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Jose Enrique included in Liverpool’s 2015/16 Premier League squad

Чт, 03/09/2015 - 23:17

After failing to secure a move away from Liverpool this summer, Jose Enrique has been named in Brendan Rodgers‘ squad for the 2015/16 Premier League season.

 Liverpool's Jose Enrique in action against Preston North End during a preseason friendly match at Deepdale Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Jose Enrique was expected to leave Liverpool this summer but, having chosen to stay and fight for his place in the final year of his contract, the left-back has now been included in the Reds’ Premier League squad for 2015/16.

Forced to train alone amid speculation that he could join West Bromwich Albion, a move for Enrique failed to materialise despite rumours of a deadline-day move.

As the summer transfer window closed, Enrique took to Twitter to declare: “I’m happy to stay and fight for my place.”

Enrique could well get that opportunity, after being included in Rodgers’ 21-man league squad.

Short of the limit of 25, Rodgers’ selection is bolstered by a number of players under the age of 21.

Emre Can, Joe Gomez, Jordon Ibe, Divock Origi and Jordan Rossiter fit into that bracket despite being regular first-team players.

Alongside Enrique in the main squad selection is a full quota of eight homegrown players: Joe Allen, Nathaniel Clyne, Jon Flanagan, Jordan Henderson, Danny Ings, Adam Lallana, James Milner and Daniel Sturridge.

Twenty-two-year-old academy regular Joao Carlos Teixeira is also included, although both he and Enrique miss out on Rodgers’ Europa League squad.

Ibe and Rossiter are also both not included in this European selection, but remain available due to their homegrown and under-21 status.

Liverpool Premier League Squad 2015/16 Joe Allen (HG), Christian Benteke, Adam Bogdan, Nathaniel Clyne (HG), Philippe Coutinho, Jose Enrique, Roberto Firmino, Jon Flanagan (HG), Jordan Henderson (HG), Danny Ings (HG), Adam Lallana (HG), Dejan Lovren, Simon Mignolet, James Milner (HG), Alberto Moreno, Lucas Leiva, Mamadou Sakho, Martin Skrtel, Daniel Sturridge (HG), Joao Carlos Teixeira, Kolo Toure.

Liverpool Europa League Squad 2015/16 Simon Mignolet, Adam Bogdan, Nathaniel Clyne, Joe Gomez, Kolo Toure, Dejan Lovren, Alberto Moreno, Mamadou Sakho, Martin Skrtel, Lucas Leiva, Jordan Henderson, James Milner, Emre Can, Joe Allen, Philippe Coutinho, Adam Lallana, Roberto Firmino, Divock Origi, Danny Ings, Daniel Sturridge, Christian Benteke

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Категории: LFC NEWS

Internationals: Where each LFC player is playing this weekend

Чт, 03/09/2015 - 18:12

With a long weekend of international football ahead of us, we take a look at which Liverpool player is performing where over the next few days.

 England's James Milner in action against Belgium during the International Friendly match at Wembley. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

We’d be lying if we said the international break was little more than a nuisance, with the new Premier League season frustratingly called to a halt for a fortnight.

There is also the risk of a Liverpool player picking up an injury while in action for their respective country; something we have experienced time and time again with Daniel Sturridge, among others.

Numerous Reds players will be action over the weekend, whether it be in Europe, South America or elsewhere across the globe.

Here is a round-up of who is playing where:

Nathaniel Clyne and James Milner – England

Liverpool’s new signings are both likely to start for the Three Lions, as they face minnows San Marino away on Saturday, before hosting Switzerland at Wembley next Tuesday in their Euro 2016 qualifiers.

Simon Mignolet, Christian Benteke and Divock Origi – Belgium

The Reds’ Belgian trio have all been called up by coach Marc Wilmots, although it is unlikely any will start against Bosnia-Herzegovina on Thursday.

 Wales' James Chester and Belgium's Christian Benteke during the UEFA Euro 2016 Qualifying Group B game at the King Baudouin [Heysel] Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Simon Mignolet is very much back-up to Thibaut Courtois, Christian Benteke has a thigh injury and Everton’s Romelu Lukaku will likely start ahead of Divock Origi.

Belgium also play Cyprus on Sunday.

Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho– Brazil

Roberto Firmino is joined by Philippe Coutinho despite Dunga’s original omission of the Liverpool No. 10 for this squad.

Firmino is likely to feature heavily in the Selecao‘s friendlies against Costa Rica and USA, which take place in New York and Boston, respectively.

Martin Skrtel – Slovakia

Martin Skrtel is Slovakia’s captain, and the 30-year-old will lead his side out for a daunting clash away to Spain on Saturday evening.

The Eastern European’s also host Ukraine on Tuesday.

Dejan Lovren – Croatia

The Reds’ much-maligned defender will probably be relived to get away from Melwood for a week or so, after another disappointing performance against West Ham last Saturday.

He may well start for Croatia when they travel to Azerbaijan on Thursday, before visiting Norway three days later.

Emre Can – Germany

Training ?? | Emre Can pic.twitter.com/xp37q6uLm2

— Bayern & Germany (@iMiaSanMia) September 1, 2015

Emre Can has received his first call-up to Germany’s senior squad, and will be hoping to make his debut in one of his country’s qualifiers against Poland and Scotland.

The 21-year-old is someone who coach Joachim Low rates highly, and it will be interesting to see how he fares, should he play for the world champions.

Adam Bogdan – Hungary

Liverpool second-choice goalkeeper has joined up with his Hungary teammates ahead of qualifiers at home to Romania on Friday and away to Northern Ireland on Monday.

Jordan Williams – Wales

The youngster received a surprise call-up to the Wales squad for their crucial qualifiers against Cyprus and Israel on Thursday and Sunday, but it seems unlikely that he will feature, given his lack of experience.

Lazar Markovic – Serbia

The 21-year-old, who has surprisingly been loaned out to Turkish side Fenerbahce by Liverpool, could start for Serbia in Friday’s home qualifier against Armenia, and Monday’s friendly away to France.

 England's Joseph Gomez in action against Wales during the Under-16's Victory Shield match at Victoria Road. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Joe Gomez and Jordon Ibe – England U21s

Two of Liverpool’s brightest young players, and England’s for that matter, will should play a part in Thursday’s friendly against USA’s U23 side, and in Monday’s clash away to Norway’s U21s.

Tiago Ilori – Portugal U21s

Ilori’s loan move to Aston Villa on Deadline Day came as a surprise to many, but the young centre-back’s attention now turns to Portugal U21s and their European Championship qualifier in Albania on Tuesday.

Jordan Rossiter – England U19s

Jordan Rossiter should play a prominent role for England’s U19s when they face Germany and Croatia’s U19 sides. Sheyi Ojo, on loan at Wolves, may also feature.

Not involved: Mamadou Sakho, Alberto Moreno, Jose Enrique, Jon Flanagan, Kolo Toure, Lucas Leiva, Danny Ings

Injured: Daniel Sturridge, Jordan Henderson, Adam Lallana, Joe Allen

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Категории: LFC NEWS

Allan Rodrigues de Souza: The lowdown on Liverpool’s new Brazilian youngster

Чт, 03/09/2015 - 18:03

Allan Rodrigues de Souza’s move to Liverpool was completed at the end of the summer transfer window, and here Jack Lusby profiles the youngster.

