Liverpool continue their chance of a spot in European football next season with a comprehensive win over Leeds United in the Premier League.

In cricket, Ben Stokes was awarded the Wisden men’s Cricketer of the Year for his performance in 2022, while India’s Suryakumar Yadav bagged the top Twenty20 cricketer in the world.

Staying with cricket, New Zealand won the third T20 International against Pakistan in the five-match series to pull one back. Pakistan leads 2-1 in the contest.

Meanwhile in tennis, world No 1 Novak Djokovic revealed that he’s still struggling with elbow issues after his return to the tour.

Here’s a look at the key stories from international sporting events through the day for 18 April, 2023:

Liverpool beat Leeds

Liverpool crushed Leeds 6-1 as Cody Gakpo’s controversial opener provided the spark for the Reds’ first win in five Premier League games on Monday.

Jurgen Klopp’s side took the lead at Elland Road when Gakpo’s goal was allowed to stand despite the ball striking Trent Alexander-Arnold’s arm in the build-up.

It was reported the VAR official did not check the incident because it happened too far back in the move, but Leeds were furious at the perceived injustice.

Mohamed Salah rubbed salt into Leeds’ wounds when he increased Liverpool’s lead four minutes later before Luis Sinisterra got one back for the struggling hosts.

Diogo Jota’s double, another Salah strike and Darwin Nunez’s late effort ensured Liverpool ended their five-game winless run in all competitions.

After coming within a whisker of winning a quadruple last season, Liverpool have been reduced to scrambling to reach next season’s Europa League or Europa Conference League, with the Champions League seemingly out of reach.

With that target in mind, the eighth-placed Reds are now within two points of seventh-placed Brighton.

But on the evidence of this composed display and the recent fightback from two goals down to draw 2-2 with leaders Arsenal, Liverpool still have the foundations in place for a return to prominence next term.

“The second half against Arsenal was super important to us. We have to do what we did tonight again and again,” Klopp said.

“I hope these one-and-a-half games gives us the right sign for the end of the season.

“I would like to see us with the same desire and passion. That’s the job, to bring it consistently.”

New Zealand beat Pakistan in 3rd T20I

All-rounder James Neesham held his nerve in the final over to give New Zealand a dramatic four-run win over Pakistan in the third T20 international in Lahore on Monday despite Iftikhar Ahmed’s brilliant innings.

Ahmed brought Pakistan back into the contest from 88-7 with a whirlwind 24-ball 60 as they attempted to chase down New Zealand’s 163-5.

Needing 15 to win from Neesham’s final over, he hit a six and a four to reduce the target to five off the last three deliveries.

But Neesham had Ahmed caught at long-on by Daryl Mitchell and then after a dot ball dismissed last man Haris Rauf in the same manner.

“It was a great game and it’s satisfying to get across the line and keep the series alive,” said visiting captain Tom Latham.

“I think the whole squad will take a lot of confidence from this match moving forward.

“The three early Pakistan wickets in the powerplay set us up and we pride ourselves on our fielding and keep the bar high every time we set foot into the middle.”

Ahmed led the fightback with Faheem Ashraf as the pair added 61 for the eighth wicket, with Ashraf holing out after a 14-ball 27 studded with two sixes and as many fours.

Ahmed smashed six sixes and three fours.

The victory means New Zealand trail the five-match series 2-1 after Pakistan won the first two games, by 88 and 38 runs, also in Lahore.

The last two matches are in Rawalpindi on April 20 and 24.

Stokes wins Wisden Cricketer of the Year

England star Ben Stokes was named the Wisden Almanack’s leading men’s cricketer in the world for the third time in four years on Monday.

Stokes was selected for his dynamic captaincy of England’s Test team in 2022, as well as his match-winning performance in the T20 World Cup final.

The all-rounder, who appears on the cover of the 160th edition of Wisden alongside England Test head coach Brendon McCullum, previously won the award in 2019 and 2020.

Stokes has masterminded 10 wins in 12 matches since taking over as England skipper, with his attacking and imaginative approach revitalising a previously moribund team.

Stokes also made waves in the white-ball game, helping to deliver the silverware for England’s T20 side as his half-century settled the final against Pakistan in November.

Australia’s Beth Mooney was named the leading women’s cricketer in the world for the second time.

India’s big-hitting Suryakumar Yadav was handed the award for the top Twenty20 cricketer in the world.

Djokovic’s elbow troubles

Novak Djokovic said Monday he has not fully recovered from an elbow issue which hindered him in his Monte Carlo Masters last-16 exit last week.

The world No 1 struggled with his serve before falling to Italian Lorenzo Musetti in Monaco.

“The elbow is not in ideal condition, but let’s say it’s good enough. Hopefully it will be fully ready for the first match,” said Djokovic, who had elbow surgery in 2018, ahead of this week’s event in Banja Luka.

The Serb won the Australian Open earlier this year to draw level with Rafael Nadal’s men’s record tally of 22 Grand Slam titles. He will be among the favourites for next month’s French Open.

The 35-year-old will face 87th-ranked French teenager Luca Van Assche, who ousted Swiss veteran Stan Wawrinka 1-6, 7-6 (7/4), 6-4 on Monday, in the Banja Luka second round.

With text inputs from AFP

Updated through the day