Liverpool midfielder Lallana to join Brighton on three year deal

The 32-year-old will say his goodbyes at Melwood after six years on Merseyside, heading south for a fresh challenge in the Premier League

Adam Lallana will join Brighton on a three-year deal following the expiration of his Liverpool poolcontract, with the move set to be confirmed early next week.

Goal can confirm Graham Potter’s side have seen off competition from Leicester’s City, Burnley and Lallana’s former club Southampton among others.

The midfielder’s decision to return to the south coast comes in part due to a convincing pitch from Brighton’s technical director Dan Ashworth.

The Seagulls are 16th in the Premier League going into their final game of the season against Burnley on Sunday, already safe from relegation, and they could rise to 15th if results go their way.

Lallana, 32, has made 178 appearances for Liverpool over the course of six seasons, after Brendan Rodgers signed him from Southampton in 2014.

Part of Jurgen Klopp’s team which reached the finals of the Europa League and League Cup in 2015-16, his first taste of silverware was last season’s Champions League

He also leaves with a Premier League, UEFA Super Cup and Club World Cup treble under his belt.

Klopp is a huge fan of Lallana’s and recently described him as a legend, though the playmaker himself was appropriately modest.

“Maybe he has gone a bit over the top there,” he told Liverpool’s officials website te. “But we are a group of legends, I can definitely see that.

“It’s not due to one or two individuals as why we have been so successful – it really is the infrastructure and the manager has created that.

“He’s recruited, he’s let people go when he’s saw fit or necessary, he’s moulded and created the culture that breeds throughout Melwood now.”

On his departure, Lallana added: “It’s the right time for me to leave. I’m desperate for a new challenge, I’m desperate to play a bit more. I still feel like I’ve got two or three years left at the top.

“It’s more of the relationships that you create and, in a week’s time, I will be somewhere else and not seeing these people that I’ve fought for and fought with over the last six years.

“So that’s where the element of sadness comes, but I’m thoroughly excited by the next challenge and what that will bring.”

Arsenal in for Coutinho but will struggle to afford him

That’s according to Mundo Deportivo in Spain, who report that Coutinho wants a return to the Premier League and Arsenal are the club showing the greatest interest in a move for him. However, they can’t afford to take over his wages in full.

Fabrizio Romano recently reported that Coutinho’s representatives are offering him out to many clubs, but he isn’t close to a move to any of them right now. The only thing that seems certain is that both player and club are keen on a summer transfer.null

For the time being, Coutinho remains with Bayern Munich on loan, waiting for the Champions League in August. MD claim he’s asking his agents to pause their discussions on his future until after the conclusion of the competition.

Coutinho scored nine goals and assisted eight in 34 appearances before the end of the German domestic campaign. He contributed to a goal every 122 minutes, which is more than most Arsenal players can claim this season.

So the question is whether he could keep that up back in the Premier League. Plus, whether Arsenal can afford him even if he can. At the very least, Coutinho would have to take a significant salary cut.

We are not arrogant’ – Klopp hits back at Lampard and says Chelsea manager ‘has to learn

The Liverpool boss has responded to criticism from his Blues counterpart following the Premier League meeting between the two clubs at Anfieldhttps:

Jurgen Klopp has hit back at Frank Lampard after the Chelsea boss warned Liverpool’s coaching staff not to get “arrogant” following their Premier League title win.

Lampard had clashed with Pep Lijnders, Klopp’s assistant, during his side’s 5-3 defeat at Anfield on Wednesday night, and later continued the row in his post-match interview.

He said: “Some of the bench, it’s a fine line between when you are winning – and they’ve won the league, fair play to Liverpool Football Club – but also don’t get too arrogant with it.”

A video later emerged which showed Lampard telling Klopp to “f*ck off”, and the Liverpool  manager was asked about the row at his press conference ahead of the champions’ game with Newcastle this weekend.

Klopp responded: “You cannot hit me and my bench with something like that because we are not arrogant. 

“Frank was obviously in a really competitive mood and I respect that a lot. From my point of view in this sort of situation you can say pretty much what you want. For me, after the game it is completely over. 

