Paper Round: Klopp hoping to hold on to Daniel Sturridge, Sam Allardyce booting Christian Benteke
Jurgen Klopp is hoping match-fit Daniel Sturridge gives him reason to keep him on at Anfield while Sam Allardyce is making sacrifices to stay in the Premier League. It's Wednesday's Paper Round.
Big Sam to boot Benteke
The Daily Mirror reports Crystal Palace manager Sam Allardyce is set to "sacrifice" £30 million striker Christian Benteke in a bid to raise funds for his flailing club. Languishing in 16th place in the league, just one point above the relegation zone, Allardyce is apparently the man who can turn the club's fortunes around, but he needs the money first and The Mirror reckons there are some clubs in China who would happily cross Allardyce's hand with silver in exchange for the Belgium international.
Paper Round’s view: If you believe everything you read in the papers, Big Sam is just about ready to burn Selhurst Park to the ground. Wilfried Zaha's apparently off because he's annoyed Big Sam by signing up for the Africa Cup of Nations, now it's Benteke to leave after just five months because they need the cash. Surely what Palace really need are some decent players, and we're not sure how appealing they would be as an option right now. That said, Allardyce's January transfer wheelings and dealings did the business for Sunderland last season, even if they find themselves in the same position again this season.
Sturridge's (possible) star turn
Several of Wednesday's back pages focus on Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp's comments on Tuesday about his returning striker, Daniel Sturridge, who he's hoping will shine in the absence of Sadio Mane, who is at the Africa Cup of Nations, and the injured Philippe Coutinho. Though there's never any doubt, says Klopp, how talented Sturridge is, but he needs to stay match fit. Perhaps tellingly, he added: "It would be cool if we could speak like this for the next few weeks and months."
Paper Round’s view: Daniel Sturridge seems to have more lives than a cat, the way he has hung on to his place at Liverpool - and here at Paper Round, we're glad, because he's a really brilliant player when he's not injured. Unfortunately for him and for Liverpool, that seems to be all too frequent these days. It would be a shame to see Sturridge go to a smaller club at his relatively young age of 27, with so much potential unfulfilled, and we certainly hope his moment back in the spotlight gives him the opportunity to do more than limp off after 60 minutes.
Looted Maracana left to rot
The Sun's website runs a picture exclusive on the current dilapidated state of the Maracana Stadium, centrepiece of Brazil's 2014 World Cup and an iconic stadium in its own right. The newspaper criticises Olympic and World Cup organisers after the stadium was abandoned - and in that time looted - after none of the parties involved could agree who was responsible for the upkeep of the stadium and none of Rio's professional teams could afford to take it on. Hang on, sound familiar to anyone?
Paper Round's view: Call us cynics, but we've been here before haven't we? Olympic legacies are notoriously difficult to implement after the fireworks have died down and the last McDonalds wrappers have been swept away - just ask the Athens Olympics Committee. But lets look even closer to home at the London Stadium - the new, and rather controversial, home of West Ham. Clearly far more needs to be done to make infrastructure for major sporting competitions sustainable for host nations. Meanwhile, spare a thought for future World Cup host nations - they've now got 48 teams to accommodate.
Coe says No
Sebastian Coe made Wednesday's back pages after it was reported he would refuse to return to the Culture, Media and Sport's select committee inquiry into doping in sport - you know, the same one that's got Team Sky's Dave Brailsford all shook up at the moment. Lord Coe, president of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), has apparently been recalled by the committee chair after testimony by former London Marathon race director, Dave Bedford, appeared to contradict Coe's previous testimony in December 2015 that he had no knowledge of specific allegations made against corruption in Russian anti-doping practices. Coe will apparently say he has no further evidence to add.
Paper Round’s view: Generally speaking, refusing to give evidence when called upon by Parliament is, well, it's unorthodox. Perhaps Lord Coe feels more comfortable about giving Parliamentarians the cold shoulder, given that he used to be one of them, but it's probably not going to do much for him in terms of PR. If he's got nothing further to add, you can understand his reluctance to return, we're sure he's a busy man, after all. But it doesn't look great in terms of his commitment to the investigation, at a time when the IAAF really need to look committed.