Springboks watching Irish defeat; Klopp needs to lead Liverpool home

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

reland’s Devin Toner and England’s Maro Itoje. Photograph: Tom Honan/The Irish Times

reland’s Devin Toner and England’s Maro Itoje. Photograph: Tom Honan/The Irish Times

Ireland’s humbling defeat to England in Saturday’s Six Nations opener will leave not only mental scars, but according to Gerry Thornley, there’s been plenty of physical damage left too. Medical updates on CJ Stander, Devin Toner, Keith Earls and Garry Ringrose are expected today. Liam Toland believes that England have come up with perfect blueprint to defeat Ireland, and South Africa, for one, would have the wherewithal to replicate their successful tactics in the World Cup: “Rassie Erasmus is an extremely intelligent rugby man with a deep knowledge of Irish rugby and will be plotting for the strong possibility of an Irish–Springbok quarter-final at the World Cup.”

Manchester City maintained the pressure on league leaders Liverpool with a 3-1 win over Arsenal yesterday evening - thanks to a hat-trick from Sergio Aguero. The win leaves City two points ahead of Liverpool who play their game in hand against West Ham tonight. In his column this morning, Ken Early writes that manager Jurgen Klopp must exude the confidence which guides Liverpool and their struggling fans home: “Klopp’s natural optimism would make him an oddity in the stands at Anfield, where the mood more often oscillates crazily between bullish overconfidence and depressive, paranoid fatalism, with slack-jawed interludes of glassy-eyed torpor.”

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