Football - Liverpool FC Preseason Tour 2015 - HJK Helsinki v Liverpool FC

Allan Rodrigues de Souza made his move from Brasileirao side Internacional to Liverpool permanent at the end of the summer transfer window, with the club confirming his arrival.

The 18-year-old joins the Reds after a summer spent training with Brendan Rodgers‘ side at Melwood.

As part of Allan’s transfer, the midfielder has joined Finnish outfit Seinajoen Jalkapallokerho on loan until January.

But just who is Allan?

Here’s the lowdown on the latest addition to Liverpool’s Brazilian contingent.

Allan Rodrigues de Souza

Football - Liverpool FC Preseason Tour 2015 - HJK Helsinki v Liverpool FC

Even in typically reliable Brazilian circles, Allan is something of an unknown entity.

BBC Sport’s Tim Vickery, an expert in Brazilian football, professed his ignorance as to the midfielder’s ability when questioned prior to his official signing at Liverpool.

The Reds’ own Lucas Leiva also claims to have little knowledge of Allan’s ability.

“I know Allan,” he is said to have told Brazilian radio station Radio Guaiba. “I know he has little professional experience.

“But if Liverpool are signing him, he has quality.”

The Reds have been improving their youth recruitment network over the summer, with Bobby Adekanye and Brooks Lennon being drafted in after the scouting net was cast wide across Europe and North America, and Allan’s arrival is further proof of this.

The 18-year-old came to Liverpool’s attention as Neil Critchley took his under-18s side to Indonesia to take part in the Frenz International Cup in January.

Critchley described the youth cup as “a very prestigious tournament with some top teams,” one of which being Allan’s Inter.

Born in Porto Alegre, Allan rose slowly through the ranks at Inter, but Goal Brazil’s deputy editor Rodrigo Calvozzo claims he “was always treated by Internacional as one of the most important players in the team.”

Still “virtually unknown,” according to Goal’s William Schneider, Allan spent the summer integrating with his new team-mates—aided by the presence of Lucas, Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino.

Allan was pictured alongside his Brazilian compatriots and fellow first-team players such as Emre Can and Alberto Moreno at a barbecue hosted by Lucas this summer.

The ambassadorial quality of Lucas will help Allan transition into life at Liverpool, but what can he offer Rodgers’ side on the pitch?

Style of Play, Strengths and Weaknesses

Allan Rodrigues de Souza

Allan follows the likes of Leandro Damiao, Fred, Oscar, Alexandre Pato, Nilmar and Luiz Adriano through the Inter ranks, but his playing style is far removed from his more attacking compatriots.

A central midfielder by trade, Allan is primarily left-footed and employs a strong passing range, honed with time spent as a deep-lying playmaker in Brazil.

But given more license to roam by Inter youth coach Ricardo Cobalchini towards the end of his Porto Alegre spell, Allan has proven himself a useful box-to-box midfielder with promising attacking instincts.

His performances for Cobalchini’s side in the Frenz International Cup showed this quality.

Wearing the No. 8 shirt, Allan spearheaded Inter’s tournament-winning run, including a victories over Valencia and Porto and tough test against Argentine rivals Estudiantes in the final, with the midfielder captaining his side to a 3-2 win.

“Internacional and Estudiantes play good football. Our styles are almost the same, aggressive and very physical,” Cobalchini said before the game.

“That is our brand of football.”

As Coutinho and Firmino prove, the Brazilian game has developed in recent years, with a more robust, physical approach allied with that traditional Samba flair.

Throughout the tournament, Allan showcased the aggression and quality that Cobalchini expected.

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Calvozzo describes him as “a very calm player [whose] talent belies his teenage years.

“He is very technical, and the left-footed star likes to play long passes that generally seek the fast attackers ahead.”

His passing range was on show as Inter defeated Porto 2-0 in the semi-final, but Allan also showed his tenacity and tackling ability in midfield, as well as his set-piece prowess and the ability to link up play on the edge of the penalty area.

Perhaps his finest moment of that clash came as he lofted a long-range strike over the Porto goalkeeper, after nipping the ball from the opposition in midfield.

It was a captain’s performance that announced Allan as a promising talent, but as testimony from Calvozzo and Paulo Freitas—Football Manager’s head researcher for Brazilian football—suggests, there is a long way to go yet for the midfielder.

Calvozzo highlighted a lack of pace in Allan’s game, with the youngster instead having to rely on his reading on the game to suit the box-to-box role that Freitas envisions.

Interestingly, Freitas also describes Allan as “not regarded among the most promising players” in Brazil, also suggesting that “[his] finishing isn’t anything special.”

Liverpool clearly saw enough in Allan to sanction his £500,000 transfer this summer however, and now Rodgers and his academy staff must plot his route into the first team.

Where Does Allan Fit in at Liverpool?

 Liverpool's Pedro Chirivella, Joe Maguire, Ryan Kent, Allan Rodrigues de Sousa, Martin Skrtel and Philippe Coutinho Correia after a friendly match against HJK Helsinki at the Olympic Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Rodgers’ midfield is perhaps the only area that can be deemed overstocked.

With Lucas, Coutinho, Firmino, Can, Joe Allen Jordan Henderson, James Milner, Adam Lallana, Joao Carlos Teixeira and Jordan Rossiter all able to perform in various roles in the middle of the park, Allan joins a group of high-potential academy stars in competition for a role in the future.

Cameron Brannagan, Pedro Chirivella, Adam Phillips and Yan Dhanda can all be considered rivals for a position in Rodgers’ midfield over the coming seasons, too.

But with experienced gained in a harsh footballing environment in Finland at Seinajoen Jalkapallokerho, Allan will be hoping to gain an edge on his fellow youth stars.

Happily, the Brazilian’s skill set suggests he could be moulded into a variety of roles at Liverpool.

His passing range and defensive instinct could project a deep-lying role at the base of a midfield diamond, for example, while his box-to-box performances for Inter hint at the possibility of a more advanced position.

Though his lack of pace may hold him back, his close control and link-up play could even lend themselves to a playmaking role similar to that of Coutinho and Teixeira.

This versatility will give Allan an advantage in moving into Rodgers’ first team in the future. But, with a short spell in Finland to come first, there are many challenges ahead for Allan upon his move to Merseyside.

Far from the finished article, Allan’s ability is abundant but raw, and will need to be nurtured if he is to find a long-term role at Liverpool.

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Категории: LFC NEWS

Liverpool 2008/09: The best team not to win the Premier League

Чт, 03/09/2015 - 15:59

Following a sentimental social media post by Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard, Henry Jackson looks at whether the Reds’ side of 2008/09 is the best not to have won the Premier League.

 Liverpool's captain Steven Gerrard MBE celebrates scoring the opening goal against Birmingham City with team-mate Fernando Torres during the Premiership match at St Andrews. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Gerrard took to Instagram on Wednesday evening to remind fans of just how formidable Rafa Benitez‘s team were back then, with the hashtag #spine alongside a photo of a Liverpool starting eleven from the 4-0 thrashing of Real Madrid.

