranked as the eighth biggest derby in world football.

"Definitely, it's an English football Clasico," he said of fixtures between United and Leeds. "We get a feel for this anticipation from social media.

"The fans are excited about this game, as are we of course. We haven't had a midweek game this week, so the anticipation for the next game increases and it's a derby game against a massive rival.

"It'll be a really tough game but we'll be preparing well for it this week."

Sunday's clash will be United's first visit to Elland Road since October 2003, a 1-0 win – they have not won successive league games at Leeds since 1976.

Nevertheless, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men are unbeaten away from home in the top flight for over a year, a run consisting of 23 games.

The European Super League will bring "harm to football" and those involved are risking alienating the lifeblood of the sport – the fans.

That is the view of Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa, who launched a scathing attack on plans for a breakaway league after Leeds held member club Liverpool to a 1-1 draw on Monday.

Sunday's announcement was met with a huge backlash from supporters, governing bodies, non-member clubs, players, ex-professionals and pundits.

UEFA has threatened sanctions against the 12 clubs who have thus far signed up to the scheme, with Liverpool among them.

Reds boss Jurgen Klopp suggested he was no fan of the proposals, saying he would "try to help to sort it", while midfielder James Milner was more direct in his criticism, declaring: "I don't like it and hopefully it doesn't happen."

Bielsa then lent his voice to the chorus of disapproval as he lamented the greed and self-interest of the clubs spearheading the project.

"Of course it causes harm to football," he said. "This shouldn't surprise any of us.

"The stronger teams, these powerful teams think they have most influence and are generating most of the revenue in football.

"Taking into account this logic, when the rest of the teams are no longer necessary for them, they take privilege in their own interest and forget the rest.

"There are structures that should put limits on the excesses of the big teams. This was inevitable.

"The organisations could have anticipated these excesses and they could have avoided it. This shouldn't surprise us because this happens in all walks of life.

"Of course there are different teams, more important than others but they should be conscious of the needs of each other.

"But because football has a view that is always more commercial now, it is natural that in the world of businesses, looking only at the economic aspect, they demand the majority of it.

"Football belongs to everybody, even if there are owners, the real owners of football are the ones who love the badge and without them football will disappear."

Jurgen Klopp pledged to "help sort" the damaging fallout of Liverpool and 11 other clubs announcing a breakaway European Super League.

Klopp's side were held to a 1-1 draw against Leeds United on Monday at Elland Road, with Diego Llorente's late equaliser cancelling out Sadio Mane's first-half opener and preventing them from edging into the top four above West Ham on goal difference.

What a Champions League qualifying spot might mean for Liverpool within a rapidly changing wider context is open for debate and Klopp fielded questions on the Super League and the vitriolic response it has triggered before and after the game.

During a Sky Sports post-match interview, Klopp said: "I understand all the talks around and I don't like it as well" before delving into somewhat tangential criticism of Gary Neville.

However, at a subsequent news conference, Klopp insisted his opposition to the Super League would not lead to him walking away from Anfield, where he feels he has a duty of care to the players and supporters.

"I'm here as a football coach and a manager. I will do that as long as people let me do that," he said.

"It's not a situation… I heard that today I would resign or whatever. Times get even tougher, that makes me even more sticky that I stay here.

"I feel responsible for the team, I feel responsible for the club and I feel responsible for the relationship that we have with our fans.

"That's why. It's a very tough time, I'm sure. But I will try to help to sort it."

Klopp said he still believed Liverpool's Boston-based owners Fenway Sports Group were "reasonable people" but stated he had been left in the dark over talk about a Super League that has been derided as a closed shop and anti-competitive.

"I am six years in the club, round about. I know the owners. They are serious people, reasonable people and they care about us," he said.

"But they never have to explain these decisions to me or ask for permission. I was not involved in the process at all, I got information yesterday.

"Nobody knows what will happen but the team has nothing to do with it and I have not really anything to do with it, but people treat us like that.

