Liverpool make improved Lallana bid

first_imgLiverpool have stepped up their transfer activity with an improved final-offer bid of £25million for Southampton midfielder Adam Lallana. However, as with Lambert, the Merseysiders are not prepared to hang around in their pursuit of targets and the offer effectively amounts to take-it-or-leave-it. Lallana is believed to be keen on a move to Anfield so it leaves Saints in a tricky position as if they reject Liverpool’s advances once again they risk alienating a player who has been a loyal servant to the club. Liverpool have adopted the same approach with Lallana, Rodgers’ primary target this summer, as they have with Lambert. The 32-year-old striker emerged as a surprise option for the Reds during their on-going discussions with the south-coast club over Lallana. When it became apparent there was a deal to be done the Anfield club insisted it be completed quickly and set Southampton a deadline of this weekend – before the England squad fly out to Miami for the next stage of their World Cup preparations – on Sunday. The wheels are in motion for Lambert and providing his medical does not throw up any problems he is likely to be confirmed as the club’s first signing of the summer on Monday. Considering Southampton have yet to accept the offer for Lallana that may take some pushing to get it over the line quickly but national team boss Roy Hodgson has already stated he would like the future of players considering moves this summer to be sorted before the tournament in Brazil begins. Should the £25million offer for Lallana not be accepted Rodgers will move on to other targets, with Bayern Munich’s Xherdan Shaqiri an alternative, but there is a hope pressure from the player – who wants a move to Anfield – may still see the deal done. With Saints team-mate Rickie Lambert expected on Merseyside for a medical ahead of a £4million move back to his boyhood club, Press Association Sport understands manager Brendan Rodgers has made another push for midfielder Lallana. The Reds had an initial bid of £20million rejected but have gone back to Southampton with an increased amount. Press Association Lambert’s move, which even with a number of add-ons will not get close to the £9million being suggested in some quarters, is more straightforward. The player was keen to rejoin the club he left as a teenager and Saints found it difficult to stand in his way given the forward’s service to the club. Lambert was born in Kirkby, Merseyside, and was a member of Liverpool’s academy until his mid-teens when he was released and found himself plying his trade in the lower leagues for the likes of Macclesfield, Stockport, Rochdale and Bristol Rovers before finding success at Southampton. He will provide some much-needed back-up to frontline strikers Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge at Anfield and, while he may have to content himself with a supporting role from the bench at Anfield, the chance to rejoin his boyhood club and play in the Champions League was an opportunity he did not want to miss. Another Southampton player, defender Dejan Lovren, remains a target but there are others, although Press Association Sport understands Liverpool’s interest in Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Emre Can is running into complications. The two clubs plan more talks over the weekend which are likely to give a clearer idea of whether the Germany Under-21 international will also move to Merseyside. Although there is a buy-out clause of about £10million which Liverpool are willing to meet there is another stumbling block to be overcome. Bayern Munich have first option on a buy-back of the player they sold last summer but it was believed player’s wage demands were a cause for concern but another, as yet unspecified, issue has cropped up. Liverpool have made a bid, reported to be in the region of £16million, for Sevilla left-back Alberto Moreno but are still in negotiations with the Europa League winners. However, what interest the club had in Swansea goalkeeper Michel Vorm to provide competition for Simon Mignolet has cooled and they are no longer considering the Dutchman as a viable target. last_img read more

