The Sports Matrix: Friday 30 December 2011


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Dalglish wary of piling pressure on returning Gerrard

Kenny Dalglish has warned Liverpool supporters not to expect miracles from midfielder Steven Gerrard, the 31-year-old club captain returning to full fitness after more than two months out. The Anfield club have struggled for consistency and goals in his absence and remain three points off a coveted Champions League position ahead of tonight's visit from Newcastle United. "We can't throw everything on to Steven," Dalglish said. "We can't say, 'Steven is coming back, he's going to be the one to do this or that.' If we are going to be a one-man band, we have no chance." MORE

Wade looks the part in victory

James Wade set up a last-eight meeting with double PDC World champion John Part after overcoming Steve Farmer 4-0 at Alexandra Palace last night. "I really need a game to push me to the limit," Wade said. "I need a scrap to see what I can do."

Aussie bowlers power past India

Australia showed something of a return to form when they produced a stunning bowling display to knock over India for 169 and win the first Test in Melbourne by 122 runs. James Pattinson took 4 for 53 while Peter Siddle contributed figures of 3 for 42. MORE

Mancini expecting April title decider

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini believes April's meeting with neighbours United will be the fixture that determines the Premier League title. "If we are strong enough, I think it will be decided with the game at home," the Italian said. MORE

Modric happy to stay at Tottenham

Tottenham midfielder Luka Modric says he is not looking to leave White Hart Lane before the end of the season. "I don't want to go through the same ordeal I went through [this] summer," the Croat said. "I am almost 100 per cent certain I will stay." MORE

Former Hull centre given drugs ban

Great Britain centre Martin Gleeson has been given a three-year ban after testing positive for a banned stimulant and subsequently lying to the UK Anti-Doping Agency. Two former Hull officials have also been banned for their involvement. MORE

Sizzling Sri Lanka end barren run

Sri Lanka put an end to a 15-match winless run by securing their first Test victory in South Africa. With South Africa chasing 450 to win, Rangana Herath took 5 for 79 to help the visitors bowl the hosts out for 241 in Durban, levelling the series. MORE

Blatter in new corruption row

Fifa last night faced fresh accusations of corruption when former vice-president Jack Warner claimed he was awarded lucrative television rights for a nominal $1 in return for assisting Sepp Blatter's election as president. The 75-year-old was re-elected in June.

Adkins happy with Saintly style of play

Southampton manager Nigel Adkins believes his team's passing style has helped them lead the Championship table ahead of tonight's match against Bristol City: "We play football the right way. We do try to pass the ball but we try to do it effectively." MORE

Saints prepared to release Ashton

Northampton director Jim Mallinder has suggested the club are willing to allow Chris Ashton to depart as the wing's "mind is elsewhere"'. "There's no offer on the table," Mallinder said. "His agent doesn't want to talk." MORE

Opinion: James Lawton

If Tom Finney was judged purely on medals, he would be remem- bered as a plumber from Preston who played football rather well, though sadly without the satisfaction of winning anything more than a pat on the back. MORE