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NFL QB power rankings: Lamar Jackson, Dak Prescott up again; Tom Brady hangs with Jimmy Garoppolo for Week 12

first_imgThis week, it’s time to recognize that no one is playing the position better overall than the new leading candidate for MVP and also give more props for the big-time player in Big D. There’s no doubt this season has been all about the emergence of the best athletes at the position.From the best to the worst current starters for every team, let the debate continue.WEEK 12 NFL PICKS: Against the spread | Straight up (Getty Images) https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/ba/55/jimmy-garoppolo-110419-getty-ftrjpg_1tt8iwg55oen013kxl4jimvvq8.jpg?t=943670502&w=500&quality=80 (Getty Images) https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/95/26/lamar-jackson-102019-getty-ftrjpg_14cw51sm4xvb718mvhyxpj1szd.jpg?t=-344322163&w=500&quality=80 20. Jameis Winston, Buccaneers (16)Winston’s league-leading interception total (18) isn’t all his fault, but it’s high enough to drop him a few spots lower with younger QBs playing well. We still stick by the fact that the Buccaneers need to reinvest in him because he does have good chemistry with their main receivers, who no longer included O.J. Howard.21. Daniel Jones, Giants (21)Jones stays where he is coming out of his first bye as an NFL starter. The rookie first-rounder has shown plenty to think the Giants made the right pick at No.  6 overall. It looks like he will have Sterling Shepard back to help, but he could really use safety-valve tight ends Evan Engram and Rhett Ellison being healthy, too.22. Philip Rivers, Chargers (18)Speaking of interceptions, here’s another gunslinger who has thrown seven in the past two games. It’s clear, despite his declining arm strength, Rivers is trying to do too much to win games, leading to head-scratching veteran mistakes. Let’s hope the recency bias doesn’t hurt what had been a slam-dunk Hall of Fame case.23. Nick Foles, Jaguars (24)Foles returned to start in Indianapolis, throwing one interception that counted and another that was a “pick two” after a touchdown. The Jaguars immediately have gotten more aggressive throwing the ball downfield with him, which is good for second-year breakout wideout D.J. Chark but not so much for everyone else in the offense.24. Jared Goff, Rams (22)We’re to the point with Goff playing poorly, the Rams’ pass protection woes and receiver reshuffling that the team is starting to take the offense out of his hands. He’s failed to live up to his contract, given highly-paid, so-called elite QBs are supposed to lift their teams, not get buried under problems around them.25. Kyle Allen, Panthers (19)What was that? Allen saw Winston and Rivers with his four interceptions against the Falcons. The confidence he showed early as Cam Newton’s fill-in has been exchanged for tentative and rattled passing ever since this became an audition for a full-time gig in 2020. The irony is, Allen is starting to now prove he’s not the answer.NFL PLAYOFF PICTURE: Updated AFC, NFC standings for Week 1226. Jeff Driskel, Lions (30)Driskel isn’t very accurate and tends to take off and run a lot instead of hanging in there and extending to make pass plays. But he’s kept Detroit’s offense viable as best as he can with his physical skills given he’s a big dropoff from Matthew Stafford, who was arguably enjoying his career-best season.27. Mason Rudolph, Steelers (26)Rudolph was the fourth QB to have an interception meltdown in Week 12. Part of the problem is the Steelers don’t trust him to push the ball downfield, and now there are more running game issues and a key wide receiver injury to JuJu Smith-Schuster.28. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Dolphins (27)Fitzpatrick’s intangibles and toughness have meshed with the mentality of coach Brian Flores to turn the Dolphins from a joke to semi-respectable given their depleted talent. But the running game and defense aren’t good enough to overcome any real shakiness from him.29. Brandon Allen, Broncos (30)Allen gave the team some good fight in the near-upset against the Vikings, but his physical talent limitations are pretty evident. Expect to see rookie second-rounder Drew Lock get a shot soon so Denver knows how much it needs to think about drafting another QB, this time in the first round.30. Mitchell Trubisky, Bears (29)The end of the Rams’ game, when he sat out with a hip injury, has created only more mystery about Trubisky and how much Matt Nagy really wants to be attached to his third-year quarterback. Trubisky must finish the season strong in better matchups to regain his coach’s confidence (and his own), and the Giants and Lions back-to-back qualify.31. Dwayne Haskins, Redskins (31) Ranking NFL quarterbacks has never been more difficult. The league has never seen so many good passers (and runners) at the position as it has in 2019, from rising young stars to accomplished veterans with plenty of above-average players in between.Because our preseason rankings weren’t enough, we will keep doing weekly updates based on the natural fluctuation of football’s most important position. 10. Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers (11)Garoppolo is up to 10 interceptions, but he’s got that Brady comeback flair working for him. With a good three-week stretch, he’s up to a 68.8 completion percentage, 7.8 yards per attempt and a 97.7 passer rating. The narrative of him being the Niners’ weak link was lame. Watch him go to work now with all of his best weapons healthy together.11. Derek Carr, Raiders (13)Forget what we thought about Carr in the first year with Jon Gruden. He’s had a terrific comeback season — knock on wood if you’re with us. Carr is completing 72.3 percent of his passes at 8.0 yards per attempt, taking full advantage of superior pass protection and better receivers to post a playoff-worthy 105.2 passer rating.12. Carson Wentz, Eagles (8)Wentz is in the same situation as Brady, caught more in passing battles vs. his team’s own attrition. He’s lost some of his accuracy without having good opportunities to stretch the field with the deep ball. He’s hanging tough to keep the Eagles in the playoff race, but the numbers are down to a 61.2 completion percentage, 6.6 yards per attempt and a 91.4 rating.13. Matt Ryan, Falcons (12)Now that the Falcons are winning again with much better defense, you can go back to appreciating what Ryan keeps giving them as a steady, mentally tough force. His numbers are better than you think with 7.6 yards per attempt and a 97.8 rating.14. Jacoby Brissett, Colts (14)Brissett’s solid season had a hiccup with his knee injury, which also cost the Colts a couple of key games. They are a run-heavy team, but they need to let him loose a little more with his big arm, as they’ve gone a little conservative with their receiving limitations. He’s proved capable of handling being more playmaker than caretaker.15. Kyler Murray, Cardinals (15)The rookie keeps his solid upper-half position going to the bye. Coach Kilff Kingsbury has adapted his offense more to Murray’s strengths, and it’s shown as he’s strung together consecutive solid games with better red zone finishing.MORE: Kyler Murray flashing superstar skills of Lamar Jackson16. Baker Mayfield, Browns (17)It’s been a slow climb for Mayfield to get back to where he finished his rookie season. But he’s been sharp in the past two games, both wins, and it helps he’s getting more help from his backs and wide receivers when he throws. The schedule ahead gives him a chance to turn a sophomore slump into more third-year promise.17. Ryan Tannehill, Titans (20)Tannehill is 3-1 as Tennessee’s starter since taking over for Marcus Mariota, making strong decisions while being aggressive and accurate with the ball. He’s rounded out the offense to allow Derrick Henry to run well without being the sole center of attention. The Titans can’t be ruled out to make more wild-card and division noise down the stretch.18. Josh Allen, Bills (23)Allen had shown only marginal improvement from his rookie season, still relying a lot on his running, until he had a spectacular passing game against the lowly Dolphins in Week 12, the best of his young career. He’s done what he’s needed to do to put the Bills in playoff position.19. Sam Darnold, Jets (25)Darnold, like Mayfield and Allen, is beginning to find his groove again in an offense that caters to his strengths, albeit against weaker opponents. The early bout with mono hurt his preseason momentum with Adam Gase, and we’re seeing of late why that combination might work after all. NFL quarterback