Smaller, more efficient cars more attractive to buyers

first_img “The last three weeks have been horrible,” he said. “Did people call each other and say, ‘Don’t buy a car this month?’ I don’t know.” It wasn’t unexpected. Oliff said the aggressive summer discounts had likely cut into the fall buyer pool. “That took a lot of business from these coming months,” he said. “People that would buy cars now have already bought.” While Oliff expects sales to stabilize before year’s end, these lean months are taxing times – sales people need to be paid, and a wrong move could mean more problems. “If the dealerships continue to spend money on advertising … it’s going to be even worse,” he said. “We have to wait out the storm. “But it’s good for customers to buy cars right now. We’re going to be really aggressive to make a deal.” As for any perceived impact on consumer behavior from high gas prices, Oliff believes SUVs are still king in Santa Clarita. “People are not buying cars based on economy or gas prices,” he said. “A few are, but most people, they don’t think that way. You think minivan sales would be up in Valencia, but they’re buying Hummers.” Despite seeing subtle changes at his auto fair, Shaw agreed. “People are more likely to buy what they’ll get away with than think about the full potential of something,” he said. “In the used car market, people buy what they need. The families need a big SUV, the younger people need a smaller car. “The demographics in the community are mostly families. The necessity for an SUV still exists.” Eugene Tong, (661) 257-5253 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! VALENCIA – Persistent high gasoline prices may have dented some car buyers on the prowl – rather than a big, bad ride, many are considering smaller engines or even smaller cars. At the Santa Clarita Auto Fair, a weekend community display in a College of the Canyons parking lot, organizer Tyler Shaw noticed a trend: Passenger cars are fetching better prices, while large sport utility vehicles and trucks require a trim to unload. “People are getting better prices for smaller cars,” said Shaw, who has staged the direct buyer-to-seller market since 1999. “To sell the bigger SUVs, the sellers have to price them more aggressively.” A large truck or SUV could sell for $8,000 to $16,000 a year ago – now it’s closer to $6,000 to $15,000, depending on condition, Shaw said. For passenger cars, a 1992 to 1996 Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla could now fetch $3,000 to $5,000, compared to about $2,000 the same time last year. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week “It seems more of an issue whether a car is a four, six or eight cylinders – that relates more to the gas prices than what’s on people’s mind when they’re buying,” Shaw said. Though fuel prices have taken a dip – a gallon of regular unleaded averaged $2.89 Friday in Los Angeles/Long Beach compared to $2.95 a month ago, according to the Automobile Club of Southern California – it’s still 44 cents higher than the $2.45 recorded a year ago. Some industry analysts have identified changes in consumer behavior as both Ford and General Motors reported sales decreases in September of 20 percent and 24 percent respectively for the 2005 model-year vehicles. Especially hard-hit were large SUVs and pickups, though GM had a strong summer when it offered employee-pricing discounts. Meantime, Japanese automakers reported double-digit percentage growth in September: 12 percent for Honda, 16 percent for Nissan, 10 percent for Toyota. In Santa Clarita, new car sales slipped at some lots by as much as 40 percent, said Kevin Oliff, president of the Santa Clarita Auto Dealers Association and general manager at Power Chrysler Jeep in Valencia. last_img read more

