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Bengaluru: Pulling off a victory against the world No.2 Australia will help boost our confidence ahead of the Olympics qualifiers, feels Indian women’s hockey player Gurjit Kaur. The Indian women’s team, currently ranked 10th in the FIH Rankings, will face tough challenges against the likes of Australia, China (11th) and hosts Japan (14th) at the Olympic test event, scheduled to begin in Tokyo on August 17.The tournament will give the Indian team a chance to work on a few aspects of its game before the all-important Olympic Qualifiers in October/ November.”It will be a big confidence boost for us if we do well against Australia. In the past six months, we have done very well against teams like Japan, China, Spain and Ireland but a win against Australia will put us in good stead ahead of the Olympic Qualifiers,” Gurjit said.India’s lone dragflicker, Gurjit, who returned for the FIH Women’s Series Finals in Hiroshima after recovering from a back injury, played a key role in India’s triumph in the competition in June.The 23-year-old said the team environment is great and the players are upbeat about their game.”Since we are backed by good preparations — thanks to the special camps held for defenders and goalkeepers, the team environment before the Olympic Test Event is great and we are upbeat and confident.”In the past few weeks, we have worked on quite a few aspects of our game so we can do well against teams like Australia, China and Japan.”The highest goal scorer of the FIH Women’s Series Finals, Gurjit will be one of the most important players at the Olympic test event. Even though she is the only dragflicker in the team, she doesn’t see it as extra pressure and looks at the position as her responsibility.”Dragflicking is a responsibility for me like everyone else has their own responsibilities. Some players have to attack for a goal, some players have to defend, that way, my responsibility is to ensure we score through PCs, which I work on.”The exposure I have got over the past two years has only helped me grow in the team and improve my skills as a dragflicker,” she said.Gurjit also disclosed that she didn’t have a deep understanding of dragflicking when she joined the Indian team.”I practiced and learnt dragflicking well after joining the Indian team then I got my chances and thereafter my confidence increased,” she said. For all the Latest Sports News News, Other Sports News, Download News Nation Android and iOS Mobile Apps.
“I imagine the place will be rocking even before we score to be honest, but we not only have to score, we have to deny Barcelona from scoring,” he added.“It doesn’t happen too often that Barcelona don’t score at all. We know how big the challenge is.“This team is so wonderful we will try 100 percent, but that doesn’t mean it will all work out.”While, Liverpool edged a bruising battle with Newcastle to remain in the hunt for a first Premier League title in 29 years, Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde could afford the luxury of making 11 changes for a 2-0 defeat at Celta Vigo on Saturday having already sealed the La Liga title.And Klopp admitted he could have one eye on Sunday’s final league game of the season at home to Wolves with his team selection.“We have to make a lot of decisions. Tomorrow night will be the third game in six days and Barcelona changed 11 positions on Saturday, so that is a massive difference as well of course,” he said.“Together with our supporters it was a long season and there is at least a little chance to make it even longer.“But if not, these are the last two home games of an incredible season and I think we should celebrate that with a good performance on the pitch and a very, very good performance in the stands.”Share on: WhatsApp FILE PHOTO: Mohamed SalahLiverpool, United Kingdom | AFP | Liverpool will be without top scorer Mohamed Salah for Tuesday’s Champions League semi-final, second leg against Barcelona after manager Jurgen Klopp revealed he was concussed in a 3-2 win at Newcastle.The Egyptian was stretchered off at St James’ Park on Saturday due to a head knock sustained as he challenged Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka for a high ball.“It’s a concussion so that means he would not even be allowed to play. So that’s it,” said Klopp at his pre-match press conference on Monday.“He feels OK but it is not good enough from a medical point of view that is all. He’s desperate (to play) everything but we cannot do it.”Klopp will also be without Brazilian striker Roberto Firmino due to a groin injury as his side face the huge challenge of trying to overturn a 3-0 first leg deficit to make the Champions League final for a second consecutive season.“Two of the world’s best strikers are not available tomorrow night and we have to score four goals against Barcelona to go through after 90 minutes,” added Klopp.“It doesn’t make life easier, but as long as we have 11 players on the pitch, we will try it.”Liverpool have a rich history of stunning comebacks in European football, most famously lifting the Champions League in 2005 after trailing the final 3-0 to AC Milan at half-time.In Klopp’s first season in charge in the quarter-finals of the Europa League in 2016, the Reds also came from 3-1 down in the final 25 minutes to beat his old side Borussia Dortmund 4-3.However, the German coach is aware of the extra difficulty of not just scoring at least three against the Spanish champions, but also not conceding a vital away goal to the likes of Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez that would leave Liverpool needing to score five to progress.