Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet believes his side have what it takes to lift the Premier League title after coming agonisingly close to glory five years ago.Jurgen Klopp’s side are in contention for their first Premier League title since the 1989-90 campaign with the Reds currently topping the table, four points ahead of second-place Manchester City.It’s the closest Liverpool have come to a championship since the 2013-14 campaign, when the Reds won 11 straight games down the stretch, only to fall short with a loss to Chelsea and a draw at Crystal Palace in two of the season’s final three games. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar 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? Mignolet, Daniel Sturridge and Jordan Henderson are the only three players from that side that still remain with Liverpool, and the Belgian has backed the current iteration of the Reds to do what the team of five years ago could not.Mignolet pointed to Liverpool’s more balanced attack as a principle reason they can lift the league trophy come May.“It’s only Hendo, Studge and myself still here from the last time we really fought for the title,” the Belgian told the Liverpool Echo.“Back then a lot of it was about Luis Suarez and Studge, whereas now the goals are shared about more. We had a really good team in 2013-14 but the moment we got one or two injuries it became difficult.“We’ve got a broad squad now which means we can cope with injuries. That’s probably the biggest difference with last time.“The general quality of this squad is the best I’ve ever known. When we play 11 v 11 in training it’s like being involved in a top match in the Premier League.“It’s not 11 first-teamers against 11 reserves, it’s two Premier League sides facing each other in training. It’s high quality.”Another key difference between this year’s side and the team from five years ago can be seen in the back line.Liverpool conceded 50 goals in 2013-14, the most of any of the top five finishers that season. In contrast, the Reds have the league’s best defence this season, giving up just 13 goals in 23 games.Mignolet pointed to one key addition the club made last season as a big reason behind his side’s defensive improvement. “I think a big part of that [improvement] is Virgil van Dijk,” Mignolet said. “Ever since he’s come in he’s made a huge difference.“It’s not only his playing ability but the character and the leadership he sends out from the back. It’s especially important when you play teams like Brighton and Crystal Palace recently.“It’s the pressure he eases with his clearing headers. He always makes it look so easy. Something that’s very difficult for anyone else, just looks like a walk in the park for Virgil. He’s made us a lot more solid than before.” Subscribe to Goal’s Liverpool Correspondent Neil Jones’ weekly email bringing you the best Liverpool FC writing from around the web
The province is expanding dental coverage to include Nova Scotians 17 or younger over the next four years, the most extensive coverage in the province’s history. Beginning April 1, up to 10,000 more young people 14 or younger will qualify for MSI coverage for basic treatment, including yearly checkups, cleanings and fillings. Each year, the age limit will rise until it hits 17 and younger. “Good dental care for children and young people can help ensure good overall health throughout life,” said Hammonds Plains-Upper Sackville MLA Mat Whynott, on behalf of Health and Wellness Minister David Wilson. “By gradually expanding dental care to Nova Scotians 17 and under, we’ll help young people establish healthy dental habits as they approach adulthood.” Studies show that poor oral health can affect children’s sleep, lead to missed school time and make chewing difficult, which can affect nutrition. Gum disease can contribute to serious health conditions later in life, including heart disease, stroke and diabetes. “As a mom with small kids, this means that my husband and I can feel comfortable knowing that as our daughters grow up, no matter what, they will get the dental care they need to be healthy,” said Samantha Turner, of Hammonds Plains, and the mother of Charley and Sydney. “Now young families won’t have to worry about their children being left without dental care during childhood and most of their teen years. It’s a big relief.” Previously, the most extensive children’s dental coverage in Nova Scotia had been 16 and younger in the 1980s. The province will work with the Nova Scotia Dental Association and its claims administrators to progressively make the change to cover children 17 and under. “Childhood tooth decay is on the rise, and any move government can make to promote prevention is good for Nova Scotia children,” said Bedford dentist Dr. Phil Mintern. “The dental profession is on board with this increase in access to dental care, especially for vulnerable populations. It’s so important to have this care from a child’s first year of life, through their teenage years.” The province also recently announced more support for the IWK Health Centre’s dental surgery program, and a new chief dental officer position for the province beginning in January. Once the expansion to age 17 is fully implemented, funding for the Children’s Oral Health Program will be $9.1 million per year. Government also continues to provide $3 million per year for other special dental services.