power rankings: Week 121. Lamar Jackson, Ravens (last week: 2)Jackson now has head-to-head victories over Russell Wilson and Deshaun Watson, outplaying them both in big games for his team. He was also greatly responsible for taking down the Patriots and their defense. He’s on pace for 3,612 yards passing and 30 TDs with 8.1 yards per attempt and a 106.3 passer rating. He’s also on pace for a record 1,250 yards rushing and 10 more TDs there. That’s one of the greatest individual seasons in NFL history, and therefore completely MVP-worthy.2. Russell Wilson, Seahawks (1)Wilson leads the NFL with his 114.9 passer rating and 23 passing TDs. He’s still firmly in the MVP conversation, as he keeps putting his team on his back, too. He can get his lead back from Jackson with a strong finish after a bye, but that might require him helping his team win the NFC West.3. Dak Prescott, Cowboys (5)Prescott leads the NFL with 3,221 passing yards after dropping 444 on the Lions last week. He’s on pace for 5,153 yards, which would be more than Patrick Mahomes posted in his 2018 MVP season. He’s doing it at 8.8 yards per attempt with a 104.1 passer rating. His nine interceptions with 21 TDs might keep him from getting enough juice for MVP behind Jackson and Wilson.4. Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs (3)Mahomes has proved he’s human battling through his own injuries as well as those to his receivers and offensive line. He still makes plenty of plays Kansas City needs with his arm and now more so with his legs. The lost time and reduced numbers probably rule out an MVP repeat, but he’s still rating 110.0 at 8.7 yards per attempt.5. Deshaun Watson, Texans (4)Watson did his typical rebound from a bad game in making the big plays needed to take down the Colts on Thursday night, with a big assist from the return of speedy deep threat Will Fuller to complement and open up more things downfield for DeAndre Hopkins. Watson is having a special season with his arm and legs to be on par with the quartet above.NFL POWER RANKINGS: Ravens jump Patriots, Cowboys climb6. Kirk Cousins, Vikings (10)Cousins was also overdue for a big bump with his impressive pocket passing, as he’s averaging 8.6 yards per attempt in rating just behind Wilson at a ridiculous 114.8 with 21 TDs to only three interceptions. The big-game narrative on him has quickly changed, as he’s locked into all of his receivers, playing well off the run with a 70.6 completion percentage to boot.7. Aaron Rodgers, Packers (6)Rodgers is only at 7.8 yards per attempt, and his 102.7 passer rating is actually a little shy of his career mark (103.1). But he’s no longer asked to carry Green Bay with Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams doing damage out of the backfield and the pass defense much improved.8. Drew Brees, Saints (9)Brees is completing 75.4 percent of his passes over his five games, adding up to a 104.8 passer rating despite being at only 7.6 yards per attempt. New Orleans continues to be more about the defense and running game, but he’s back to pouring on some great gravy.9. Tom Brady, Patriots (7)Brady hasn’t dropped off as much people would like to think beyond some of the natural decline you would expect at age 42. He has also kept his team winning despite the offensive frustrations that include shaky line play, an inept power running game and a compressed passing game that’s short on healthy impact wide receivers. He still has plenty of GOAT equity, but consider he’s down to 6.8 yards per attempt and a 90.1 passer rating. (Getty Images) https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/7a/bc/jameis-winston-getty-112219-ftrjpg_fwqqbwg623os1iqpkqacy1i4k.jpg?t=-1811874346&w=500&quality=80 Haskins played better against the Jets with the added benefit of being at home after a bye. Washington was slow on fully supporting him as a first-round pick, but perhaps some accelerated development will make the organization feel better about his franchise status for 2020.32. Ryan Finley, Bengals (32)The rookie is pretty much just handing off to Joe Mixon because he’s been shaky throwing the ball with major receiver limitations. The fact that Cincinnati isn’t trying to give him a real audition indicates it is headed toward taking a true franchise QB at the top of the 2020 draft.last_img read more