2010: South Africa’s watersport winners

first_img20 December 2010Blessed with a beautiful coastline almost 3 000 kilometres long, South Africa is a watersports playground – and in 2010 the country’s watersport athletes shone in a variety of disciplines.Durban surfer Jordy Smith made the headlines for a brilliant year on the ASP World Tour which finished with him as runner-up to the legendary Kelly Slater for the world title.He delighted South African fans by winning back-to-back events in the country, capturing the Mr Price Pro and then the six-star-rated Billabong Pro at Jeffreys Bay, one of the world’s most revered surfing venues.In addition, he placed second in the Quiksilver Pro on Australia’s Gold Coast and was also runner-up in the Rip Curl Pro in Peniche, Portugal.By claiming second spot behind the 10-time world champion Slater, Smith relegated 2007 and 2009 ASP World Tour champion Mick Fanning to third place.Surfing in the snowIn April, Royden Bryson scored a superb victory in amazing conditions at the six-star-rated O’Neill Coldwater Classic in Thurso, Scotland. During the event there was the remarkable spectacle of surfers catching waves while snow fell about them.After claiming victory, Bryson commented: This was one crazy day. I’m not sure if I’ll ever get a chance to surf in the snow again! So, on top of winning, this makes it one very special day for me.”Big wave surfer Chris Bertish scored the biggest win of his career when he captured the Mavericks Surf Contest at Half Moon Bay in California.The conditions were epic, with waves estimated to be in excess of 40-feet high. There was even an incident where a monster wave knocked down a viewing platform, resulting in serious injuries to 13 people, including broken limbs.Bertish, though, gutsed out a tough win and remarked afterwards: I took the worst beating of my life out there.”Rider of the YearGrant “Twiggy” Baker, a winner of the Mavericks Surf Contest in 2006, and acknowledged as one of the world’s leading big wave chargers, was rewarded for his efforts at the Billabong XXL Big Wave Awards. He won the Ride of the Year and with it pocketed a cheque for $50 000.In November, both Bertish and Baker received invites to the most prestigious big wave event in the world, the 2010/11 Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau.It wasn’t just the younger generation of surfers that excelled, either. South Africa finished second in the 2010 ISA World Masters Surfing Championship at Santa Catalina in Panama, picking up three gold, one silver and two bronze medals.Cowes Week winAlso out on the oceans, in August, for just the second time in the 168-year history of Cowes Week, one of the largest and most prestigious sailing regattas in the world, a South African yacht, Jeraboam, won its class.Competing in the very competitive J-109 class, the team from the Royal Cape Yacht Club raced to an easy class victory with a race to spare.The Durban Surfski World Cup underlined South Africa’s status as a powerhouse of the surfski world, with Dawid Mocke outsprinting Matt Bouman to take victory. Mocke’s brother, Jasper, rounded out the podium places.South Africans also claimed all the podium places in the women’s event, with Nikki Mocke winning from Michele Eray and Michelle Eder.Swimming starsSouth African swimmers continued to prove themselves world class competitors, excelling in the Fina/Arena World Cup and the Commonwealth Games.They led South Africa’s medal push at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, winning 16 of the 33 medals the country totalled. South Africa won 12 gold medals to finish fifth on the medal table and seven of those came from three swimmers.Natalie du Toit led the way with three victories: in the S9 50 and 100 metres freestyle, as well as in the 50 metres butterfly.Teenager Chad le Clos announced himself to the world with victories in the 200 metres butterfly and the 4 by 100 metres individual medley.Cameron van der Burgh, meanwhile, confirmed himself as the world’s fastest man in the breaststroke, taking victory in both the 50 metres and 100 metres against very strong opposition.Roland Schoeman, although not a winner in any event, deserves special mention. He won three medals to take his Commonwealth Games haul over the years to 11.South Africans also shone in long-distance events for the first time since Ryk Neethling, in the days before he turned his attention to shorter events: Wendy Trott won a silver medal in the women’s 800 freestyle and Heerden Herman picked up silver in the men’s 1 500 freestyle.Natalie du ToitNatalie du Toit also starred at the International Paralympic Committee’s Swimming World Championships in Eindhoven, Holland, by winning six gold medals, one silver and one bronze.Her long-time excellence was recognised when she was named the Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability at a gala ceremony in Abu Dhabi in March.In South Africa, the Midmar Mile, which in 2009 had entered the Guinness World Records as the largest open water swimming event in the world, produced even more finishers in 2010, with over 14 200 swimmers making it compared to the 13 755 of the previous year.Hank McGregor wrote his name into the record books by winning the 228-kilometre long Berg River Canoe Marathon, regarded by some as the toughest canoe marathon in the world, for a record seventh time.On a sad note, the paddling community said goodbye to Dusi legend Graeme Pope-Ellis, who won the race an incredible 15 times in three different decades. He was tragically killed in a farming accident.Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