It will no doubt have touched the sentimental among us, bringing back memories of a solid defence, potent attack and some great Champions League victories under Benitez.

Stevie G reminiscing on Instagram…. He's not wrong. #spine pic.twitter.com/NpsRU17Tq7

— This Is Anfield (@thisisanfield) September 2, 2015

The one negative was that they fell agonisingly short of bringing a maiden Premier League title to Merseyside, when really and truly they had all the attributes to.

It got me thinking: is Liverpool’s 2008/09 side the best team not to win the Premier League?

A complete side

 Liverpool players line-up for a team group photo before the UEFA Champions League First Knockout Round 2nd Leg match against Real Madrid at Anfield. Back row (L-R) goalkeeper Pepe Reina, Dirk Kuyt, Martin Skrtel, Xabi Alonso and Fernando Torres. Front Row (L-R) Alvaro Arbeloa, Fabio Aurelio, captain Steven Gerrard MBE, Jamie Carragher, Ryan Babel and Javier Mascherano. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

This was a team that simply had the look of champions about it.

In Pepe Reina they had one of Europe’s most consistent goalkeepers at the time, while Jamie Carragher remained one of the most resolute, influential centre-backs in the business.

Martin Skrtel, Daniel Agger and an ageing Sami Hyypia all rotated effectively alongside Carragher, with the trio appearing 21, 18 and 16 times in the league, respectively.

Fabio Aurelio and Alvaro Arbeloa were both terrific full-backs with differing qualities, with the Brazilian’s attacking craft nicely complementing the Spaniard’s more defence-minded game. Both could attack and defend well when called upon though.

The midfield duo of Javier Mascherano and Xabi Alonso was truly brilliant, and the perfect example of a world-class ‘double pivot’ at the time.

 Liverpool's Xabi Alonso in action against Arsenal during the FA Cup 3rd Round match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Mascherano was as good as any midfield destroyer in the world, while Alonso was one of Europe’s most aesthetically-pleasing and influential playmakers.

Both were born winners who added huge amounts of character to the team, and you have only to see how their careers have panned out since leaving Anfield to see that. International, European and domestic honours galore.

Albert Riera, Yossi Benayoun and Ryan Babel often jostled for a starting berth on the left, with Benayoun the most effective as the season progressed, while Dirk Kuyt was the undisputed first-choice on the right.

The Dutchman was a hugely popular figure with many supporters, and his gritty, effective, never-say-die style helped drag Liverpool through many important matches.

Then of course there was Gerrard and Fernando Torres.

With Mascherano and Alonso giving the former skipper license to attack, he wreaked havoc playing off ‘El Nino’, and was at the peak of his powers.

There wasn’t a more influential player on the planet that season, and that includes Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Just ask Zinedine Zidane.

 Liverpool's magnificent captain Steven Gerrard MBE celebrates scoring his side's second goal, from the penalty spot, to put his side 2-1 up against Manchester United with team-mate Fernando Torres during the Premiership match at Old Trafford. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Torres was the most devastating striker in the world, with his combination of pace, power, skill and deadly finishing embarrassing some of the finest defenders of the last 20 years.

His relationship with Gerrard in attack was telepathic, and there were endless awe-inspiring link-ups between the duo.

It was a season full of so many wonderful moments. Gerrard’s late winner against Middlesbrough; Kuyt’s last-gasp strike at Man City; the magnificent 1-0 win at Chelsea to end their unbeaten record; the 4-1 victory at Old Trafford; Benayoun’s goal at Fulham. The list goes on.

Every Liverpool supporter has a standout memory from 2008/09.

Why didn’t they win it?

 Liverpool's Nabil El Zhar in action against Tottenham Hotspur during the League Cup 4th Round match at White Hart Lane. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

In the end, the biggest factor in Benitez not guiding his talented side to a title triumph was a lack of squad depth.

Their starting eleven was as complete as anyone’s at the time, but they just didn’t have enough quality from the substitutes’ bench.

Sir Alex Ferguson could call upon Dimitar Berbatov if things weren’t going to plan for Man United, whereas Benitez had Andriy Voronin, David N’Gog and Nabil El Zhar to rely on if players were tiring or not playing well.

Lucas Leiva often came in for Mascherano or Alonso, but at that time the Brazilian was a far cry from the dominant midfielder he became in the years that followed.

Too many silly points were dropped at home too, with Stoke, Fulham, West Ham and Hull all coming away from Anfield with a draw.

 Liverpool's Yossi Benayoun scores the winning goal against Fulham during the Premiership match at Craven Cottage. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

There was also that goal by Federico Macheda, which swung the pendulum right back in United’s favour in April 2009, when Ferguson’s men were on the rack.

Liverpool had thumped their fiercest rivals 4-1 at Old Trafford in mid-March, and the Red Devils then lost 2-0 at Fulham a week later.

Benayoun’s dramatic late strike at Craven Cottage followed shortly after, putting Liverpool two points clear at the top having played a couple of games more.

I firmly believe that if Macheda hadn’t scored against Aston Villa the following afternoon, the Reds would have gone on to win the title.

Credit must go to United for having the mental strength to hold on and lift yet another trophy, but deep down they know Liverpool were superior that year.

Other candidates

Liverpool’s class of 08/09 aren’t the only top quality team not to win the Premier League, however, with some other great sides just missing out too.

Newcastle’s brilliantly entertaining 1995/96 team under Kevin Keegan should certainly have had their moment of glory, but again United prevailed.

The Magpies played some sensational attacking football that season, with players like Peter Beardsley, David Ginola, Faustino Asprilla and Les Ferdinand wreaking havoc, but their gung-ho approach ended up being their downfall.

They let a 12-point lead at the top slip, and Eric Cantona’s three winning goals in consecutive 1-0 victories in March 1996 saw United turn the screw.

Newcastle’s epic 4-3 loss at Anfield was a hugely damaging moment in their title challenge, and it virtually acted as the final nail in their coffin.

Arsenal’s side of 2007/08 were another terrific group of players who looked on course to win the title, but they fell apart in the second-half of the campaign.

In Cesc Fabregas, Alexander Hleb, Samir Nasri and Tomas Rosicky they had some superb midfielders, while Bacary Sagna, Kolo Toure, William Gallas and Gael Clichy were an excellent defensive unit.

The horrific broken leg that striker Eduardo suffered in February 2008 seemed to completely derail their challenge, along with other injuries, and they had to settle for third-place in the end.

Liverpool witnessed Arsenal’s brilliance first-hand when they faced them in the Champions League quarter-finals that season, and although the Reds progressed, some of the Gunners’ football was breathtaking over the two legs.

 Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge celebrates scoring the fith goal against Cardiff City with team-mate Luis Suarez during the Premiership match at the Cardiff City Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It would also be wrong not to mention Liverpool’s 2013/14 team, who came within inches of winning an unlikely title under Brendan Rodgers.

Defensively there were clear flaws, but some of the attacking play they produced, particularly after Christmas, was out of this world.

Luis Suarez‘s performances can barely be put into words, while Gerrard, Daniel Sturridge, Raheem Sterling and Philippe Coutinho were all outstanding too.