“I said a lot in the past because it is pure emotion. He came here to win the game or get a point, to make Champions League qualification, and I respect that a lot. But what he has to learn is to finish it with the final whistle and he didn’t do that. 

“Speaking afterwards about it like this, that’s not okay, Frank has to learn this and he has a lot of time to learn as he is a young coach but that is what he has to learn. 

“During the game, the words used were no problem at all but after final whistle? No.

“We are not arrogant, we are pretty much the opposite. But in a moment like this in an argument you want to say something to hurt the other person. I have no problem with that but at the final whistle close the book. He didn’t do that and that is what I don’t like. 

“And by the way, the reason I speak now about it – because otherwise there would be no words from me – but because he spoke after about it, I feel the need to explain!”

Asked if there had been a particular moment during his career where he had learned not to keep an argument with a fellow manager going after the final whistle, Klopp said:  “I don’t remember but probably, yes! 

“I really don’t know. I respect all the other coaches. When you have a little look at yourself and know how outraged you can be in different situations – because we all have our own subjective view on a situation: foul, no foul, handball, and you feel that it’s not fair and you feel you cannot wait until after the game. That happens. 

“Probably I had it but I don’t remember. During the game for sure, after the game I don’t remember.”

Lampard, for his part, explained his side of the story in his own press conference ahead of Chelsea’s game with Wolves.

The Blues boss said: “I think in terms of the language I used, I do regret that, because I think these things get replayed a lot on social media. I’ve got two young daughters who are on social media, so I do regret that.

“In terms of regretting having passion to defend my team, no, I could have maybe handled it slightly differently, to keep that language in.

“But what I felt was, and I want to be clear about this actually, that some of the reports were that I was upset with the celebrating of the Liverpool team.

“Far from it, I think Liverpool should celebrate as much as they want with the season they’ve had, they can celebrate like they did after the game, like they can celebrate every goal they score, like they celebrated when they won the league a month ago, and like they are talking they will celebrate one more time with their fans.

“I would have had a beer with Jurgen Klopp after the game and toasted the performance of what they’ve done this year. But there were things on the line I didn’t like from their bench, not Klopp, people behind the bench, which I felt crossed the line, and that’s what got me agitated.

“But it’s done, it’s done. Emotions run high, and amongst most managers, players and fans in this game. As I say, I regret the language, and we move on.”

We knew we’d keep winning without Ronaldo’ – Real Madrid believed trophy drought wouldn’t last, says Modric

The Croatian midfielder was not surprised that the Blancos were able to win back the La Liga crown from Barcelona in 2019-20https://tpc.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

Real Madrid knew their recent trophy drought would not last and that they would keep winning without Cristiano Ronaldo, says Luka Modric.

The Blancos were crowned champions of Spain for the 34th time following their 2-1 victory over Villarreal at Santiago Bernabeu last week.

Zinedine Zidane’s men picked up the title for the first time since 2017, and ultimately finished five points clear of arch-rivals Barcelona at the top of the table.

Madrid won three consecutive European Cups and one La Liga crown during Zidane’s first spell in charge, with the club’s all-time record scorer Ronaldo spearheading the attack.

However, the French head coach left his post in 2018, while the Portuguese superstar completed a big-money move to Juventus.

The Blancos endured a miserable transitional season following the pair’s departure, which saw them fail to land a single trophy while coming a disappointing third in La Liga.

Zidane returned to steady the ship in March 2019, and Madrid gradually rediscovered their best form, but Modric insists he never doubted that the glory days would return to the Bernabeu.

Asked whether Ronaldo’s exit affected the winning mentality within the squad, the Madrid midfielder told Sportske Novosti : ” It is not necessary to discuss how important Cristiano was for Real Madrid.

“But I must say that we were not overwhelmed by the fact that he was not there in the sense that we could not have the same ambitions.

“We were convinced that we would continue to win without him.”

Modric added on Zidane’s expert man-management skills: “Zidane once again proved to be a great person. He is reassuring and he is very correct in his approach to the player.