Charlotte and Kate fly the English flag

first_img Bibby loves the game and wants to make a career out of it. This summer she’s been testing her skills on the English amateur circuit and her results have included qualifying seventh in the English women’s match play and being knocked out only by the eventual champion.  Altogether, nine players beat par with impressive scoring on a dreary day punctuated by frequent showers. They included Thalia Kirby (Harleyford), Harriet Lynch (Thorndon Park) and Mimi Rhodes (Burnham & Berrow). In the U14 championship, Kate Bibby (pictured left) leads the way for England, two off the lead.  Pina Ortega, 14, played in last year’s championship but missed the cut. Today her driver and putter were on good form and she described her round as “Incredible.” Today she had three bogeys and a birdie. “It was ok,” was her verdict. “I could have played better by not missing some silly putts.” Heath’s round was her personal best and included two eagles on par fives. “I was just steady, took my chances when they came and scrambled well when I had to,” said the 15-year-old from Huddersfield (pictured top). She trains with an England U16 regional squad and has already won the 2017 Pleasington Putter, a prestigious women’s scratch event.  Yorkshire’s Charlotte Heath shot four-under par 68 to share the lead after the first round of the English U16 girls’ open championship at Blackmoor, Hampshire.  She’s tied with Finland’s Kerttu Hiltunen, while girl internationals Annabell Fuller and Caitlin Whitehead are a stroke behind.  Whitehead (Kendal, Cumbria) came in towards the end of the day with praise for the course. “If you hit it straight and down the middle you can score well. If you don’t it will penalise you, so it’s a fair course.”  8 Aug 2017 Charlotte and Kate fly the English flag Click here for full scores Fuller, 15, (Roehampton) has arrived at this championship fresh from the European Young Masters where she was third overall and helped England win the team championship.  In the companion U14 championship, the lead is held on level par 72 by Ana Pina Ortega, while England’s Kate Bibby shares fourth place on 74. She’s chasing three girls: the leader Pina Ortega and two players on one-over, Andreina D’Angelo of Italy and Elodi Nuvoloni of France.  Hiltunen, 14, was joint runner-up in last year’s U14 championship and hopes to go one better in the U16s – and has brought good form with her, having won the Finnish U16 championship earlier this summer.  She had five birdies in her round today but commented: “I didn’t hit it as well as I normally do, I’m going to go and sort that out, but I did have quite a lot of up and downs and saved a lot of shots by doing that.”  The 13-year-old is Dubai-based and very well-travelled, having also lived in the USA, England and Canada. She took up golf when she was eight, encouraged by her father, whose interest in golf was sparked by his college friend, Matt Kuchar.  She did exactly that today staying out of the heather, holing out well and, along the way, collecting an eagle three on the seventh and back-to-back birdies to finish.  Images copyright Leaderboard Photography Tags: English U16 girls’last_img read more

Local Roundup: Former Humboldt State lineman Dillon Reagan passes away

first_imgBefore his time at HSU, … Former Humboldt State offensive lineman Dillon Reagan passed away Wednesday.The Issaquah, Washington native was a two-year starter for the Lumberjacks in 2012 and 2013 and twice earned All-Great Northwest Athletic Conference honors. He served as a team captain for the 2013 season.Reagan was a national finalist for the Uplifting Athlete Award. He battled Cushing’s disease and, despite having one functional lung, started all 11 games of the 2012 season.last_img

Warriors-Pelicans cheatsheet: MVP hopeful Anthony Davis looking to wreck Golden State’s good vibes

first_imgThe Warriors are coming off one of their biggest wins of the season, but the Pelicans, led by MVP-candidate Anthony Davis, will look to spoil the champs’ good vibes Tuesday night.Here’s everything you need to know about the matchup.When/Where: Oracle Arena, 7:30 p.m.Pelicans projected starting lineup: Anthony Davis, Julius Randle, Elfrid Payton, Jrue Holiday, E’Twaun Moore Pelicans Stock Report: Since the last matchup between these two teams, the Pelicans have hovered around .500, …last_img read more

Warriors’ reaction to Andrew Bogut’s standing ovation

first_imgKlay Thompson subscribes. You can too for just 11 cents a day for 11 months + receive a free Warriors Championship book. Sign me up!OAKLAND – Well before he even stepped on the court, Andrew Bogut received the loudest ovation of the night.The reason: the Warriors played a tribute video capturing Bogut’s previous four-year stop (2012-2016) that coincided with the team’s first NBA title in 40 years (2015) and a record-setting regular-season (2015-16).It only seemed fitting the Warriors would …last_img read more

