In Brief

Today’s back pages: England cricketer Rory Burns ruled out after kickabout and it’s year we go for Liverpool

A round up of the sport headlines from UK newspapers on 3 January

Burned out

The news that Rory Burns is out of the rest of the Test series against South Africa after damaging his left ankle playing football draws a sharp rebuke from Michael Vaughan in The Daily Telegraph. 

The former England captain turned pundit says the loss of Burns - who has brought some much needed stability to the top of the batting order - is a “terrible blow” to England’s chances of winning the series.  

Vaughan says that while he understands why football has been incorporated into the players’ warm-up (“as a way of giving the brain a mental relaxer”), it’s time that management scrapped the practice, especially as in 2018 Jonny Bairstow also injured his ankle playing football before a one-day international against Sri Lanka.

The second Test between South Africa and England starts today in Cape Town. 

Reds march on

It’s “year we go” for Liverpool as the Premier League leaders extended their unbeaten run in the top-flight to 12 months. 

Jurgen Klopp’s side, who have not lost in the league since 3 January 2019, are now 13 points clear at the top after goals from Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane secured a 2-0 win against Sheffield United last night.

Klopp told BBC’s Match of the Day: “It’s obviously good [to go unbeaten for a year] but the target was not to extend this [run], but to win the game. The best thing you can say when you play against Sheffield United is to keep the game not spectacular. We controlled the game. 

“I am really happy and really proud of the boys. We should not take things like this for granted. The way we controlled Sheffield United was exceptional. In possession we were incredible, we were calm but lively as well. The goals we scored were exceptional.”

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Parting Wrays

The decision by Nigel Wray to resign as chairman of Saracens receives a lot of attention on the back pages, and the general consensus is that it was an inevitable move after the reigning English champions were fined more than £5m and docked 35 league points for breaching salary cap regulations. 

Nonetheless there is an acknowledgement of what Wray - who took over Saracens when they were an unsuccessful and unglamorous club in the 1990s - has achieved. 

The Guardian says that Wray’s departure will help draw a line under the sand but says his “drive, dynamism and vision that took Saracens from relative obscurity in their north London backwater to becoming the dominant force in European club rugby”.

Adieu, Paul

Paul Pogba will not be seen again in a Manchester United shirt, claims The Sun. 

Rumours have been growing in recent days that the Frenchman wants out of Old Trafford sooner rather than later, and the paper says that he and the Red Devils are “desperate” to go their separate ways this month. 

The Sun namechecks Real Madrid as Pogba’s likely destination, although the move “could depend on the future of Toni Kroos with the German potentially moving the other way”.

United had slapped a £180m price tag on Pogba last summer but he could leave for closer to £100m with Kroos thrown in as a sweetener.

Today’s newspaper back pages

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