Rodgers said he has “complete confidence” that any player he signs for Liverpool will not be a disruptive influence. He can see why some might perceive signing Balotelli as a risk, but one worth taking. “With every player we assess and look at, of course, character is very important and no player would come here if I felt it couldn’t work,” Rodgers said. “If I feel someone cares enough, I will give them everything, and thankfully we have a culture here that creates talents and gives them the opportunity to blossom. “As long as they show they care and want to learn and develop, we can give them the opportunity.” He added: “Players and people come in all different shapes and sizes and have different traits. You can’t throw a blanket over everyone. “This isn’t like many clubs. Liverpool is a club that is a real strong family football club, with values and ethics that run over many years. “I, as the manager, will fight to protect that always, so no matter what player or professional at the club, they will abide by that. “But we understand that sometimes you have to take a risk with people. And a lot of the time, if you take that risk you can get a reward for it.” Balotelli is a proven performer, but the baggage that comes with him is considerable. His spell with Manchester City from summer 2010 to January 2013 was a whirlwind one, with occasional sparkling performances interspersed with volatility on the field and erratic behaviour off it. He will not be able to feature against his old club in Monday’s contest at the Etihad Stadium as his transfer would have needed to have been completed by midday on Friday for him to be eligible. Adam Lallana, signed by Liverpool this summer from Southampton, is still awaiting his competitive Reds debut due to a knee injury and although he has reached the latter stages of his rehabilitation, the City game comes too soon for him to be involved. However, fellow midfielder and new recruit Lazar Markovic is fit enough to be in contention to make his bow, and there could be a first run-out for defender Alberto Moreno too following his switch last week from Sevilla. Jose Enrique’s condition will be assessed, while Daniel Agger, Jon Flanagan and Oussama Assaidi remain sidelined. Press Association Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has warned that no incoming player will be allowed to threaten the “fantastic environment” at the club as Mario Balotelli’s proposed transfer to the Merseyside outfit apparently edges ever closer. And while Rodgers, who looks set for a remarkable about-turn after insisting around three weeks ago that he “categorically” would not be signing Balotelli, was unwilling to refer to the player by name on Friday afternoon, he did emphasise there is an “extensive code of conduct” at Anfield to be adhered to. Initially asked about Balotelli at his press conference to preview Monday’s Barclays Premier League clash with Manchester City, Rodgers said with a smile: “I can categorically tell you that I can’t speak about it until the player is signed. “If we sign anyone, I will speak at length about them, but until then I can’t say anything.” Rodgers did, though, then go on to speak about the standards of behaviour expected at Liverpool and his determination to protect them, indicating that Balotelli would be subject to the same rules as everyone else at the club. He said: “I think every club will have a code of conduct for the people and professionals who work (for them). “We have quite an extensive code of conduct for players and staff – there is no specific one for any one individual. “We have a fantastic environment here and a great culture, and I think it is something that was very important for us to create and build here. “There will be nothing that will ever shake that or provoke it in any way. It is something I always protect at the club.” With the Reds having reportedly agreed a £16million fee with AC Milan for Balotelli, the mercurial Italy striker was understood to be flying to England on Friday afternoon ahead of a medical. A key aspect of discussions between Liverpool and Balotelli’s agent – said to have taken place on Thursday evening, continued on Friday and progressed well – is believed to be the club’s desire to obtain assurances about the 24-year-old’s behaviour.