Civic body chief booked for abusing sweeper

first_imgThe municipality chairman of Sangod in Rajasthan’s Kota district has been booked for allegedly abusing and beating up a sweeper, who was carting away a cow’s carcass by dragging it with a tractor-trailer, police said on Sunday. The municipality chairman, Devkinandan Rathore, was booked under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act on Saturday for beating up and abusing contractual sweeper Rajkumar Valmiki, said Station House Officer (SHO) Dhanraj Meena. Statements recordedPolice have launched an investigation into the matter and recorded the statements of Mr. Valmiki and the eyewitnesses, the SHO said, adding that no arrest had been made so far. Mr. Valmiki told police that he was taking the carcass away on Saturday afternoon by using a tractor-trailer as there was no other facility available to shift dead animals. When he was crossing a market area, Mr. Rathore reached the spot, hurled abuses and manhandled him, Mr. Meena said citing the sweeper’s statement . Video of incidentA video of the incident was uploaded on social media but police later removed it and blocked the video’s source, the SHO said. He said the matter had been handed over to Deputy Superintendent of Police Rameshwar Parihar for further investigation. Apparently, a cow vigilante had informed Mr. Rathore about Mr. Valmiki taking the cow’s carcass through the market.last_img read more

Alabamas Offense Is Now As Terrifying As Its Defense

Alabamas Offense Is Now As Terrifying As Its Defense

RKSeasonPlayerTeamTotal QBR For years, Alabama’s offensive blueprint seemed like a relic from the 1980s: Run the ball on the first few downs, attempt a short- to moderate-length pass, and move the chains or punt to play the field-position game. It was a Ritz Cracker offense that, at times, appeared premeditated to suck the entertainment out of the sport entirely. It worked: Alabama has had 11 running backs/fullbacks and 13 offensive linemen drafted over the past 12 years. Tua is on historic paceSingle-season leaders in Total Quarterback Rating, 2004-18 2012Johnny ManzielTexas A&M91.3 The engine powering college football’s pre-eminent outfit over the past decade has typically been a blue chip-laden, pressure-oriented, versatile defense. In Tuscaloosa, where Nick Saban has helmed the Alabama Crimson Tide since 2007, that engine has only gained steam in recent years. The winner of 87.2 percent of its games and five national titles since the diminutive kingpin’s arrival, Alabama is the only program to qualify for the College Football Playoff in each of the first four years.Much of that sovereignty is attributable to the historically great fortresses that Alabama closes off its end zone with. There have been six instances since 2007 of a team holding opponents to five or fewer rushing touchdowns over an entire season. Alabama accounts for four. Some have even claimed the team’s stockpile of 18- to 22-year-olds could be competitive on Sundays. Baseless claims notwithstanding, the Tide have sent more talent to the NFL than any other team over the past decade. Since Saban’s arrival, 41 members of the Crimson Tide have been selected in the first two rounds of the NFL draft. More than 60 percent of that pool came from the defensive side of the ball. All 11 defensive starters in Alabama’s 2016 season opener were selected in the past two drafts.However, four games into the 2018 season, all anyone can talk about is the Crimson Tide offense — and for good reason. Saban, it would appear, finally has an offense as ostentatious and dynamic as his defense, a horrifying development for the rest of the country.Spearheaded by starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and under the direction of first-year offensive coordinator Mike Locksley, the Tide offense is crashing down on its competition like a tsunami. Alabama has outscored its four opponents by an average margin of 41 points. The Tide have played 16 quarters of football and failed in just two to put more points on the scoreboard than their opponent, and in both cases it was the fourth quarter of a blowout.1A 7-7 fourth-quarter tie against Louisville when Alabama led 44-7 entering the fourth, and the final frame of its blowout win over Texas A&M, when it ceded a touchdown while leading 45-16.Locksley’s offense has been so devastatingly effective that Saban, a well-established curmudgeon who cares not for style points, beseeched the press to “look at some of the things