In Brief

Today’s back pages: Marcus Rashford is ruled out and Liverpool march on towards the Premier League title

A round up of the sport headlines from UK newspapers on 20 January

Rashford ruled out

Liverpool’s 2-0 win over Manchester United makes most of the headlines on the back pages, and with it the news that Marcus Rashford is out for at least three months with a stress fracture of his lower back. 

“Pain in the Rash” is the rather forced headline in the Daily Star, while the Independent notes that the striker’s absence will be keenly felt by a club who are already worryingly short of firepower. 

With Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay also out injured, the paper speculates that United will be heading to the transfer market in the coming days.

At Anfield yesterday Virgil van Dijk and Mohamed Salah were on target as Liverpool extended their lead at the top of the Premier League table. Jurgen Klopp’s men are now 16 points clear of Manchester City with a game in hand.

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Root master

Pictures of England cricket captain Joe Root adorn several of the back pages, among them The Guardian, but unusually it’s his exploits with the ball and not the bat that have made headlines. 

The part-time off-spinner ripped through South Africa’s top order on the rain-ravaged fourth day of the third Test to leave England on the brink of taking a 2-1 lead in the four-match series.

Following on, the South Africans slumped to 102-6 in their second innings at the close with Root ending the day with figures of 4-31. 

Mark Wood also picked up a couple of wickets and, providing the rain doesn’t washout the final day, England should clinch victory today and head to Johannesburg on Thursday for the final Test in the driving seat.

Billy’s break

It’s been some weekend for Saracens. England’s most powerful rugby union club of recent years learned on Friday that they will be relegated at the end of this season after breaching salary cap rules. 

The squad then faced Racing 92 of Paris in the final game of the Champions Cup pool stage needing a win to reach the quarter-final. They got the victory (a nerve-jangling 27-24 win) but it came at a price - for them and England - with No.8 Billy Vunipola leaving the field in the first half with a broken forearm. 

The Times reports that it’s the fourth time in two years he’s broken the arm, and it ends Vunipola’s season. 

England head coach Eddie Jones names his Six Nations squad today and the Times predicts that the absence of Vunipola will provide an opportunity for Alex Dombrandt, the young Harlequins No.8.

Today’s newspaper back pages

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