Researchers Predict U.S. Furnace Industry Is Doomed

first_img Sign up for a free trial and get instant access to this article as well as GBA’s complete library of premium articles and construction details. This article is only available to GBA Prime Members OAK RIDGE, TENN., April 1 — According to Andrei Constantinescu, a senior researcher at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, it won’t be long before new American homes no longer require central heating. “Every year, the heat produced by electronic gadgets is increasing,” explained Constantinescu. “By 2014, most new American homes won’t need a furnace.”As televisions get larger, their heat output increases. “Four plasma TVs can heat a house in Kentucky,” said Constantinescu. “If you throw in a set-top box and two or three computers, you should be fine as far north as Maine.”Data from the Energy Information Administration confirm that the average heat output of electronic gadgets has been rising for years. “It’s only a matter of time before furnace manufacturers have to close their doors,” Constantinescu predicted. Carrier Corporation has already announced plans to move its corporate headquarters from Farmington, Conn., to Fairbanks, Alaska, where the demand for residential furnaces may last until 2018.According to Julie Flack, media coordinator for the American Association of Electronic Gadget Manufacturers (AAEGM), heating a home with plasma TVs makes a lot of sense. “When you go to bed, it’s important to leave all of your TVs on,” Flack advised. “Especially on cold winter nights.”The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has been closely monitoring the heating-with-your-television trend. “Beginning in 2016, television labels will be required to include heat output in BTUH,” said DOE spokesperson Christine Keely. “The new labels will be a boon to consumers. If your home has a design heat loss of 30,000 BTUH, and you’re shopping for three new TVs, just be sure that each TV has a minimum heat output of 10,000 BTUH.”Editor’s note: This news story has been published a day ahead of Holladay’s usual Friday blog posting in order to meet the April 1st press… center_img Start Free Trial Already a member? Log inlast_img read more

10 months agoAston Villa boss Smith reveals face-to-face Abraham talks about Wolves

first_imgAston Villa boss Smith reveals face-to-face Abraham talks about Wolvesby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveAston Villa boss Dean Smith has urged Tammy Abraham to stay and fire them into the Premier League.Smith talked face-to-face with the 21-year-old on-loan Chelsea striker to find out if he was still keen on a temporary switch to Wolves.“Monday was an agreed day off for Tammy,” said Smith. “He came back in on Tuesday. I spoke to him then about his attitude, and it’s been spot-on since then.”He’s been happy here. I asked if he was looking to go elsewhere and he reiterated he was happy to be at Villa , was enjoying playing here and enjoying scoring goals — and nothing more was really said to him. I’ve said right from the outset I couldn’t see him going anywhere, and I’d have been amazed if he had.“The way I look at it, he’s scored 23 goals in this league before with Bristol City. He’s got 16 now. He’s got 20 games to go, if he scores another ten he’s never playing in the Championship again. He’s a Premier League player who’s here, playing in the Championship with us. We’re hoping he can score the goals to take us to the Premier League.”On the prospect of Wolves taking Abraham on-loan, Smith added: “I don’t believe a recall to send him on loan again would have made sense. He’s been on loan three times already. He’s enjoying his football here and long may that continue.“I think everyone knew there was a release clause if Chelsea wanted to pull him back. But my understanding is that if they had activated it it would be for him to play for them, because they had no intention of selling him.“His state of mind is fine. This has been going on for two or three weeks now and he’s scored goals in that time.” TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

Azamara Pursuit Christened in Southampton

first_imgzoomImage Courtesy: Royal Caribbean Cruises Azamara Pursuit, the latest fleet addition of the Azamara Club Cruises, a brand of Royal Caribbean Cruises, has been christened in Southampton, U.K., marking its official debut.“Since the announcement of Azamara Pursuit in September 2017, we have eagerly awaited this special moment to celebrate the ship’s debut,” said Larry Pimentel, President & CEO of Azamara Club Cruises. “Azamara Pursuit’s two godmothers both have a fearless dedication to adventure, and we could not be more pleased for them to lead us in this ceremony.”Namely, Azamara Pursuit’s two Godmothers are Ellen Asmodeo-Giglio and Lucy Huxley.The perfect end to the perfect @AzamaraPursuit naming ceremony day! We’re now setting sail to Cherbourg, France. Stay tuned for more excitement tomorrow! pic.twitter.com/hv2bXhEiws— Azamara Club Cruises (@AzamaraVoyages) August 28, 2018 Azamara Pursuit will now journey from Southampton, U.K. to Barcelona, Spain on a 13-Night Wine & Romance Voyage.The ship is one of the four new cruise ships joining Royal Caribbean Cruises this year aside to Symphony of the Seas , Mein Schiff 1, which have already been delivered, and Celebrity Edge, to be delivered later this year.It is the third ship in Azamara Club Cruises’s fleet, joining Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest, which are designed for approximately 700 guests.  The 180-meter ship was built in 2011 for Renaissance Cruises. It was acquired by Azamara Club Cruises back in September 2017, and following an extensive refurbishment, has joined the brand, boosting its fleet capacity by over 50 pct.The naming ceremony can be watched at the link below:last_img read more

