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The Sport Matrix: Friday 18 April 2014

Liverpool and Chelsea strike first

Natasha Dowie struck the winner for defending champions Liverpool Ladies as they beat Manchester City 1-0 at the Select Security Stadium in their opening game of the new Women’s Super League season, while Chelsea Ladies beat Bristol Academy 2-0.

Rodgers: City’s slip is a warning for us

Brendan Rodgers says Manchester City’s inability to overcome Sunderland is a warning for his Liverpool squad in their title push. “I said to the players before training, if there was any delight at one of our rivals dropping points they should take it as a warning sign,” he said. MORE

Lambert refuses to discuss assistants

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert refused to discuss the suspension of his assistants, Ian Culverhouse and Gary Karsa, for legal reasons but called for investment. Villa sit four points above third-bottom Fulham and he said: “I don’t want another season like this.” MORE

Wenger tips Özil to shine... next season

The Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger has tipped Mesut Özil, who could return for Sunday’s trip to Hull after five weeks out with a hamstring injury, to show he is the real deal next campaign. Wenger said: “I would put him on the list to be player of the season next season.” MORE

Injured Robson to miss Wimbledon

Laura Robson will have surgery on her injured wrist, ruling her out of the French Open and Wimbledon. She said she will have “minor wrist surgery at the Mayo clinic with one of the best wrist doctors in the world, Dr Richard Berger”. MORE

Remarkable Hull set for O’Sullivan

Robin Hull has no fears about taking on Ronnie O’Sullivan in the World Championship first round. The Finn recovered from a life-threatening virus suffered in 2002. “It’s mad really,” said Hull, ranked 122. “I’m just glad to still be playing.” MORE

Real hail Bale for stunning winner

Gareth Bale’s stunning solo goal that clinched the Copa del Rey for Real Madrid has been hailed as a hero in Spain. “It just shows what an incredible athlete he is to produce that kind of run so late in the game,” said assistant coach Paul Clement. MORE

Howard signs new Everton contract

Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard has pledged his future to the club by signing a two-year contract extension. “It is fantastic news,” said his manager Roberto Martinez. “I cannot see past him to choose the best keeper in the league.” MORE

Hall seals 21-20 victory for Hull KR

Hull KR edged Hull FC 21-20 in an enthralling Humberside derby at New Craven Park last night. A drop goal from Craig Hall 46 seconds from time ensured a thrilling victory against his former club. MORE

Ben Stokes

Durham all-rounder, who is tipped to be an England star, reveals he has sought help from a sports psychologist after breaking his right wrist while punching a locker in frustration on tour. MORE

Career Services

Day In a Page

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Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

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Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

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Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

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Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

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Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

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From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

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Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape