The Sport Matrix: Friday 20 December 2013


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The Independent Online

Rodgers: missing out on Spurs job was a close shave

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has described Tottenham’s attempt to hire him as manager last year as a “close shave” and declared, while dismissing the notion of considering another job offer from White Hart Lane, that the north London club’s frequent sacking of managers put him off any idea of working for them.

Rodgers accepted Liverpool’s offer rather than that of Spurs chairman Daniel Levy, though the FA’s decision to appoint Roy Hodgson, rather than Harry Redknapp, as England manager was the most crucial factor in Rodgers ending up at Anfield.

“One of the things I looked at was the history,” Rodgers (above) said of Spurs’ approach. “They’d had 11 managers in 18 years there so for someone like myself, I needed to create something, I needed to go to a club that was going to give us that opportunity...”.

Rodgers also declared himself “confident” that Luis Suarez would accept a new contract with Liverpool. MORE

Casablanca stun Ronaldinho’s side

Moroccan side Raja Casablanca face Bayern Munich in the Club World Cup final after a 3-1 win over Brazilians Atletico Mineiro, featuring Ronaldinho. Mouhcine Iajou’s opener was cancelled out by Ronaldinho but Mouhcine Moutouali’s penalty and a goal by Vivien Madibe sealed the win.

Wilshere to serve two-match ban

Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere will serve a two-match ban for his  offensive gesture during last weekend’s 6-3 defeat to Manchester City. His club pleaded mitigating circumstances, but they were rejected by the FA. He will miss the matches against Chelsea and West Ham. MORE

Vanishing spray on show at Brazil 2014

Referees will use a vanishing spray at next summer’s World Cup to draw lines on the pitch and stop defensive walls creeping forward at free-kicks. Sepp Blatter, the Fifa president, has become convinced by a trial during the Club World Cup now taking place in Morocco. MORE

Townsend may be back in a month

Tottenham Hotspur are hopeful that Andros Townsend will not miss more than a month of first-team football after his hamstring tear against West Ham United, with the early indications that the England international’s injury is not as severe as first feared. MORE

Warner leapfrogs Bell and Cook

David Warner has overtaken the England pair Ian Bell and Alastair Cook in the new ICC Test rankings for batsmen after helping Australia to reclaim the Ashes. He moved up to 11th, as Bell and Cook each slipped one place to 12th and 14th. MORE

Young senses new United momentum

Ashley Young feels Manchester United are finding their form again following their Capital One Cup quarter-final victory at Stoke. He said: “We are building momentum now. It is an important time going into Christmas and the new year.” MORE

Dyke laughs off his cut-throat gesture

FA chairman Greg Dyke has defended the cut-throat gesture he made at the World Cup draw. He said: “It was a piece of humour. That’s me. If you want a straight-laced suit, you can have a straight-laced suit. Or you can have someone like me.” MORE

Stokes determined to prove consistent

Ben Stokes is determined to prove himself as an England all-rounder, after impressing with a century in the third Ashes Test. “You can’t live off one performance,” he said. “I have to back it up, show that it wasn’t a fluke.” MORE

Mills in ‘bitch’  row with official

Heather Mills has been accused of calling a Paralympic official a “bitch” over a decision to delay ratifying her use of a new prosthetic limb for the Winter Paralympics skiing, which she has now pulled out of. MORE

The best of years?

Robin Scott-Elliot asks if 2013 was a better year than 2012, reflecting on the Olympics and Wiggins’ Tour glory – and not forgetting Farah’s world double and Murray’s Wimbledon win. MORE