“There are always those who do not play as much as they would like, they are not happy and that makes sense.

“But the coach’s approach has helped everyone feel part of the team and accept their situation.

“In this dressing room, everyone is a good guy, there is no one who creates problems for their own reasons, there are no bad apples.”

Madrid are now looking ahead to a return to Champions League action, with a round of 16 second-leg tie against Manchester City on the cards next month.

Zidane’s side must overturn a 2-1 first-leg deficit at Etihad Stadium in order to reach the last eight, with the next stage of the competition set to take place in Lisbon .

Keeping Salah & Mane is Liverpool’s most important business’ – Fowler draws up transfer plan

The ex-Reds striker is eager to see a fearsome attacking unit kept intact, with Jurgen Klopp then making minor alterations to the rest of his squad

Keeping Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane out of the clutches of a European rival promises to be Liverpool’s most important piece of business in the next transfer window, says Robbie Fowler.

The Reds are starting to piece together plans for the summer market, with a Premier League title triumph safely wrapped up.

With records having tumbled around Jurgen Klopp’s side in 2019-20, there are few obvious needs for them to address.

The general consensus is that greater squad depth would aid the pursuit of more silverware, but only minor tweaks are required at this point.

Fowler admits as much, with the Liverpool legend of the opinion that left-back and centre-half are the only areas that need to be addressed with any sense of urgency.

For the former frontman, fending off interest from afar could be just as vital as bringing in fresh faces, with star turns such as Salah and Mane continuing to generate talk of interest from the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid.

Fowler told Stadium Astro when asked for his recruitment blueprint: “I think with Liverpool now, one of the problems that they have had this year, and it’s not a big problem per se, they’ve probably lacked a little bit of squad depth.

“The lads that have come in have done extremely well and have been consistent but when obviously Robbo [Andy Robertson] was out injured for a while or he was suspended, we probably struggled in the left-back area.

“But finding players to come and fill these positions when they know they’re not guaranteed to play, it’s tough.

“But you look at [Joe] Gomez with [Virgil] van Dijk at the back, both brilliant players, but maybe you look at someone to partner Van Dijk as well.

“I’m sure Sadio, I’m sure Mo and even [Roberto] Firmino will get linked with other clubs as well so I think it’s a case of making sure we keep what we’ve got as well, that’s probably more important.”

Liverpool have key men tied down on a long-term contracts, while having no need to sell, and plenty have suggested that there is no better place to be right now than Anfield – with Salah and Mane considered to have a greater chance of adding to their medal collections on Merseyside than in Spain.

Captain, leader, Liverpool legend: Humble Henderson deserving of Footballer of the Year prize

The midfielder has had his fair share of detractors over the years, but he has been an inspirational Reds skipper during their trophy-laden 13 months

So, how was your week?

If you are Jordan Henderson, the answer is ‘pretty good, thanks.’

Having lifted the Premier League trophy Anfield on Wednesday , the Liverpool  captain has his hands on another piece of silverware, having been named Footballer of the Year by the Football writers Association

He becomes the 12th Reds player to win the award, having seen off stiff competition, most notably from the brilliant Kevin De Bruyne of Manchester City . Team-mates Virgil van Dijk, Sadio Mane and Trent Alexander-Arnold, too, had strong claims, as did Leicester’s Jamie Vardy, the league’s leading goalscorer.

The bulk of the votes, though, went to a man who through sheer will and force of personality has achieved legendary status at Liverpool.

In the space of 13 months, Henderson has led his team to Champions League  glory and Premier League success. He has lifted the UEFA Super Cup and the Club World Cup for good measure, too. 

The 30-year-old has, in many ways, become the symbol of Jurgen Klopp’s side; driven, determined, selfless and relentlessly consistent. Never willing to admit defeat, and ready to put his ego aside for the good of his team. Humble, almost to a fault.

“As grateful as I am I don’t feel like I can accept this on my own,” he said, typically, in his acceptance speech.

