Europe Discards Arsenal and Liverpool Shift Focus to EPL Title Race

 Liverpool's manager Jurgen Klopp takes his hat off to Liverpool supporters at the end of the Europa League quarterfinal, second leg, soccer match between Atalanta and Liverpool at the Stadio di Bergamo, in Bergamo, Italy, Thursday, April 18, 2024. (AP)
Liverpool's manager Jurgen Klopp takes his hat off to Liverpool supporters at the end of the Europa League quarterfinal, second leg, soccer match between Atalanta and Liverpool at the Stadio di Bergamo, in Bergamo, Italy, Thursday, April 18, 2024. (AP)
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Europe Discards Arsenal and Liverpool Shift Focus to EPL Title Race

 Liverpool's manager Jurgen Klopp takes his hat off to Liverpool supporters at the end of the Europa League quarterfinal, second leg, soccer match between Atalanta and Liverpool at the Stadio di Bergamo, in Bergamo, Italy, Thursday, April 18, 2024. (AP)
Liverpool's manager Jurgen Klopp takes his hat off to Liverpool supporters at the end of the Europa League quarterfinal, second leg, soccer match between Atalanta and Liverpool at the Stadio di Bergamo, in Bergamo, Italy, Thursday, April 18, 2024. (AP)

What will it take to win the English Premier League with six games remaining? That’s easy — perfection.

Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool — all eliminated from their European competitions this week — are locked in a tight battle for the title.

Defending champion City leads both rivals by two points but with Pep Guardiola’s team playing an FA Cup semifinal against Chelsea on Saturday, Arsenal and Liverpool can gain ground.

“If you want to be champion in the Premier League, you have to be close to perfection,” Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said on Friday ahead of a visit to Fulham on Sunday.

“Anything other than perfect, you have to deal with the setbacks in the best possible way. That’s what we are now doing. We had a setback week,” he said. “Now we have to start turning it around.”

Arsenal, too.

Mikel Arteta’s team gets first crack at retaking the league lead when it visits Wolverhampton on Saturday.

Arsenal lost at home to Aston Villa 2-0 last Sunday and was eliminated from the Champions League by Bayern Munich on Wednesday.

“We don’t have to talk too much, it’s about showing against Wolves what we are made of to turn this situation around and it can look really positive,” Arteta said on Friday.

The second-place Gunners lead Liverpool on goal difference.

Like Arsenal, Klopp’s team lost ground to City last Sunday by losing at home to Crystal Palace 1-0. That was days after a surprise 3-0 loss to Atalanta at Anfield in the Europa League quarterfinals. The Reds won the second leg 1-0 in Bergamo but were still knocked out.

“The boys know that I don’t tell them things which I don’t believe in, and I’m 100% sure we can really win all the football games we have from now on,” Klopp said.

“If we would win all of our games, yeah, there’s a good chance that we will be champion. If not, then there’s a good chance somebody else is there. Maybe we only have to win five or whatever. Nobody knows. Who would have thought that Arsenal lose against Aston Villa? It just happens.”

City, bounced from the Champions League by Real Madrid on Wednesday, doesn’t play a Premier League game again until Thursday at Brighton.



Teenagers Yamal and Cubarsi Included in Young Spain Squad for European Championship 

Barcelona striker Lamine Yamal celebrates during the LaLiga match FC Barcelona vs Rayo Vallecano, in Barcelona, Spain, 19 May 2024. (EPA)
Barcelona striker Lamine Yamal celebrates during the LaLiga match FC Barcelona vs Rayo Vallecano, in Barcelona, Spain, 19 May 2024. (EPA)
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Teenagers Yamal and Cubarsi Included in Young Spain Squad for European Championship 

Barcelona striker Lamine Yamal celebrates during the LaLiga match FC Barcelona vs Rayo Vallecano, in Barcelona, Spain, 19 May 2024. (EPA)
Barcelona striker Lamine Yamal celebrates during the LaLiga match FC Barcelona vs Rayo Vallecano, in Barcelona, Spain, 19 May 2024. (EPA)

Spain is set to take a young squad to the European Championship, with teenagers Lamine Yamal and Pau Cubarsi among the players picked by coach Luis de la Fuente on Monday.

Fermín López, the 21-year-old Barcelona forward, also was included in the list of 29 players announced by the coach, who will have to cut three names from the squad for the tournament in Germany. López has yet to make his debut with the national team.

“They have talent and motivation,” De la Fuente said. “They are very versatile players. Fermín will take a leap forward with this call-up. I hope that they will benefit and show all the potential that they have.”

Ayoze Pérez was another of the few surprises on the list, with the 30-year-old Real Betis forward getting his first call-up to the senior squad.

Other strikers included Atletico Madrid’s Álvaro Morata and Real Madrid’s Joselu, as well as the 16-year-old Yamal of Barcelona and 21-year-old Nico Williams of Athletic Bilbao.

Along with Cubarsi, the 17-year-old Barcelona center back, other defenders included Madrid’s Nacho Fernández and 38-year-old veteran Jesús Navas of Sevilla.

Forwards Marco Asensio of Paris Saint-Germain, Pablo Sarabia of Wolverhampton, Brais Méndez of Real Sociedad and Gerard Moreno of Villarreal were left out.

Veteran Atletico midfielder Koke Resurrección also didn’t make the squad.

Spain will be aiming for a record fourth European Championship. It was drawn into Group B with Italy, Albania and Croatia.

“It’s a very difficult group but we are prepared,” De la Fuente said. “We will be fighting to be among the title contenders in the end.”

Spain will play warmups against Andorra and Northern Ireland before heading to Germany.