Gerrard’s infamous slip probably did cost them the title in the end, but that is easy to say in hindsight. What if he hadn’t scored that late penalty at Fulham, for example? What if Coutinho hadn’t fired home the winner at home to eventual champions City?

It was a fabulous effort from a team expected to finish sixth at the start of that season, but for all their qualities, they weren’t as complete as the other sides mentioned above.

Conclusion

 We've won it five times... Liverpool's Fernando Torres reminds fans of his club's European pedigree as he celebrates scoring the equalising goal against Manchester United during the Premiership match at Old Trafford. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Despite the undoubted excellence of those aforementioned Newcastle and Arsenal teams, and Rodgers’ 2013/14 side, Liverpool’s 2008/09 outfit are the best side not to win the Premier League.

They were brimming with world-class players all over the pitch, whether it be the consistency of Reina and Carragher, class of Mascherano and Alonso or match-winning genius of Gerrard and Torres.

I feel we took that team for granted at the time – believe it or not there were fans that booed a 0-0 home draw with West Ham in late 2008, despite Liverpool going top of the table – with Benitez a constantly divisive character with the fans.

In the 23 years since the Premier League began, that is the most complete Reds team we have had the pleasure of watching; it’s just a mighty shame they couldn’t quite get over the finish line.

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Категории: LFC NEWS

Liverpool Ladies: August Round-up – Reds into the Cup quarter-finals

Чт, 03/09/2015 - 13:28

Matt Beard’s Liverpool Ladies enjoyed an upturn in form during the month of August – winning 3 successive games for the first time this season and qualifying for the quarter-finals of the Continental Cup with an impressive win over Sunderland Ladies.

 Liverpool's Gemma Bonner during the FA Women's Super League match at the Manchester City Academy Stadium. (Pic by Paul Currie/Propaganda)

Liverpool have also been drawn against Brescia CF in the UEFA Women’s Champions League Round of 32; the first leg will be at Brescia on 7th/8th October with the return leg in Widnes one week later.

The FA Women’s Super League

Sunderland Ladies 2 – 2 Liverpool Ladies

Beaten by Sunderland at home on the opening day of the 2015 league season, Liverpool were unlucky not to take all 3 points on the day here despite falling behind to a Beth Mead penalty.

[embedded content]

The Reds took control of the game and equalised with an impressive and opportunistic strike from Natasha Dowie shortly later, the no.9 coming into possession midway through the Sunderland half and lifting the ball over goalkeeper Hilde Gunn Olsen.

In the 2nd half Liverpool have many chances to go ahead before Rosie White converted for her second goal since her summer transfer after latching onto a perfectly weighted pass from Line Smorsgard and finishing well past the keeper.

Unfortunately a late equaliser from Kelly McDougal meant the sides would share the points, an injury-time free kick from Lucy Staniforth crashing back off the post, from what had descended into a fiery encounter.

Liverpool Ladies 2 – 0 Bristol Academy

This season Liverpool had found themselves at the wrong end of the WSL table after the back-to-back title successes of 2013 and 2014 and although relegation was never really a question, these 3 points mean that the side can now look to push up the table with the 4 games they have left.

[embedded content]

Natasha Dowie netted twice, assisted both times by youth academy graduate Ashley Hodson, with a goal in each half.

Hodson missed the first half of the season after having surgery on her knee after an influential half-season with the development squad – scoring 16 goals in 9 appearances in their title winning 2014/15 season – and has been a key player for this resurgent Liverpool side. Dowie’s first goal came after Hodson’s strike was tipped after by Mary Earps in the Bristol goal, Dowie tapping home the rebound.

The second goal was also a combination of the forward duo, Hodson’s cross met by Dowie inside the 6-yard box to put them 2-0 up and after that Bristol never really looked like pulling a goal back.

Continental Cup

Liverpool Ladies 1 – 0 Durham WFC

Having opened their cup campaign with 3-0 and 2-0 victories over Doncaster Belles and Everton Ladies respectively, a hard fought 3 points in this group game put Liverpool in a great position to qualify for the next round.

Durham came to defend with 10 players behind the ball and the home side had to patiently wait for the breakthrough which eventually came in the second-half, Ashley Hodson crossing to Natasha Dowie and Dowie converting for the game’s only goal.

Liverpool Ladies 2 – 0 Sunderland Ladies

A win in this game would see Liverpool qualify for the quarters regardless of the score against Manchester City in their final group game.

Both goals came in the second-half, the unstoppable Dowie heading her 9th goal since the break over the line from a Rosie White corner and then providing the assist for the second minutes from time – receiving another corner from White, this time outside of the area, playing a quick one-two with Gemma Bonner before crossing to Katrin Omarsdottir who made no mistake yards out to double the lead and put the Reds into the next round.

Manchester City Women 2 – 0 Liverpool Ladies

 Manchester City's Nikita Parris and Liverpool's Lucy Staniforth during the FA Women's Super League match at the Manchester City Academy Stadium. (Pic by Paul Currie/Propaganda)

With qualification for the quarter-finals already secured, Matt Beard made 5 changes to his starting 11 – giving starts to players who were returning from injury or had not played many minutes.

City took the lead from a Toni Duggan penalty after the referee awarded the spot kick against Satara Murray, Liverpool had chances to equalise with Hannah Dale seeing a shop tipped wide after controlling the ball well in the box and former Red Lucy Bronze providing a great block to denying Natasha Dowie a goal scoring opportunity – injuring herself in the process and being substituted off.

Becky Easton was also injured after a collision with Duggan – the defender tweeting after the game that she had in fact broken her arm, Liverpool are yet to confirm how long she will be out for.

[embedded content]

The home side scored their second after Izzy Christianson picked up on a back-pass to hit the ball against Libby Stout and nod the ball over the line from a yard out.

Liverpool have been drawn away at Bristol Academy for the quarter-finals, this will take place on the weekend of 12th/13th of September.

The Reds also face both Arsenal Ladies and Chelsea Ladies at home in September, the Gunners will come to Widnes on Saturday 5th for a 5:30pm kick-off with tickets priced £5 adults, £2.50 concessions and free for those with a season ticket at Anfield.

Follow me: @LFCladiesfans

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Категории: LFC NEWS

Daniel Sturridge won’t be back for Man United clash

Чт, 03/09/2015 - 13:06

Liverpool forward Daniel Sturridge won’t be back available for the visit to Man United after the international break.

 Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge during the launch for the New Balance 2015/16 home kit at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Sturridge returned to Merseyside at the end of August and was back at Melwood last week – training on his own as he completed his rehabilitation after hip surgery in May.

Some reports had suggested the 26-year-old could make his long-awaited return for the match at Old Trafford, a week on Saturday.

At the time we questioned how those claims could be true, pointing out that Sturridge would have less than three weeks to be ready for the game, having not trained with his teammates since April.

Alas, the Mirror now claim it’s a “big blow” for Liverpool that he won’t be available. Despite the fact Liverpool had originally anticipated the England forward not returning until October.

They now report that “Sturridge will come back into full training when the international break finishes and then would most likely aim for a return before October.” So basically as was always expected and originally reported back in May.

They’re still saying before October though. That could mean a return perhaps in the League Cup against Carlisle on September 23rd.

A fortnight ago the Guardian made the same claim that Sturridge could be back vs. United, before writing that he would be “eased back into first-team training”. Which contradicts the initial claim.

