Liverpool are set to welcome back a key influence for Sunday’s trip to Manchester City.
The Reds go to the Etihad Stadium looking to return to the top of the Premier League ahead of the forthcoming international break, and knowing that a win would see them strike a huge blow in the title race.
Jurgen Klopp’s men have lost on each of their last three trips to the Etihad in the league, although last season’s 4-0 defeat did come in the days after they had been celebrating winning the title for the first time in 30 years.
One of the key developments since that title win has of course been the serious knee injury sustained by star defender Virgil van Dijk, but Klopp seems set to welcome back Joel Matip for the visit to Pep Guardiola’s side.
Liverpool’s last three matches have each seen a different player start alongside Joe Gomez in the centre of their defence, with Fabinho starting the Champions League clash against FC Midtjylland before going off injured.
The Brazilian was then replaced by Nat Phillips for last Saturday’s Premier League win over West Ham, and then with Phillips not registered for the Champions League it was teenager Rhys Williams who came in for the midweek trip to Atalanta.
Now though, it appears that Matip will return to the side to partner Gomez and make his first appearance since last month’s Merseyside derby.
He started that game with Gomez coming on for the injured Van Dijk, but incredibly this clash at the Etihad seems likely to be the first time that Matip and Gomez start together in the heart of the Liverpool defence.
Klopp faces a dilemma over who to select in attack, with the in-form Diogo Jota and mainstay Roberto Firmino both hoping to start alongside Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah.
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Table-toppers MI are on course to make it to the playoffs but the game is crucial for Rajasthan, who are languishing at seventh place and a loss would mean a step closer to elimination
Skipper Rohit Sharma’s fitness would be a concern for defending champions Mumbai Indians as they aim to continue their dominant run, while a depleted Rajasthan Royals would hope to stay afloat when the two teams clash here on Sunday.
Mumbai roared back to form by crushing Chennai Super Kings by 10 wickets on Friday after their Super Over loss to Kings XI Punjab. Royals, on the other hand, lost to Sunrisers Hyderabad by eight wickets in their last game.
Table-toppers MI are on course to make it to the playoffs but the game is crucial for Rajasthan, who are languishing at seventh place and a loss would mean a step closer to elimination.
Questions remain on whether Rohit, who suffered a hamstring injury and missed the game against CSK, will be available on Sunday. However, Rohit’s absence was hardly felt on Friday as the young Ishan Kishan launched into CSK bowlers with gusto.
So did Quinton de Kock, continuing his sublime run. In the event of Rohit missing out on Sunday as well, the two will open again.
Mumbai’s middle-order has also been among runs — be it Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya, all-rounder Kieron Pollard or Krunal Pandya. Their bowlers are also wreaking havoc.
For more on today’s top stories and the spread of the novel coronavirus across the country, please refer to our live updates below throughout the day, as well as our COVID-19 news hub.
Alberta premier isolating after cabinet minister tests positive
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is isolating after municipal affairs minister Tracy Allard tested positive for COVID-19. The premier is not known to have any COVID-19 symptoms at this point.
Transport minister Ric McIver and multiple MLAs are also considered close contacts to this case.
This comes as the province reports a significant increase in daily cases, hitting 406 on Wednesday, breaking the single-day record in Alberta. There are now 3,372 active cases in the province, with the majority of cases in the Edmonton zone.
Three more deaths were reported in the province, two in Edmonton and one in Calgary.
Ontario premier defends bill that would provide liability protection for long-term care homes
At a press conference on Wednesday, Ontario Premier Doug Ford was pushed to answer questions about a new bill that was introduced Tuesday, which would provide liability protection to some workers, businesses and non-profits against COVID-19-related lawsuits.
When asked about long-term care homes, and families of residents in these facilities being able to hold these institutions accountable for their actions (particularly after the number of deaths due to COVID-19 infections), Ford reinforced that the bill would not prevent individuals from suing long-term care homes for “gross negligence.”
“This does not protect the long-term care homes, 100 per cent by any means,” the premier said, adding that he specifically asked about that fact yesterday.
A statement from Donna Duncan, CEO of the Ontario Long Term Care Association, released Tuesday, supports the proposed legislation.
“Long-term care homes care for more than 79,000 residents across Ontario and they deserve quality healthcare and safe accommodations,” the statement reads. “Liability protection is a necessary measure to stabilize and renew Ontario’s entire long-term care sector.”
“Without it, many insurance companies will cease coverage, as they have already begun to do, putting homes across the province at risk and jeopardizing their expansion and renewal.”
Meanwhile, on Tuesday Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath slammed the bill and its impact on families of seniors in long-term care, who are victims of poor care and management.
“Today, the Ford government tabled a bill obviously designed to shield itself and for-profit long-term care corporations from accountability,” Horwath’s statement reads. “More than 1,900 people have died in long-term care during this pandemic, shattering thousands of families.”
“Doug Ford didn’t protect them — but is now protecting the very companies that let them die in horrible conditions. I’m appalled at this move to deny families the justice, accountability