“I accept it on behalf of this whole squad, because without them I’m not in a position to be receiving this honour. These lads have made me a better player – a better leader and a better person.

“If anything I hope those who voted for me did so partly to recognise the entire team’s contribution.”

OK, so he will not say it about himself, but his own contribution to Liverpool’s success has been seismic. 

This season alone, he has played as a number eight and a number six in Klopp’s midfield, and to a high standard too. In December he started as a centre-back in the Club World Cup semi-final against Monterrey in Qatar . Last season, against Leicester, he found himself filling in at right-back in place of the injured Alexander-Arnold. 

No fuss, no questions asked. That is Henderson. A big name and a big player, but low maintenance.

“He’s been criticised his whole career,” says Kevin Ball, who coached him as a teenager at Sunderland. 

“But only because he never does anything but put his team first. How many players will do the role he is asked to do, every single week, without complaint?”

Klopp agrees.

“If anyone who is with us doesn’t see the quality of Jordan Henderson, I can’t help him,” the Reds boss told reporters back in January. 

“Is he the perfect football player? No. Do I know anybody who is? No. But is he unbelievably important to us? Yes. He’s exceptional, he’s outstanding.”

It is not just on the field that his presence has been felt. Yes there have been big moments – a vital equaliser against Tottenham  in October, eye-catching assists against Bournemouth, Norwich and, most crucially, Manchester City – and yes, from November to February he performed at an outstandingly high level as Liverpool took control of the Premier League and conquered the world over in Doha.

But his campaign, and indeed his career, has always been about more than just numbers. It is about influence, standards, personality. He has led Liverpool, through the darkness and into the light.

It is he, aided and abetted by his key lieutenants – Adam Lallana, James Milner, Van Dijk and Gini Wijnaldum – who sets the tone at Melwood on a daily basis. Liverpool’s training sessions are as competitive as most team’s matches, and much of that is down to their skipper.

His is the loudest voice, his approval is the one every young player seeks. “An angry man,” Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain calls him, but one who drags people with him. Are you ready to give everything? If you are, then follow me.

It was he who, during the coronavirus lockdown, took the lead in organising the #PlayersTogether initiative, which has seen Premier League footballers raise millions for the NHS and other associated causes. He became, according to Bournemouth skipper Simon Francis, “the captain of captains”, creating a WhatsApp group for the 20 Premier League skippers, leading Zoom calls to discuss donation plans and, in Francis’ words, “giving a great insight into his leadership skills.”

That side, the leadership, has developed naturally since he was named Liverpool captain in 2015, taking over from the legendary Steven Gerrard.

“It’s always the same way in life, people have to grow in new roles,” says Klopp. “He had to do that. It [being Liverpool captain] was the most difficult job you can have. After Stevie, whatever manner the person doing the job did it, it was going to be difficult.

“Hendo grew in that role, and now he is probably a role model for the next generation of Liverpool skippers. He became a man, age-wise, and he became a proper captain. After his career when he looks back, there are a lot of reasons why he should be proud.”

He is still criticised and doubted. Perhaps he always will be. He will never be Gerrard or Graeme Souness. He will never be De Bruyne. There are others who will excite more, score more, assist more, create more.

But here we are in 2020. Here we are. Jordan Henderson. Captain of Liverpool, champion of everything. Footballer of the Year.

A surprise winner, for many, but a richly deserving one. 

A perfect end to a perfect week

Captain, leader, Liverpool legend: Humble Henderson deserving of Footballer of the Year prize

The midfielder has had his fair share of detractors over the years, but he has been an inspirational Reds skipper during their trophy-laden 13 months

So, how was your week?

If you are Jordan Henderson, the answer is ‘pretty good, thanks.’

Having lifted the Premier League trophy Anfield on Wednesday , the Liverpool  captain has his hands on another piece of silverware, having been named Footballer of the Year by the Football writers Association

He becomes the 12th Reds player to win the award, having seen off stiff competition, most notably from the brilliant Kevin De Bruyne of Manchester City . Team-mates Virgil van Dijk, Sadio Mane and Trent Alexander-Arnold, too, had strong claims, as did Leicester’s Jamie Vardy, the league’s leading goalscorer.