As we’ve always said, a far more likely return would be the Europa League match against FC Sion on October 1st is more realistic.

Sturridge’s eventual return to full fitness will bring about the exciting potential of a partnership with Christian Benteke up front.

OPINION: Paperback striker: Sturridge’s latest comeback by far his most crucial

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Категории: LFC NEWS

Liverpool complete signing of Brazilian midfielder Allan Rodrigues de Souza

Ср, 02/09/2015 - 21:18

Liverpool have completed the signing of 18-year-old midfielder Allan Rodrigues de Souza from Internacional.

Football - Liverpool FC Preseason Tour 2015 - HJK Helsinki v Liverpool FC

Allan had been training with the club all summer and was named in the squad for the friendly against HJK Helsinki.

Liverpool submitted a ‘cheat sheet’ before the 6pm transfer deadline on Tuesday in order to complete the deal on Wednesday. The fee is reported to be £500,000.

The left-footed Brazilian has immediately joined Finnish side Seinajoen Jalkapallokerho until January.

The Guardian‘s Andy Hunter explained last month:

“The 18-year-old impressed Liverpool coaches during the Frenz International Cup held in Indonesia and Kuala Lumpur earlier this year, when both the Merseyside and Brazilian clubs’ under-18s teams featured, and talks to bring the player from Porto Alegre to Anfield are under way.

“Allan, as he is more succinctly known, would cost around £500,000 and represents part of a concerted effort by Liverpool to bolster their options at youth level this summer.”

The Reds also signed Bobby Adekanye (Barcelona) and Brooks Lennon (Real Salt Lake) this summer.

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Категории: LFC NEWS

Can Dejan Lovren take inspiration from this Liverpool quartet?

Ср, 02/09/2015 - 20:47

With Dejan Lovren enduring a miserable first year at Liverpool, Henry Jackson selects four players the 26-year-old can take inspiration from.

 Liverpool's Dejan Lovren looks dejected after his mistake led to West Ham United's second goal during the Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Croatian looked to be on a slight road to recovery after helping the Reds keep three successive clean-sheets, but he had a nightmare afternoon in the 3-0 loss to West Ham on Saturday.

His dreadful error allowed Mark Noble to double the Hammers’ lead in the first-half, marking a new low point in Lovren’s already faltering Liverpool career.

Although it seems impossible to imagine the former Southampton man coming good at Anfield, there are players who have got through similarly dark periods in the past.

Here are four Liverpool players Lovren can draw inspiration from:

Jordan Henderson

 Liverpool's captain Jordan Henderson applauds the supporters after the Premier League match against Newcastle United at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

When Jordan Henderson arrived at Anfield for £16 million from Sunderland in the summer of 2011, big things were expected of him.

He was regarded as one of the finest young English players around, and manager at the time Kenny Dalglish saw him as a long-term replacement for Steven Gerrard.

Henderson endured a miserable start to life as a Liverpool player, however, and for large periods looked little more than a mid-table Premier League midfielder – admittedly use in a less comfortable right midfield role by Dalglish.

 Liverpool's captain Jordan Henderson lifts the trophy after a 4-0 victory over True Thai Premier League All Stars during the True Super Trophy match at the Rajamangala National Stadium on day two of the club's preseason tour. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

He was famously on the verge of being sold to Fulham by Brendan Rodgers in 2012, but since later that season he’s never looked back – due to being afforded a role in his preferred central position.

The England international has grown and grown from 2012/13 onwards, bringing pace, dynamism and consistency to the side, and improving enormously in the more technical aspects of his play.

The 25-year-old was named as Gerrard’s successor as captain this summer; an incredible achievement given how badly things start for him on Merseyside.

Lucas Leiva

 Liverpool's Lucas Leiva in action against West Ham United during the Premier League match at Upton Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Rafa Benitez brought Lucas Leiva to Liverpool from Brazilian side Gremio in 2007 and the midfielder had a big reputation in his homeland.

The then 20-year-old had just won the Bola de Ouro, Brazil’s equivalent of the PFA Player of the Year award, with previous winners including legendary figures such as Zico, Romario and Kaka.

Lucas just didn’t look the part with the Reds though, and the attacking side to his game that many had talked about seemed non-existent.

He always felt like a weak-link in the middle of the park during his first couple of years in England, and, appallingly, was booed by his fans during a wretched spell of form midway through the 2008/09 campaign.

 Liverpool's Lucas Leiva in action against Newcastle United during the Premiership match at St James' Park. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

He eventually came good, however, and blossomed into one of Liverpool’s most important players in 2009/10 and 2010/11, winning the club’s Player of the Year award after moving to a more defensive midfield role.

A serious knee injury in late 2011 has meant Lucas has never quite been the same player since, but he has remained a key squad player over the last four years.

The 24-time capped Brazil international brings calm and authority in his defensive midfield role, and remains the best at the club in that role.

He is a hugely likeable character and now the longest-serving player at the club.

Jamie Carragher

 Liverpool's captain Jamie Carragher making his 737th and last appearance for Liverpool during the final Premiership match of the 2012/13 season against Queens Park Rangers at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

There may be some of you claiming Jamie Carragher was always universally loved at Liverpool, but that is simply not the case.

The Bootle-born defender broke into the first-team in 1996, but it was several years before he was able to win round all of the supporters.

Carragher looked little more than a utility player punching above his weight during the late 1990s, and he was often made a scapegoat if Liverpool dropped important points.

The defender’s lowest ebb probably came against Man United in September 1999, when his two own goals saw the Reds defeated 3-2 at Anfield by their bitter rivals.

 Liverpool's Jamie Carragher celebrates winning the League Cup after beating Manchester United 2-0 during the Football League Cup Final at the Millennium Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Slowly but surely, Carragher began to earn more admirers though, and he played 58 times during Liverpool cup treble-winning 2000/01 campaign.

It was as a centre-back where the former England man truly became a Liverpool hero though, following a broken leg in 2003.

Again, a change of position saw his fortunes turn. He became one of Europe’s most dogged, consistent centre-backs between 2004 and 2010, and his performance in the 2005 Champions League Final, and road to the final, will never be forgotten.

In total he made a staggering 737 appearances for Liverpool in a 17-year career; only Ian Callaghan has played more times for the club.

Peter Crouch

 Liverpool's Peter Crouch scores the fourth goal and completes his hat-trick against Arsenal during the Premiership match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

There wasn’t exactly a huge amount of delight among Reds fans when Peter Crouch arrived for £7 million from Southampton in 2005.

The gangly striker had enjoyed a good spell with the Saints, scoring 16 goals in 33 appearances in 2004/05, but there was uncertainty over whether he was Liverpool quality.

Those doubts came further to the fore when the Englishman failed to score in his first 19 matches, even missing a penalty against Portsmouth at one point.

 Liverpool's Peter Crouch shoots against Bolton Wanderers during the Premiership match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Crouch’s drought finally ended in December 2005 when he scored twice against Wigan Athletic at Anfield, and from that point on he looked a different player.

He scored 13 times in his first season and became a key part of Rafa Benitez’s side until he eventually departure in the summer of 2008.

There were spectacular overhead kicks against Galatasaray and Bolton Wanderers, an FA Cup winner against United and a brilliant ‘perfect hat-trick’ against Arsenal, as the striker displayed the quality he possessed in abundance.

Crouch was a likeable character on Merseyside in the end and only left as he wanted first-team football the Reds couldn’t offer due to Fernando Torres’ then-excellence.

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Категории: LFC NEWS

Tiago Ilori loan another sign of Liverpool’s transfer incompetence

Ср, 02/09/2015 - 20:34

Allowing Tiago Ilori to join Aston Villa on loan this summer underlines Liverpool’s inadequacy in the transfer market, writes Jack Lusby.

 Liverpool's Tiago Ilori in action against Brondby IF during a preseason friendly match at Brøndby Stadion. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Rounding off an otherwise quiet transfer deadline day for Liverpool, centre-back Tiago Ilori joined Tim Sherwood’s Aston Villa on a season-long loan—and this particularly move has left a positive summer of business for the Reds looking decidedly flawed.

Ilori joins up with Sherwood’s squad for the season, with reports suggesting that Villa have the option of signing the 22-year-old on a permanent deal next summer.

Depending on the number of appearances Ilori makes, Liverpool could bank up to £9 million if the Portuguese makes his move to Villa Park permanent.

Liverpool signed Ilori for £7 million in 2013, ensuring that they could make a profit on Ilori next summer.

But this is a supremely reductive approach to the defender’s future.

Allowing Ilori to leave Liverpool is a sign of the club’s ineptitude in the transfer market throughout Brendan Rodger’s tenure.

Tiago Ilori

 Sporting Clube de Portugal's Tiago Ilori in action against Liverpool during the first NextGen Series Group 2 match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Ilori likely first gripped Liverpool’s attention when his Sporting CP side twice defeated the Reds in the 2011/12 NextGen Series, first 3-0 and then 5-1. Soon after, the star of Sporting’s tournament, Joao Carlos Teixeira, moved to Merseyside in a deal worth over £800,000.

But it wasn’t to be the only time Liverpool poached one of the Primeira Liga side’s finest young talents.

Ilori joined up with Teixeira in 2013, with Rodgers making him one of the first defensive signings of his time at Liverpool—and it was no surprise why.

The London-born defender has all of the attributes that Rodgers enjoys in a defender: he’s quick, versatile, technically adept and intelligent in reading the game.

The club’s website describes him as “an elegant, ball-playing centre-back.”

Joining as an inexperience 20-year-old, successive seasons on loan with Granada and Bordeaux were to be expected, but injury problems persisted in both 2013/14 and 2014/15, ensuring that Ilori made just 21 league appearances over the two campaigns.

The pervading worry was that Ilori’s slight build would hamper his progress in the Premier League.

But a new-found aggression on display in this summer’s Under-21s European Championships in the Czech Republic, allied with his speed, technique, composure and aerial ability, suggested that Ilori could slot in comfortably within Rodger’s back line.

His performances for Portugual Under-21s this summer outline just why Ilori is one of Europe’s finest young defensive prospects.

This truth makes his deadline-day switch to Villa all the more concerning.

Win-Win for Villa

 Aston Villa's manager Tim Sherwood during the Premier League match against Manchester United at Villa Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

This summer has marked the first time that Sherwood has dipped into the transfer market as a manager and his approach has been telling.

The arrivals of Jordan Amavi (21), Jordan Veretout (22), Adama Traore (19) and Jordan Ayew (23), as well as the promotion of Jack Grealish (19) to a regular role in his first-team squad, show that this is a manager who is unafraid of relying on young talent.

In one successful summer, Villa have gone from having one of the messiest, resource-sapping squads in the Premier League to one of the most attractive and well balanced.

When it became clear that Ilori was available on deadline day, and following his rejection of Sunderland, the move would have represented a win-win situation for Sherwood.

On one hand, Villa were securing the services of one of the most promising young defensive talents on the continent.

Like Adama, Amavi, Veretout and Ayew, Ilori’s potential is vast.

Utilising the centre-back’s talents within his defensive line—be that as a centre-back alongside Micah Richards or Joleon Lescott or as a right-back—Sherwood can nurture Ilori into the Premier League-level talent that he is promising to become.

If Ilori performs well throughout 2015/16, Villa can sign him for what will be a bargain price.

But on the other hand, if Ilori fails to adjust or his injury problems persist Villa have no obligation to make his move permanent.

It’s a no-risk move for Sherwood, and the Villa manager is being much savvier than his Liverpool counterpart.

Liverpool’s Transfer Strategy

 Liverpool's manager Brendan Rodgers in a post-match press conference after his side's 6-1 defeat to Stoke City during the Premier League match at the Britannia Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

This summer, bookended by Ilori’s move to Villa, heralded a change in transfer strategy from Liverpool.

Ilori’s departure ensures that over half of the 24 players to have signed for Liverpool between 2012 and 2014 have either been sold or left on loan—that period of transfers being from Rodgers’ takeover to that fateful 6-1 loss at the hands of Stoke City on the final day of last season.

Emerging from frank end-of-season talks with the club’s owners, Rodgers had clearly resolved to reassess the club’s transfer strategy.

Long has there been a perceived disconnect between Liverpool’s transfer committee and the manager, and this summer has seen Rodgers secure what are believed to be his choices.

James Milner, Danny Ings, Christian Benteke, Nathaniel Clyne and Adam Bogdan all possess that familiar Premier League-proven quality that Rodgers so cherishes, while he is said to have been convinced to sign Joe Gomez and Roberto Firmino on the back of shining testimonies from new assistant manager Sean O’Driscoll and the club’s scouts.

Four examples of previous committee-backed signings are believed to be Mamadou Sakho, Lazar Markovic, Alberto Moreno and Divock Origi, according to the Times‘ Tony Barrett.

Only Moreno has made an appearance for Rodgers’ side so far this season, with Markovic farmed out on loan to Fenerbahce.

 Liverpool's Tiago Ilori warm-up before the Premiership match against Crystal Palace at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Two days after Markovic made the move to Turkey, Ilori followed him through the Anfield exit.

Both were roundly praised by the manager on their arrival, either as “a really exciting talent,” or “a really big talent,” but both have fallen by the wayside after being given little chance to prove themselves to Rodgers.

Whether he believed his words or not, both Markovic and Ilori are immense young talents.

Letting Ilori leave this summer, without having made a competitive appearance for the Reds, seems more of a symbolic condemning of Liverpool’s previous transfer strategy than a conscious decision to sell an ineffective player.

Rodgers seems intent on shifting all reminders of a strategy that has been wrongly deemed a failure—Ilori, Markovic, Sakho, Emre Can and Philippe Coutinho are evidence of its virtue.

At a time when Liverpool’s defensive ranks are at their most vulnerable, casting aside Ilori—one of their most promising young talents, capable of performing in the Premier League right now—seems to be a considerable oversight.

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Категории: LFC NEWS

Danny Ward “an inspiration” as Wales Stopper helps Aberdeen to five straight wins

Ср, 02/09/2015 - 16:11

Loaned out Liverpool goalkeeper Danny Ward has been in impressive form for Aberdeen this season, with Scottish writers highly praising the Welsh stopper.