Ex- Ghana star Abdul Razak is relishing a return to coaching in the Ghana Premier league after a three year lacuna.Abdul Razak is best remembered in the Ghana Premier league for helping Asante Kotoko end a ten year league title drought in 2003.The former Black Stars player who had his last coaching stint in Ghana with Real Tamale United was sacked by Malian side Stade Malien last season following poor run of results in the domestic league and the CAF Champions League.The 1978 African footballer of year popularly known as the Golden Boy has kept a low profile since leaving the Malien side but now wants to resume work from the dugout.“I’m back from Mali and trying to take things easy but still training and will return to coaching here soon”. He told JOY Sports“You don’t have to stay away from the game because you are not attached to any team, I’m always preparing myself for any challenge that comes”
For Lakers’ LeBron James, Jacob Blake’s shooting is bigger issue than a big Game 4 victory Good news, bad news – all of it’s part of the process.So says Kawhi Leonard, a two-time NBA champion who, regardless of the outcome, has preached perspective since embarking on his first season with the Clippers almost a month ago.Said Leonard, following Monday’s 98-88 victory over the Toronto Raptors at Staples Center: “It’s gonna take success, mistakes, arguments and losing games and winning games to get to that next level.”Then, after Wednesday’s 102-93 loss at Houston, Leonard said: “Just because we lose or win a game, or everything goes smooth, every night is a building process for us. Tonight definitely was. It was another game where we see what our guys like to do on the defensive and offensive end. We learn from it and stay moving.” BIG FAVORSIn the victory, the Pelicans enjoyed a career night from Derrick Favors, who grabbed 20 rebounds (and scored 20 points) as New Orleans outrebounded the Clippers 52-37. The Clippers also gave up 20 rebounds to Clint Capela on Wednesday night, when both teams pulled down 53.The Clippers come home leading by a smaller average margin on the boards – 47.8 to 45 – than they did when they left for the two-game trip, proud of their 48.3-43.5 advantage.“We heard a lot of people talking like we’re gonna be outrebounded every night and we took that personally,” center Ivica Zubac said before grabbing nine rebounds in only 22 minutes of action in the two losses. “We just want to show it don’t matter if you got a lot of big guys or not, we just go and get it.” Clippers vs. Mavericks Game 5 playoff updates from NBA beat reporters Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Kristaps Porzingis ruled out as Clippers, Mavericks set for Game 5; Follow for game updates HELLO, RODNEYRodney McGruder also made a positive impression in his eighth game with the team, draining a career-best five 3-pointers (in seven attempts) en route to 20 points, two short of tying a career-high for the fourth-year NBA guard, who entered the game having scored only seven points this season.Related Articles Clippers hope they can play to their capabilities, quell Mavericks’ momentum The scoring part of it went pretty well, though. Historically well, in fact.George’s 33 points (in 24 minutes, on 10-of-17 shooting) goes down as the fourth-most points in a Clippers debut, behind only Sam Cassell’s 35 in 2005, Phil Smith’s 35 in 1980 and Dominique Wilkins’ 34 in 1994.Moreover, according to Elias Sports Bureau, no player had finished with 30-plus points in 25 or fewer minutes in his first game with a team. Previously, the fewest minutes for a 30-point game in a team debut was Bobby Portis’ 30 points in 27:28 during his first game with the Wizards last season. What the Clippers are saying the day after Luka Doncic’s game-winner tied series, 2-2 To ease the stress on his sore left knee, Leonard didn’t play in Paul George’s debut on Thursday – a 132-127 loss at New Orleans that dropped the Clippers to 7-5 and 0-3 without Leonard in the lineup – but he’s expected to join George on the court for the first time Saturday.It will be an important chapter in the ongoing education of the new-look Clippers, who continue with five consecutive home games, scheduled every other day starting Saturday against sensational second-year guard Trae Young (27.3 points, 9.1 assists) and the Atlanta Hawks (4-7).“We look forward to having our whole group back,” Clippers guard Lou Williams told reporters after logging a season-high 41 minutes Wednesday, fewer than 24 hours before he started for the third time this season and played nearly 37 minutes against the Pelicans.“We put a lot on Lou,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said in his postgame media address Thursday. “I thought Lou got tired one stretch. … So when you have all three of those guys offensively, you can take a (guy) like a Jrue Holiday (six steals Thursday) out of the game because whoever he’s guarding, you can play with the other two.”SPLASHY DEBUTFollowing his first game on the court as a Clipper, George said he saw lots of room to improve in terms of “just playing basketball.”