The bulk of the votes, though, went to a man who through sheer will and force of personality has achieved legendary status at Liverpool.

In the space of 13 months, Henderson has led his team to Champions League  glory and Premier League success. He has lifted the UEFA Super Cup and the Club World Cup for good measure, too. 

The 30-year-old has, in many ways, become the symbol of Jurgen Klopp’s side; driven, determined, selfless and relentlessly consistent. Never willing to admit defeat, and ready to put his ego aside for the good of his team. Humble, almost to a fault.

“As grateful as I am I don’t feel like I can accept this on my own,” he said, typically, in his acceptance speech.

“I accept it on behalf of this whole squad, because without them I’m not in a position to be receiving this honour. These lads have made me a better player – a better leader and a better person.

“If anything I hope those who voted for me did so partly to recognise the entire team’s contribution.”

OK, so he will not say it about himself, but his own contribution to Liverpool’s success has been seismic. 

This season alone, he has played as a number eight and a number six in Klopp’s midfield, and to a high standard too. In December he started as a centre-back in the Club World Cup semi-final against Monterrey in Qatar . Last season, against Leicester, he found himself filling in at right-back in place of the injured Alexander-Arnold. 

No fuss, no questions asked. That is Henderson. A big name and a big player, but low maintenance.

“He’s been criticised his whole career,” says Kevin Ball, who coached him as a teenager at Sunderland. 

“But only because he never does anything but put his team first. How many players will do the role he is asked to do, every single week, without complaint?”

Klopp agrees.

“If anyone who is with us doesn’t see the quality of Jordan Henderson, I can’t help him,” the Reds boss told reporters back in January. 

“Is he the perfect football player? No. Do I know anybody who is? No. But is he unbelievably important to us? Yes. He’s exceptional, he’s outstanding.”

It is not just on the field that his presence has been felt. Yes there have been big moments – a vital equaliser against Tottenham  in October, eye-catching assists against Bournemouth, Norwich and, most crucially, Manchester City – and yes, from November to February he performed at an outstandingly high level as Liverpool took control of the Premier League and conquered the world over in Doha.

But his campaign, and indeed his career, has always been about more than just numbers. It is about influence, standards, personality. He has led Liverpool, through the darkness and into the light.

It is he, aided and abetted by his key lieutenants – Adam Lallana, James Milner, Van Dijk and Gini Wijnaldum – who sets the tone at Melwood on a daily basis. Liverpool’s training sessions are as competitive as most team’s matches, and much of that is down to their skipper.

His is the loudest voice, his approval is the one every young player seeks. “An angry man,” Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain calls him, but one who drags people with him. Are you ready to give everything? If you are, then follow me.

It was he who, during the coronavirus lockdown, took the lead in organising the #PlayersTogether initiative, which has seen Premier League footballers raise millions for the NHS and other associated causes. He became, according to Bournemouth skipper Simon Francis, “the captain of captains”, creating a WhatsApp group for the 20 Premier League skippers, leading Zoom calls to discuss donation plans and, in Francis’ words, “giving a great insight into his leadership skills.”

That side, the leadership, has developed naturally since he was named Liverpool captain in 2015, taking over from the legendary Steven Gerrard.

“It’s always the same way in life, people have to grow in new roles,” says Klopp. “He had to do that. It [being Liverpool captain] was the most difficult job you can have. After Stevie, whatever manner the person doing the job did it, it was going to be difficult.

“Hendo grew in that role, and now he is probably a role model for the next generation of Liverpool skippers. He became a man, age-wise, and he became a proper captain. After his career when he looks back, there are a lot of reasons why he should be proud.”

He is still criticised and doubted. Perhaps he always will be. He will never be Gerrard or Graeme Souness. He will never be De Bruyne. There are others who will excite more, score more, assist more, create more.

But here we are in 2020. Here we are. Jordan Henderson. Captain of Liverpool, champion of everything. Footballer of the Year.

A surprise winner, for many, but a richly deserving one. 