 Liverpool's goalkeeper Danny Ward during a training session at the Bank of America Stadium on day twelve of the club's USA Tour. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

As with any transfer, a loan move for a young player can go one of two ways. It can be a roaring success with invaluable experienced gained for some, while for others it can prove a difficult and frustrating time away from familiar surroundings.

For Liverpool’s loaned goalkeeper, Danny Ward, his season-long move to Aberdeen is already well on the way to becoming the former of those conclusions.

The Reds stopper, who has been called up to the Wales senior squad for the international break as a result of his fine form, has been nothing short of a revelation since joining.

The 22-year-old has played a vital part in the Dons’ immaculate start to the SPL season and such is his vital influence between the sticks, it has taken little time for him to grab headlines.

The Scottish Daily Record’s Scott McDermott labelled the ‘keeper “an inspiration” after another top performance in the Dons’ controversial 2-0 win at Partick Thistle last weekend, before proclaiming that Ward’s form could be the defining factor behind a successful season for Aberdeen.

“This game was shaped by Adam Rooney’s use of a hand at one end of the pitch. But it’s the palms of his teammate at the other end which could define the Pittodrie clubs season,” McDermott writes.

“His [Ward’s] saves at vital moments to deny Jags pair Sean Walsh and Callum Booth were every bit as influential as the strikes from Rooney and McLean.”

The display of the composed ‘keeper – who played only five games at League Two side Morecambe last season – also lead to high praise for his impact since arriving from teammate and captain, Ryan Jack:

“Liverpool clearly see something in him and it has been great to have him here on loan. He has done brilliantly so far,” Jack told the Daily Record.

“He has been asked to come up with some answers in a few games and he has done that.

“The whole defence like playing in front of him and he has belief in them too. It has been a good combination so far and hopefully we can keep it going.”

Having helped Derek McInnes’ side to five straight wins recording three clean sheets in the process, the Dons sit second in the SPL table, a point behind Celtic with a game in hand.

After the international break the early front-runners meet for a mouth-watering clash at Pittodrie – a fixture which will see Ward endure his toughest test of his Aberdeen stay so far.

 Liverpool's goalkeeper Danny Ward before the Under 21 FA Premier League match against Manchester United at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

And for McDermott, the form of the Reds loan ‘keeper could make the difference for McInnes’ side who are looking to go one better this season.

“Aberdeen lost all four games against the Hoops last season, despite finishing second in the Premiership table.

“But Ward’s calming influence between the sticks – and his undoubted ability – might just make the difference against Celtic this term.”

Perhaps a bold statement from McDermott, but one that illustrates the level of confidence the Reds loanee has built up with the manner of his calm and commanding performances.

Before the clash of table-toppers on September 12th, Ward now joins up with Wales for their Euro 2016 qualifying games against Cyprus and Israel – the highest reward possible for his impressive form.

Involvement within the senior set-up for the first time since November 2013 will provide a huge confidence boost to the young stopper.

Even if the chance for match action for Chris Coleman’s side does not come across the two games on his return to the international set-up, Ward can be safe in the knowledge that he’s progressing well.

A tough test awaits on return with the Celtic showdown, but it’s a chance for Ward to showcase his ability on the big stage which has seen him get off to a flying start in a big season for the Dons No.1.

LFC LOAN WATCHall the latest on Liverpool’s 17 loaned out players

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Категории: LFC NEWS

Roberto Firmino reveals title ambitions at Liverpool

Ср, 02/09/2015 - 14:45

Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino has his sights set on winning the Premier League at Anfield, following his big-money move from Hoffenheim.

 Liverpool's Roberto Firmino in action against Arsenal during the Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The 23-year-old joined the Reds from the Bundesliga side for £29million in July, and has shown glimpses of his class in his first four appearances for the club.

Firmino says he moved to Liverpool because he dreams of winning a league title, and also claims he foresaw his switch to the Premier League before it actually happened.

“I want to fight for titles and play in the Champions League. So moving here really is a dream come true,” he said.

“As a footballer I always want more. I really enjoyed my time in Germany but didn’t actually win anything. So the next step was to join a club that can compete for trophies, that’s why I came here.

“It’s strange but I remember just before I moved to Hoffenheim that I had a dream about playing in England.

“At the time that wasn’t an option, the opportunity wasn’t there for me. Then it came along a few months ago and I quickly decided it was the right offer for me.”

 Liverpool's Roberto Firmino in action against Arsenal during the Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Brazil international, who has scored four goals in his first 10 appearances for the Selecao, also revealed the pre-match superstitions he goes through before a game.

“A lot of Brazilians are very superstitious, especially footballers,” he continued.

“I’m the same. I always step on to the pitch with my right foot first.

“It’s quite curious that back home – even if you are left-footed – it is considered lucky to enter the pitch with your right foot. I don’t know why that is the case.

“I have other mandatory superstitions before a game too. I pray and listen to music on the way to the stadium. I also bless myself just before kick-off.”

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Категории: LFC NEWS

3-man midfield and Lovren at the back: Brendan Rodgers needs to correct his strange decisions

Ср, 02/09/2015 - 14:11

Brendan Rodgers has been praised for his tactical acumen in the past but got it completely wrong against West Ham on Saturday, explains Andrew Ronan.

 West Ham United's manager Slaven Bilic and Liverpool's manager Brendan Rodgers during the Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

After less than half an hour last Saturday at Anfield, Liverpool fans could be forgiven for thinking that the promise shown by Brendan Rodgers and his men during the first three league games this season was some sort of cruel ploy to get the supporters back in the good books following the nightmare that was last season.

So shocking was the manner of the two goals conceded and the lack of a response, Anfield – bar the noisy away corner – sat in the silence it perfected too often last season. The atmosphere inside the ground was as meek as the effort shown by the men in red shirts. And their manager, too. Brendan Rodgers had enough on the bench against West Ham to kick-start a comeback, but his indecision was as influential to the final score as Dejan Lovren’s schoolboy defending.

His decision to give Lovren another chance to prove himself worthy of his price tag has backfired spectacularly. Lovren’s Bambi on Ice impression for the second goal was met with groans from the Kop, but not many can say they didn’t expect a mistake like that from the Croatian defender sooner rather than later. When Mark Noble passed the ball into the bottom corner for two-nil, it confirmed what everyone inside Anfield already knew – Lovren always has a mistake in him.

 Liverpool's Dejan Lovren looks dejected after his mistake led to West Ham United's second goal during the Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Rodgers has to know this, too. Mamadou Sakho is no Paolo Maldini but it’s hard to imagine that he would have gotten into the same mess that Lovren found himself in for the second goal. Surely Rodgers knows that Sakho isn’t as error prone as Lovren? Only Rodgers knows, though, why Lovren is being picked ahead of Sakho. All we can do is speculate. With the Croatian at the heart of defence, though, it will surely only give encouragement to the opposition.

As will the way Slaven Bilic set his team up for the visit to Anfield. Yes, they more or less parked the bus, but West Ham proved that the lack of fight that was too often Liverpool’s Achilles heel last season is still there. There has been a lot of talk that this version of Liverpool has the strength and character which was missing last season.