RCMP send Underwater Recover Team to Gillam in search for Northern BC

first_imgThere will be no access to media of the dive area or to the divers.Updates will continue to be provided by News Release and on the Manitoba RCMP social media accounts.GILLAM, M.B. – Manitoba RCMP are sending an underwater recovery team to the Nelson River near Gillam.The RCMP are still searching for the Gillam area for Bryer Schemeglsky and Kam McLeod.  The two were last seen in the area on July 22, 2019.The RCMP’s Underwater Recovery Team will arrive in Gillam Saturday night and will start searching the Nelson River on Sunday.There is no official word on why the dive team was called in, but a reporter with the Globe and Mail tweeted the following. While driving north from Fox Lake Cree Nation on PR 290 this aft @RenataDAliesio and I were turned back by RCMP. A rowboat the police found banged up in the Nelson River May have spurred them to bring in a dive team. Renata’s story: https://t.co/9QAdL2ZI57#canadamanhunt pic.twitter.com/5wwEwsM8GG— Melissa Tait (@meltait) August 4, 2019The RCMP say members of the team are highly trained and have access to a range of advanced equipment to assist in their underwater searches.Earlier this week the RCMP announced they would scall back the search for Schmegelsky and McLeod in Northern Manitoba.  In the next Province, the OPP have been investigating several tips that the pair is now in that Province.  So far the OPP have not been able to confirm the tips. UPDATE – As the search for Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmeglsky continues, we are able to provide the following update.On Friday afternoon, RCMP officers searching from a helicopter, located a damaged aluminum boat on the shore of the Nelson River.Based on this new information, five members of the RCMP Underwater Recovery Team (URT) were immediately deployed. They arrived in Gillam on Saturday, August 3rd, and are expected to conduct a thorough underwater search of significant areas of interest today.center_img Police continue to stress, that if you believe you’ve seen Kam McLeod and Bryer Schemelsky, contact your local police department immediately or 911.  Sightings have been posted to social media before being shared with the RCMP, that has caused delays in the investigation.According to MyGrandePrairieNow.com, the RCMP have confirmed the pair were seen in a Fairview Gas Station on July 20.  The sighting was not reported to the RCMP until several days later.  This is the second confirmed sighting of the pair in Alberta.The last confirmed sighting of the pair was on July 22 in Gillam Manitoba.  The pair are wanted in connection with three homicides in Northern B.C. that all occurred during the week of July 15, 2019.last_img read more