A perfect end to a perfect week

Report: Lionel Messi’s father will be in Milan to negotiate a possible Inter move

According to Italian Radio Rai, Jorge Messi will be in Milan in the summer to negotiate a potential move of his son Lionel Messi to Inter. Messi’s father is managing his son’s contracts and is currently in the process of moving to Milan. Reports claim that Messi’s future therefore may be in Italy, with Inter Milan as top candidates.

Currently, Lionel Messi is earning €30.5 million per season net, while his salary is €60.3 million gross. In Italy, the Argentine might take advantage of the flat tax rate which is €25 thousand per year. Cristiano Ronaldo is currently taking advantage of this regime in Italy.

While it would be absurd to completely believe the rumors regarding Messi’s exit from Barcelona, it is known that the Argentine is lately not having the best time at his home club. After losing La Liga to Real Madrid, the 33-year-old burst in a press conference requesting “things to change” on the edge of his contract renewal talks.

New footage shows full extent of X-rated row between Frank Lampard and Jurgen Klopp

Things got heated between the Chelsea boss and his Liverpool counterpart at Anfield on Wednesday night, with fury aimed at the home dugout from Lampard prior to Trent Alexander-Arnold’s second goal

“Don’t get too arrogant with it” Lampard warns Liverpool after touchline spat”Don’t get too arrogant with it” Lampard warns Liverpool after touchline spathttps:“DON’T GET TOO ARROGANT WITH IT” LAMPARD WARNS LIVERPOOL AFTER TOUCHLINE SPAT

Frank Lampard and Jurgen Klopp clashed in a blistering touchline row during Liverpool’s win over Chelsea on Wednesday night.

The Blues boss launched an X-rated tirade at his Kop counterpart during the first half of the encounter at Anfield.

And footage shot from behind the dugout in the Main Stand lays bare the full spat between the two.

With Liverpool leading 1-0 through Naby Keita’s fine opener, Lampard was left furious at a free kick awarded by referee Andre Marriner for a foul by Mateo Kovacic on Sadio Mane.

The Croatian international midfielder got a piece of the ball but also caught the Senegalese – something Marriner explained to Kovacic after giving the decision.

But before the England international stepped up, tempers flared on the touchline – notably the furious Lampard.

After hearing murmurings from the Liverpool section of the dug-out, the Chelsea chief let rip.

“How is that a foul? There’s no foul there!” Lampard shouted, taking steps towards the Reds’ technical area and directing his ire at Liverpool No.2 Pep Lijnders, who had involved himself in the row.

“Sit down then,” declared Lampard as Lijnders returned to his seat in the dugout.

At that point Klopp interjects telling Lijnders to sit down, telling Lampard “calm down, calm down” and beginning to declare “don’t talk to my No.2…”.

The German can’t quite finish that sentence however, initiating initiated a sharp reply from a seething Lampard: “No, no, if he’s going off at me, I’ll f****** say something!”

Lampard turned and paced to the opposite end of his technical area after a quick word from fourth official Lee Mason, but amid continued declarations behind him – one member of the Liverpool bench stating “it’s still a foul” – he soon let rip once more.

“It’s not a f****** foul! I’m not asking you. Shut up.”

At that point, Klopp, himself growing increasingly irate, yells out “Hey!”

“F*** off you as well!” responds Lampard to Klopp.

“One title you’ve won and you’re f*****g giving it the big ‘un F*** off!”

Lampard again turns to walk to the opposite end of his technical area, followed by Mason – seemingly giving him a polite reminder to behave, while a perplexed Klopp watches on with one of the assistant officials on the halfway line.

As Mason returns to his position, Lampard can be heard telling him: “Tell them to have respect and sit down.”

Klopp could be heard trying to get the final word in as Lampard walked off once more, being told “alright, Jurgen,” by Mason.

Liverpool substitutes dispersed throughout the bottom of the Main Stand as they observed social distancing protocols, watched on and no doubt enjoyed the show.

Goalkeeper Adrian could be seen motioning for both benches to calm down – albeit doing so in a position where no one could see his hands from pitch level.

