Liverpool pick up first win of 2023; Defending champion Nadal out of Australian Open

The Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team


Liverpool have their first win of 2023 at the fourth attempt, with Jurgen Klopp’s team progressing to the fourth round of the FA Cup after a 1-0 win over Wolves. The injury-hit holders started with a number of youngsters and one of them, Harvey Elliott produced the game winner with a solo effort in the first half of the third round replay at Molineux. One of Britain’s richest people, Jim Ratcliffe, has confirmed his company is in the running to buy Manchester United from the Glazer family.

Rafael Nadal’s defence of his Australian Open title has ended in injury and defeat by American Mackenzie McDonald in the second round. A retirement seemed on the cards, with the Spaniard’s wife Maria crying in the stands, but he opted to continue despite limping around the court. Nadal managed to hold his serve until the 11th game, roared on by fans still believing he could somehow turn things around, but it was a case of when not if McDonald would find a way through and he finished off a 6-4 6-4 7-5 victory.

Munster outhalf Ben Healy, who will join Edinburgh in the summer, has been named in the Scotland squad for the upcoming Six Nations. Wales and France have both also named their squads. Reflecting on the social media reaction to the All-Ireland Junior Football Championship final at Croke Park over the weekend, Gordon D’Arcy explains in his weekly column why trying to defend the indefensible is not the way forward for either the GAA or rugby: “The parish, club, county culture in GAA is to rarely castigate one of their own if the spotlight can be retrained elsewhere. It represents the sport’s Sicilian defence, trying to grab that centre ground in any disciplinary process.”

Meanwhile, Ian Poulter who last year joined the controversial Saudi-backed LIV Golf tour, has suggested he could decline to play for Europe in this year’s Ryder Cup even if he qualifies, in the latest indication of the deep tensions within golf. “I don’t know where my head is with that,” he told reporters. “It [the Ryder Cup] is the only thing that has mattered to me for 20 years and when you feel like things change you might feel a little differently.”