Eyeing the European Crown

first_imgAn impressive UCL campaign has seen Barcelona end their quarter-final curse (2016-2018) and reach the 8th semi-final in the last 12 years. As the only European giant standing in the elite competition, Barcelona is pipped as favourites to lift the trophy for the 6th time. Subduing Inter and Spurs in the group stage and Lyon in last 16, Barça were matched against Manchester United in a rematch of the two UCL finals (2009, 2011). And, similar to those finals, Barcelona triumphed owing to the brilliance of their talisman Lionel Messi who is in dazzling form leading the scoring charts with ten goals. Barcelona’s balanced performance in attack, midfield, defence as well as a calm and cautious goalkeeper means it would be an apt test of Liverpool’s overly attacking gameplay. They have conceded less and Camp Nou’s effectively a fortress with Barça unbeaten in Europe since 2013. Drawn against second favourites Liverpool means this semi-final will be a goal fest given the firepower both sides possess. Barça possesses the flair, experience, and vision to make it to Madrid but will have to be careful given the scintillating form the Reds are in. Also Read – Puducherry on top after 8-wkt win over Chandigarh Gameplay: Possession, high-press and pace on the break remain Barça’s dominant traits. Their mesmerising momentum shift, sharp passing, crisp one-twos, delicate through-balls and devastating long balls are capable of unlocking any defence. Key Players: Lionel Messi and Luis SuárezMemories of the final defeat last season to Real Madrid must have brought a horde of realisations and ensuing improvisations – strengthening defence for starters. Liverpool possesses the deadliest attacking trio right now with the possibility of goals coming from any direction. Klopp’s two years at the helm have created a team that does not sit back waiting for a chance on the break but instead looks forward to orchestrating the game, with reinvigorated counter-attacks and a better conversion rate of attempts to the goal. Liverpool came out of group stage courtesy of more goals after being tied on points and head-to-head with Napoli. Removing Bayern Munich in a sensational away match performance in last 16, Liverpool’s quarter-final clash against Porto was a cake walk (Agg. 6-1). Making it to a consecutive semi-final, the Reds’ bolstered defence and ultra-high pressing will certainly cause problems for the Spanish giants. Pursuing a neck-to-neck league title race against City, Liverpool will have to tactically rotate the squad in order to produce the sublime performance they have, so far or they could jeopardise chances of silverware in both competitions. Also Read – Vijender’s next fight on Nov 22, opponent to be announced later Gameplay: Strong defence, explosive pressing and the in-form attacking trio provide balance to the team. A serious counter-attacking threat, Liverpool can unleash Mane and Salah through long balls creating certain goal opportunities. Key Players: Virgil van Dijk and Mo SalahHaving brushed aside league rivals Manchester City in a high-octane match, Spurs has already made history. Their first semi-final berth in 57 years of Europe’s elite competition was achieved in a dramatic fashion trumping the citizens who were favourites to win and advancing on away goals. A seven-goal thriller with a meandering scoreboard kept everyone at the edge of their seats till the final whistle as City failed to overturn the aggregate deficit despite winning 4-3 on the night. Spurs are accredited with an admirable fighting spirit which has brought them from being almost out of the group stage to a maiden UCL semi-final appearance. The 1-0 home victory against Inter and late Lucas Moura goal at Camp Nou on the last matchday facilitated their progress from the group stage based on a better head-to-head record against Inter. In the round of 16, they edged past an in-form Dortmund with a comfortable 4-0 aggregate score. Spurs’ all-out attack might just leave them vulnerable to Ajax’s sustained gameplay and it would be better if they balance their efforts while not letting Ajax get an away goal. Gameplay: Spurs maintain an average possession while stressing on counter attacks to surprise opponents owing to their great speed on the break. Pochettino’s ‘attack is the best defence’ strategy fits their narrative. Key players: Son Heung-Min and C EriksonWith an exhilarating performance at Turin to reach the semi-finals after 20 years, Ajax has demonstrated that efficient team dynamics can outclass big fishes owing to one simple fact: Football is a team game. Smooth passing, neat one-twos, flexible yet maintained team positioning and balanced attack and defence have all accounted for Ajax’s dream run in the UCL this season. Having not lost a single game back in the group stage, Ajax has since taken on European heavyweights one after another and produced beautiful football. Drawing both matches against Bayern, defeating Real Madrid in Bernabéu (1-4) and usurping favourites Juventus to book a place in the semi-finals, a team of youngsters has left the world in awe of its resilience and skill. Led by 19-year-old Matthijs de Ligt, this Ajax side has suddenly stimulated the global audience with its vibrant and young squad outplaying the veterans of UCL. For Ajax, style is not an alternative to substance but a route to it and through its unwavering faith and high-performance tempo, they have axed their way through to the top four. In a match of comparative underdogs, Ajax might just trump Spurs owing to their majestic form this season. Gameplay: Displaying total football in all its glory, Ajax’s philosophy of high-pressing, more possession and controlled tempo fits their explosive energy. Key Players: Frenkie de Jong and Matthijs de Ligtlast_img read more