Injury-hit Liverpool look to avoid FA Cup upset

first_img Liverpool are in the middle of a gruelling schedule – it will be the team’s sixth game in 19 days – that is taking its toll on the squad. Manager Jurgen Klopp is without a senior centre back for the match, as Mamadou Sakho, Dejan Lovren, Martin Skrtel and Kolo Toure are all hurt, while attackers Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho are also injured. The match comes three days after a League Cup semi-final match at Stoke, and five days before a Premier League game against first-place Arsenal. Klopp could even make 11 changes to the team. “It will be a team that hasn’t played too often together,” Klopp said. “If this is a chance for Exeter, then they have to take it.” This will all be music to the ears of Exeter’s players, whose team is 16th in the 24-team League Two – a gap of 76 places to Liverpool in the English ladder. The last time Exeter reached this stage was in 2005, when they took Manchester United to a replay after a goalless draw at Old Trafford. MANCHESTER, England (AP): It’s a match that has all the ingredients of a classic FA Cup upset. An injury-hit, inconsistent and potentially jaded Premier League heavyweight making a 500-mile round trip to a team in the lower reaches of the fourth tier with a small ground, poor field, and a recent history of shocking a top side. Exeter’s home game against Liverpool today is the pick of the games in the third round of the FA Cup, when the giants of the Premier League join the teams from the lower leagues and non-league in the world’s oldest club knockout competition. As always, the search is on for a huge shock on one of the most exciting weekends in the English calendar and it could come at the 8,500-capacity St James’ Park, which – located in the south-west corner of England – is one of the most remote grounds in the country. THREE-PEAT Arsenal are bidding to become the first team since Blackburn in 1884-86 to win the FA Cup in three straight years, and to extend its record-setting haul of FA Cup titles to 13. With his team having its best chance in years to win the Premier League, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger must decide whether to rotate his squad. Wenger said Thursday that Alexis Sanchez is not yet ready to return from a hamstring injury, but midfielder Mikel Arteta is available. GRUELLING SCHEDULElast_img read more

Open-space assessment plan advances

first_imgSANTA CLARITA – Local property owners who nixed an earlier measure might soon have a say again about paying an annual fee so the city can buy raw land to create a green woodland around the valley. On Tuesday, the Santa Clarita City Council approved a plan to draft a measure to form a special assessment district with the goal of saving some open space from development. “This is a very simple district – very straightforward,” said Councilwoman Laurene Weste, who has long championed the concept. The wording of the measure would be finalized in late April after an engineer’s report is released, but the guiding principles are a $25-a-year assessment for the owners of single-family homes, no more than a $1-a-year adjustment, a term of 30 years and a mandate to buy and conserve undeveloped land. For homeowners, that amounts to a total of $1,185 over the 30 years. The engineer’s report would define the areas to be protected, expected costs, what property owners would pay and the formula used to apportion their costs. It is not yet known how much would be charged to larger landowners for commercial or industrial parcels or whether parkland will make up some percentage of the purchases in the “undeveloped land preservation district.” Municipalities create special benefit assessment districts to pay for amenities, charging those who directly benefit. They are not hemmed in by provisions of Proposition13, the 1979 property tax control law. In November 2005, the city’s proposed $25-a-year special assessment was soundly defeated. “No” votes were largely cast by mobile home park owners, apartment building owners, large landowners and utility companies. Valencia property owners were the most supportive, followed in order by Newhall, Saugus and Canyon Country. The flat-rate fixed-term assessment could be used to borrow $23.4million right away, and the $1-a-year increase would support a $34.6million bond issue. City officials said they hope the certainty about costs will assure public buy-in, assuaging voters who were iffy about supporting the prior plan whose potential annual cost-of living increases were tied to the fluctuating Consumer Price Index and could have been assessed in perpetuity. “We found in polling, people are comfortable in knowing the (costs,)” said Weste, who reiterated the risk of not acting before rugged properties are scooped up by developers. She remarked on how a concerted effort preserved Whitney Canyon, which was earmarked for a 900-home tract. Three local environmental groups submitted suggestions to the city. While the council’s support was unanimous, Mayor Marsha McLean voiced concern that property owners could balk at any increase, no matter the amount. “I’m opposed to a $1 raise every year,” she said. “I think (an increase) is what sunk us before and will sink us again.” Weste noted many of the large landowners are absentee owners, and are difficult to reach. The council plans to take up the issue again April10. (661) 257-5255160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more