"Leeds supporters came here tonight to shout at us. This afternoon when we were having a walk in the city people shouted at us. We have nothing to do with it."

Klopp added: "We are employees of the club and I feel responsible for a lot of things in this club. If I am involved in things then I take the criticism easily. The boys as well.

"But we are not involved in this. It's a tough one at the moment – pundits talking about the club and stuff like this. This club is bigger than all of us, we should not forget that."

Diego Llorente headed home a late equaliser to give Leeds United a 1-1 draw and check Liverpool's Champions League qualification hopes – at least insofar as such an ambition can still be understood.

The build-up to Monday's clash was dominated by fallout from the announcement of a deeply controversial European Super League, of which Liverpool are set to be one of 12 founder members.

Jurgen Klopp restated his opposition to such a project before kick-off and, as Leeds fans protested outside the ground, their players warmed up in shirts demanding Liverpool "earn" a Champions League spot.

Mane's smart first-half finish did some of the work towards that aim but Spain defender Llorente notched his first Leeds goal three minutes from time to prevent the Reds from edging above West Ham on goal difference.

UEFA being on an apparent war footing against the dissident dozen means the Reds moving into the top four would have been moot development in any case.

Jurgen Klopp expressed his support for "competitive football" but urged Liverpool's players and fans to be united as opposition to the proposed European Super League mounts.

Liverpool were one of 12 clubs included in an announcement on Sunday for a breakaway competition featuring some of Europe's elite teams, including all of the Premier League's 'big six'.

Condemnation of the project has been vitriolic and near-universal throughout football, while Klopp himself has previously voiced opposition when such proposals were mooted.

The Liverpool manager maintained that stance in defiance of his club's owners ahead of Monday's Premier League match against Leeds United, but he bridled at reports of fans removing banners from Anfield and the hosts warming up at Elland Road with shirts reading "Earn it" – in reference to the Reds' bid to qualify for the Champions League – and "Football is for the fans".

"I'm 53 years old and since I was a professional player the Champions League was there, I think. It was not possible as a player, but as a manager the aim was always to coach a team there," he told Sky Sports, whose pre-match coverage featured a sustained assault on the Super League plans from pundits Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher.

"I obviously have no issues with the Champions League, I like the competitive fact of football as well. I like the fact that West Ham may play Champions League football next year, I don't want them to, to be honest, because we want to do that, but I like that they have the chance.

"What can I say, it's really not easy. Liverpool Football Club is much more than some decisions and the most important part of football is the supporters and the team. We have to make sure that really nothing gets in between that.

"I have heard we have pulled banners down at Anfield and I don't understand that because the players didn't do anything wrong. We didn't win all the games, but we go with everything. We want to qualify for the Champions League next year. We need to stick together.

"When other people from other clubs use our anthem [You'll Never Walk Alone] against us, I don't like it as well. We can show that nobody has to walk alone in these moments. There are things that we have to sort, obviously, but it has nothing to do with the relationship between the supporters and the team – that, for me, is really important.

"In tough times, you have to show that you really stick together. That doesn't mean that you agree to everything, but – again – the boys didn't do anything wrong apart from not winning all the games. I really want to make sure everyone knows that."

On Monday, UEFA announced its own plans for an expanded 36-team Champions League format, another development that wearies Klopp.

"I know some things will change in football, I know some things have to change, for sure," he said. "The power, where it is at is not quite right.

"UEFA cannot just decide things, FIFA cannot just decide things, everybody plans more competitions. UEFA showed me [the Champions League plans] few months ago and I told them there are more games, so I don't like it.

"For the [Super League] clubs it's about money, but what do you think for UEFA it's about? FIFA wants the Club World Cup whenever that should be, but that's about money, nothing else.

"It's not only these clubs, things will change, some things have to change.

"One thing I can understand that the people think is not right is the competitiveness. I get that. I said that before."

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