first_img Comment Advertisement Mendes is a rising star at Sporting Lisbon (Picture: Getty)Nuno Mendes’ step up to the Sporting Lisbon first-team has caught the attention of Premier League giants, according to reports in Portugal. The 18-year-old is rapidly making a name for himself at Sporting Lisbon and has managed to force himself into head coach Ruben Amorim’s plans in recent months.Mendes made his senior debut in June and is also attracting transfer interest from several Serie A side, including Juventus and AC Milan.A Bola claim Arsenal and Liverpool are among Mendes’ suitors, but the left-back will not come cheap.ADVERTISEMENTSporting Lisbon would be open to cashing in on Mendes, but only if a side can trigger his £41million buy-out clause.AdvertisementAdvertisementMendes has made nine appearances in Liga Nos since breaking into the side and has played mostly on the left side of midfield.Neither Arsenal or Liverpool would be expected to move for Mendes this summer with limited transfer funds at both clubs.More: FootballRio Ferdinand urges Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to drop Manchester United starChelsea defender Fikayo Tomori reveals why he made U-turn over transfer deadline day moveMikel Arteta rates Thomas Partey’s chances of making his Arsenal debut vs Man CityBoth sides are aiming to improve their first-team in the current window, with Mikel Arteta securing the signings of centre-back Gabriel and attacker Willian.Liverpool are on the verge of their first major signing after agreeing a fee with Bayern Munich for Thiago.The transfer window remains open until 5 October.MORE: Bayern Munich boss Hansi Flick sends class message to Liverpool over Thiago transferMORE: Bayern Munich confirm Thiago Alcantara will join LiverpoolFollow Metro Sport across our social channels, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. For more stories like this, check our sport page. Advertisementcenter_img Coral BarryThursday 17 Sep 2020 2:25 pmShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link506Shares Arsenal and Liverpool tracking Sporting Lisbon wonderkid Nuno Mendeslast_img read more

first_img“I like the way people say things and they back them up,” Roberts said.“You look at some of the best left-handed relievers in the game and I think his numbers – average against, slug against left-handed hitters – is as good as anyone in baseball. He’s a guy who told me in spring training he wanted to be the best left-handed reliever in the game. So I challenged him to be that and he’s holding up his end of the deal.”Among left-handed relievers with at least 20 innings pitched this season, only Baltimore closer Zach Britton has a lower ERA (0.65) than Liberatore whose 1.35 ERA is freshly inflated by the first runs he has allowed in over two months. Liberatore paid for his sins Sunday in St. Louis – an infield single and back-to-back walks – with the end of his franchise-record streak of 28 consecutive scoreless appearances.His WHIP (0.96) ranks sixth in the majors among lefty relievers and his average against (.174) is fifth (slightly better than Aroldis Chapman).“He has an attacking mentality. He’s coming after guys 0-0,” Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis said of Liberatore’s success. “Once he has the count in his favor, his desire to throw in to righties and lefties — he doesn’t allow guys to get comfortable on him.”As the season went on, Liberatore has evolved from LOOGY (Lefty One-Out GuY) to getting key outs against lefties and righties in a setup role. In fact, he has faced just 13 more lefties than righties and has struck righties out at a higher rate (25 of 50 at-bats).“Truth of the matter – he was dominant when he first came,” Dodgers pitching coach Rick Honeycutt said of Liberatore who bounced between the majors and Triple-A three times last season. “Then he had a hip flexor thing and didn’t tell anybody. And all of a sudden his stride was off. Then it finally came out.“The thing about this year is he’s got such a bulldog mentality about him. He’s a frigging bowling ball out there, coming right at you. It’s just been awesome again. Sometimes I get questions from up top about his velocity and whatnot. The guy’s just attacking. … They wanted to put their finger on the exact thing. I was just – whatever. Don’t mess with success. Right now, don’t worry about it.”Liberatore laughs at the idea that some spin-rate wizardry is at the heart of his success – “No, I don’t have anything like that. My ball’s not doing anything weird.” And in fact, his fastball velocity is slightly down this season (averaging 91.7 mph) and he is relying much more on his slider and changeup.And that big head of his.“Yeah, I think there might be some deception. I’ve had some guys tell me they don’t see the ball real well,” he said. “I’ve got a big head so I try to hide the ball behind my big head. Makes it harder for them to pick up.”There is no hiding Liberatore’s importance to a Dodgers’ bullpen that has the lowest ERA (2.98, tied with the Nationals) and batting average against (.198) while carrying a heavy workload.“Libs ­­— just his value has increased exponentially,” Roberts said. “Getting lefties out, righties out, pitching in big spots. Every season there’s guys you don’t really know what you’re going to get as far as leaning on. But as this season has evolved, Libs is one of those key guys.”How Adam Liberatore compares to top lefty relievers this season: IP K ERA WHIP BAAAdam Liberatore, LAD 33 1/3 39 1.35 0.96 .174Zach Britton, Balt 41 2/3 48 0.65 0.79 .153Andrew Miller, NYY 43 1/3 74 1.45 0.76 .170Aroldis Chapman, NYY-Chic 31 1/3 44 2.01 0.89 .179Jerry Blevins, NYM 26 1/3 28 2.05 0.99 .179Boone Logan, Colo 27 2/3 32 2.60 0.90 .158Jake Diekman, Tex 35 38 2.57 0.94 .164** Stats through Sunday (minimum 20 IP) “He was bummed out. He was pissed,” Roberts said.Liberatore had no doubt the Dodgers were making a mistake if they didn’t think he belonged in the big leagues. It took some prodding by Roberts. But Liberatore let the manager know.“It was when they sent me down. Dave kind of asked me what I had on it. I didn’t have too much to say,” Liberatore said. “He asked me a few times and kind of made me respond. I told him I was one of the best lefties in baseball and thought I should be in the big leagues. And he said, ‘Go do it.’“I felt like that before I ever pitched in the big leagues. That’s me.”Liberatore started the season in Triple-A for the fifth consecutive year but was only there for two weeks. He got the call to the big leagues when Chris Hatcher went on paternity leave and set out to do just what Roberts challenged him to do. At 6-foot-3, 240 pounds with a large – he’ll tell you so – shaved head, dark beard and the ability to glower like an extra from “Sons of Anarchy,” Adam Liberatore is not the kind of guy to whom you want to deliver bad news.“Maybe a little,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said with a laugh when asked if he was scared to tell Liberatore he would not be making the Dodgers’ season-opening roster this spring.Liberatore did not take it well.center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more