we didn’t do so well” following Saturday’s 22-point win over then-No. 22 Texas A&M. One can only be so sated by a unit averaging 53.8 points and 539.5 yards, after all.Alabama’s offensive efficiency — a metric graded 0 to 100 that controls for quality of opponent and “garbage time” — scores a 98.02. That’s the top mark of any team measured by ESPN Stats & Information since Saban’s arrival. Its defensive efficiency of 94.24 ranks a lusterless fourth since 2007, behind the current Georgia team and two other versions of Bama. According to College Football Reference’s Simple Rating System, Alabama is 49.71 points better than the average Football Bowl Subdivision team this season. However, in Saban parlance, “our team needs to do a lot of things to improve.” Source: ESPN Stats & Information Group 42010Andrew LuckStanford93.8 32011Russell WilsonWisconsin94.1 52018Dwayne HaskinsOhio State93.7 82008Sam BradfordOklahoma91.9 22018Kyler MurrayOklahoma95.6 Tagovailoa vaulted into Alabama lore last season when, as a freshman, he was inserted into the national championship game after halftime and led the Tide to a come-from-behind win over Georgia in overtime. Now the front-runner for the Heisman Trophy, Tagovailoa has performed like a video game character in his sophomore campaign, accounting for 1,033 passing yards, 14 total touchdowns and zero interceptions. He can feather a ball onto the chest of a full-sprint receiver 40 yards downfield and Houdini his way around would-be tacklers bearing down on him in the pocket — execute and improvise. ESPN has been calculating Total Quarterback Rating, which seeks to value quarterback play on a 0-to-100 scale while adjusting for the strength of opposing defenses faced, since 2004. The left-handed Hawaiian is in line to produce the top single-season figure ever — by nearly four points. 12018Tua TagovailoaAlabama97.8 92016Baker MayfieldOklahoma91.8 102014Marcus MariotaOregon91.3 72017Khalil TateArizona92.0 62017Baker MayfieldOklahoma92.3 However, that bland cadence hasn’t manifested under Locksley. Considering the second half of Alabama games have largely been a formality — the Tide have outscored opponents 148-20 in the opening 30 minutes — let’s assess first-half play calling. Alabama is taking to the air on 53.9 percent of plays, which ranks 38th nationally. That mark is 13.9 percentage points higher than last season’s average, which ranked 110th nationally. On first and second downs, Alabama’s pass percentage is 40.5 percent, up from 34.5 percent a season ago. Compared with previous seasons under Saban, this year is a clear aberration, like the Indiana Pacers suddenly learning the value of the three-point shot.“(Locksley) really is doing a good job of mixing up the run, the pass, the play-action screens,” tight end Hale Hentges said. “And he’s making a very natural flow to all of our plays and that’s what has made us have success. … He’s an offensive genius.”What once were almost always Mark Ingram carries on second down have been replaced by deranged sequences of Tagovailoa evading a pass rush to heave a cross-body rocket to the back of the end zone for a touchdown.Alabama has already attempted 17 passes that traveled at least 20 yards downfield, in line to finish the regular season with 51, according to data provided by TruMedia. Last season, the team accounted for 50 in 14 games. Only Hawaii (with 27) has accounted for more passing plays of 20-plus yards this season than Alabama’s 25. In turn, the Tide rank third in expected points added on passes (79.34) and second in adjusted offensive expected points added (98.2), according to data provided by TruMedia.“We feel like as a group, collectively, when we go out, we’re unstoppable,” wide receiver Henry Ruggs III said.Unstoppable isn’t far off. Alabama has scored a touchdown on 48.1 percent of its drives, the top mark of any SEC team. Locksley’s unit has only gone three-and-out eight times, in line to produce the lowest three-and-out percentage (15.4 percent) by an Alabama offense since Saban’s arrival by nearly three percentage points, according to data provided by ESPN Stats & Information.The onslaught of points hasn’t gone unnoticed by pundits like Kirk Herbstreit and Tim Tebow, who knows a thing or three about leading an explosive offense in the SEC. Both have posited that this year’s Alabama offense has the makings of the best in program history. Alabama no longer just suffocates its opponent with defense; in 2018, its offense brings the reckoning. read more