Undoubtedly, Lampard’s frustration will only have grown further as Alexander-Arnold’s fine freekick sailed into the back of the net to double the home side’s advantage.

Liverpool would go on to win 5-3 on the night, before lifting the Premier League trophy .

Lampard and Klopp did shake hands at the final whistle, and the Chelsea boss congratulated the Liverpool players on their season post-game in the tunnel areas – notably Sadio Mane.

He also offered up his thoughts on the incident, telling Sky Sports: “For me it wasn’t a foul from Kovacic.

“There were a lot of things that were ongoing and on the bench … I’ve got no problem with Jurgen Klopp, he’s managed this team and it’s fantastic.

“Some of the bench, it’s a fine line between when you are winning – and they’ve won the league, fair play to Liverpool Football Club – but also don’t get too arrogant with it.

“That was my thing, but [it’s] done. In match play you get emotional and that was it

Udinese 2-1 Juventus: Stunned Bianconeri miss chance to clinch title

 successive Serie A title as they succumbed to a shock 2-1 loss to Udinese on Thursday.

Inter‘s goalless draw with Fiorentina on Wednesday opened the door for Juve to secure the Scudetto with a win at the Dacia Arena but they were unable to oblige.

Matthijs de Ligt put the Bianconeri on the path to glory towards the end of a tepid first half before Ilija Nestorovski’s excellent diving header restored parity in the 52nd minute.

Juve pushed for a winner but Seko Fofana’s brilliant stoppage-time finish at the end of a lung-busting run ensured the champagne was kept on ice for Maurizio Sarri’s men.

Udinese went close to getting the opener in the eighth minute but the post stopped Danilo heading Ken Sema’s cross into his own net.

Juan Musso stopped Bram Nuytinck scoring a bizarre own goal with a misjudged back pass and from the resulting corner the Udinese goalkeeper produced a good save to keep out Paulo Dybala’s volley.

Rodrigo de Paul had a penalty appeal ignored and De Ligt put Juve in front when he controlled William Troost-Ekong’s headed clearance and arrowed it into the bottom-left corner in the 42nd minute.

Udinese improved in the second half and restored parity seven minutes after the restart, Sema picking out an unmarked Nestorovski for a fine finish at the back post.

A curling effort from Dybala – Juve’s first shot on target in the second half – was held well by Musso in the 62nd minute, while the hosts remained game in their bid to snatch the three points that would boost their survival hopes.

They got them when Fofana outmuscled De Ligt and slotted home in the 92nd minute, with Juve left to reflect on a surprise defeat.


What does it mean? Title race still alive… just

A Juve victory would have secured the title due to their superior head-to-head record against Atalanta, but their advantage over Gian Piero Gasperini’s side with three games left remains six points.

Udinese’s triumph means Atalanta, Inter and Lazio all still have a shot at overthrowing the Old Lady, who have won just one of their past five matches as they stagger towards the finish line.

At the other end of the table, Udinese shot up to 15th and are seven points clear of the relegation zone.

Three points from Fofana

His late winner could prove pivotal in keeping Udinese in the top flight, but Fofana provided far more than that against Juve. He had a 94 per cent passing accuracy and won 83 per cent of his duels in an impressive, dynamic midfield showing.

Slack Alex Sandro

It cannot be doubted that Nestorovski’s header was of the highest quality, but Alex Sandro’s failure to track his run gave him all the time and space he needed to pick out his spot, igniting Udinese’s comeback.

Key Opta Facts:

– Juventus have dropped 18 points from winning positions, their worst record in the last nine campaigns.

– The Bianconeri have lost five away games in Serie A this season, their worst record since 2009-10 (nine lossed at the end of the campaign).

– De Ligt is the youngest defender with at least four goals scored in the top-five European Leagues this season.

– Juve were celebrating 3,000 days as Italian champions (from 6 May 2012).

What’s next?

Juve will look to wrap things up when they entertain Sampdoria on Sunday, while Udinese will be out to secure their survival at Cagali

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