Sadio Mane is in contention to start Liverpool’s Premier League opener against Norwich City, Reds boss Jurgen Klopp has confirmed.Liverpool get the new season under way on Friday when they host the winners of the Championship at Anfield.And Mane’s participation has been in doubt following his participation in the Africa Cup of Nations over the summer. Editors’ Picks Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? Mane played in the final for Senegal on July 19 as his side lost out to Algeria in Cairo, and missed Sunday’s Community Shield clash with Manchester City as he completed his holidays.The former Southampton forward returned to training on Monday, and Klopp insists that Mane is being considered for a starting berth against the Canaries.”He only had two weeks off, so you don’t lose anything – that is the good news at least!” he told a press conference.”He looks fit. Yesterday was the first session with the team. He looks absolutely OK. Yes, he’s an option.”Mane is not the only Liverpool player to have returned late to training ahead of the new campaign, with fellow forward Mohamed Salah and Naby Keita having also participated at AFCON for the hosts Egypt and Guinea, respectively, while Roberto Firmino and Alisson were both key in Brazil winning Copa America on home soil.As such, Klopp has been forced to hand opportunities to fringe players during pre-season as well as experimenting with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Gini Wijnaldum as wide forwards in the absence of his normal front three.And the Champions League-winning coach believes that will allow him some flexibility when it comes to selecting his team to face Daniel Farke’s newly-promoted outfit.”We have a lot of options, a lot of different line-ups. No player gave me a reason to leave him out, so we have hard decisions on a squad.”It is not about playing the best football in history tomorrow. It is about playing the best football in this moment.”We have to stay the team that nobody wants to play against because of that intensity.”Klopp also confirmed that James Milner will be fit for Friday’s match having missed the Community Shield with a minor muscular injury.
US homebuilder confidence rises in June but remains at low level amid sluggish sales AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email WASHINGTON – U.S. homebuilders are feeling more confident about the housing market but don’t think it is healthy yet.The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index rose to 49 in June, highest since January and up from 45 in May. Readings below 50 indicate that builders view sales conditions are poor rather than good. The index has been stuck below 50 since January. The low numbers earlier this year reflected a bitter winter that chilled economic activity across much of the U.S.But warmer weather hasn’t done much to help: Sales of new homes are running about half the rate of a healthy housing market.Still, builders are the most confident they’ve been since January about new single-family home sales over the next six months. They report seeing more potential buyers shopping for homes, though traffic remains modest.“Consumers are still hesitant, and are waiting for clear signals of full-fledged economic recovery before making a home purchase,” said David Crowe, chief economist for the homebuilders group. “Builders are reacting accordingly, and are moving cautiously in adding inventory.”New home sales rose 6.4 per cent in April to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 433,000 from 407,000 in March. But they were down more than 4 per cent from a year earlier. In a healthy market, the annual sales rate for new homes typically runs around 900,000.Sales surged in the first half of last year but have sputtered since. Last year’s gains and a limited supply of homes pushed up prices to levels that strained the household budgets of potential buyers. The median price for an existing home was $201,700 in April, up 5.2 per cent from a year earlier.“With affordability still hugely impaired compared to last year, don’t expect a sustained revival in demand anytime soon,” Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, wrote in a research note. “And if mortgage rates rise over the summer, as we expect, housing will take another turn for the worse.”Existing home sales came in at an annual rate 4.65 million in April, up 1.3 per cent from March but down 6.8 per cent from a year earlier, according to the National Association of Realtors. In a healthy housing market, roughly 5.5 million existing homes are purchased each year.The increase in home sales over the past year has occurred primarily among homes worth more than $750,000. Buying fell during the same period for homes worth less than $250,000, which make up the majority of all purchases. by Paul Wiseman, The Associated Press Posted Jun 16, 2014 8:48 am MDT