The three clean sheets and performance at Arsenal proved it, apparently. Yet it was nowhere to be seen when West Ham led by two goals. Too many players played safe and were afraid to take risks in West Ham’s half. The most worrying aspect, though, had to be the reaction from Rodgers.

Emre Can was deservedly substituted, but for Alberto Moreno? Surely Jordon Ibe should have come on for Can? And why did Rodgers wait so long to introduce Danny Ings? It was clear that Benteke was struggling on his own against the West Ham back four, and he needed someone alongside him who could stretch their defence. Why didn’t Ings start the game alongside Benteke?

 Liverpool's Danny Ings in action against West Ham United during the Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Rodgers’ decision to play Lucas, Milner and Can was fine against Arsenal and it worked. However, starting the three of them at home to an average team meaning that he couldn’t play an extra striker is baffling.

The side Rodgers put out against Arsenal was always going to lean towards stifling Arsenal’s attacking threat, but in starting the same team against West Ham, Rodgers stifled Liverpool’s attacking threat and played into West Ham’s hands. Benteke was isolated, and Liverpool effectively had five midfielders on the pitch. This suited West Ham perfectly as they were always going to fancy themselves in a physical midfield battle.

 Liverpool's James Milner looks dejected during the 3-0 Premier League defeat to West Ham United at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Rodgers has been praised in the past for his tactical acumen during games and his use of subs, but it wasn’t evident last Saturday. He’s going to need it this season as most teams will look to come to Anfield and set-up the way West Ham did.

The Liverpool boss has a lot of thinking to do between now and the visit to Old Trafford. What does he do with Lovren? And can he pick a team that echo’s the performance against Arsenal, yet is set-up to deal with going a goal down?

It may be early days but Rodgers needs to start getting some basic decisions right. If he can’t, and Liverpool return from Old Trafford empty handed, the pressure on him will begin to build again.

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Категории: LFC NEWS

Liverpool’s Busy Transfer Window: Is it another missed opportunity?

Ср, 02/09/2015 - 11:00

After making seven signings and a host of big-name sales, Liverpool are still short of mounting a top-four challenge, writes Jack Lusby.

 Liverpool's manager Brendan Rodgers and West Ham United's manager Slaven Bilic during the Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

A busy summer transfer window can be considered a reasonable success for Liverpool, but despite making seven first-team signings Brendan Rodgers‘ side still remain behind in the race for the top four.

With the primary objective for any season on Merseyside being a top-four Premier League finish, Rodgers will be gearing his side for a renewed charge for Champions League qualification.

But have they not given themselves the best chance possible this summer?

As the transfer window comes to a close, Liverpool are still chasing their rivals, rather than competing with them.

Incomings and Outgoings

 Liverpool's Christian Benteke celebrates scoring the first goal against AFC Bournemouth during the Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

After the season that Liverpool endured in 2014/15, major changes were required ahead of the new campaign, and Rodgers acknowledged this shortly after the nightmare 6-1 final-day loss away to Stoke City.

“There are areas that we will address in the summer that will hopefully help us to be more competitive, more consistent, and to be up there from the beginning of the season,” he told reporters.

“And we as a club will work very hard to make that happen.”

While the manager maintained radio silence throughout the summer, it was clear that the workings were in place for a bright start to the 2015/16 campaign.

Colin Pascoe and Mike Marsh were relieved of their duties, with Sean O’Driscoll and Gary McAllister replacing the departing duo as Rodgers’ new assistant manager and first-team coach. Pepijn Lijnders was promoted to a new role as first-team development coach, completing a much-needed backroom overhaul.

While Rodgers took stock away from the spotlight of the press, Liverpool also signed a host of new players. Deals for James Milner, Danny Ings, Joe Gomez, Adam Bogdan, Roberto Firmino and Nathaniel Clyne were all sealed before the manager broke his summer silence.

It was a sign that were Liverpool were going to get things done, quickly and quietly—with Firmino’s arrival the product of a new-found transfer-market efficiency.

 Liverpool's Roberto Firmino in action against Arsenal during the Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Rodgers wanted Liverpool to be able to hit the ground running when they returned to the Britannia Stadium, and the signing of Christian Benteke—over two weeks before Liverpool’s trip to Stoke—ensured this would be a possibility.

The time it took to shift the likes of Mario Balotelli, Fabio Borini and Rickie Lambert was less important. If Rodgers didn’t want them, they were exiled from first-team training—out of sight, out of mind.

Two wins and three clean sheets from the opening three games of the season magnified this feeling of positivity, but after the 3-0 loss at home to West Ham United, pessimism has begun to sink in once again.

As the transfer window slammed shut, Liverpool found themselves seventh in the Premier League table, already five points behind Manchester City—the side that, ahead of the new season, looked most likely to drop out of the top four.

City’s clinical start to the season is illustrative of their power in the transfer market.

The Summer Transfer Window

 Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho Correia [hidden] hits the post as Arsenal's goalkeeper Petr Cech looks on helplessly during the Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Thanks in part to an increase in TV money available to clubs following the rights war between Sky Sports and BT Sport, the summer transfer window has been a frenetic one for Premier League clubs.

The likes of Crystal Palace (Yohan Cabaye), Watford (Victor Ibarbo), Leicester City (Shinji Okazaki), West Bromwich Albion (Salomon Rondon) and Stoke City (Xherdan Shaqiri) were all able to entice big-name talents despite their less-than-attractive status in the top flight.

The widespread coffer swell has levelled the playing field somewhat, with Leicester currently third in the table thanks to the efforts of Okazaki and winger Riyad Mahrez.

But those who have taken a more measured approach to transfer window still look more set up for longevity: Southampton, Swansea City and Aston Villa have all taken advantage of their increased wealth but invested it more shrewdly than their rivals.

Swansea’s free-transfer signing of Andre Ayew is a genuine coup, with the former Marseille winger bringing a considerable pedigree and match-winning prowess to Garry Monk’s side.

Ayew would have been an inspired signing for any of the Premier League’s top sides, but for one reason or another he was overlooked.

Southampton oversaw the sales of Clyne to Liverpool and Morgan Schneiderlin to Manchester United and replaced them with a clutch of low-value, high-potential talents, including Jordy Clasie, Cedric Soares and Virgil van Dijk.

Manager Ronald Koeman noted his squad’s deficiencies and addressed them.

As did City, with the signings of Nicolas Otamendi, Fabian Delph, Raheem Sterling and Kevin De Bruyne. Manuel Pellegrini’s squad now boasts the most strength in depth in the Premier League.

Though Arsenal and United will be criticised for their inactivity towards the end of the window, the Gunners’ signing of Petr Cech and United’s moves for Schneiderlin and Matteo Darmian addressed key areas of weakness within their respective squads.

However, their failure to effectively bolster their ranks as the window came to close should highlight a missed opportunity for Liverpool.

Missed Opportunity?

 Liverpool's manager Brendan Rodgers during the Premier League match against AFC Bournemouth at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

With their rivals flagging at the end of the summer transfer window, Liverpool could have recognised an opportunity to steal a march on both Arsenal and United.

While the signings of Benteke, Milner, Clyne and Firmino ensure Rodgers’ first team is much stronger than it was last season, and Ings and Gomez further strengthen his squad ranks, there are still major deficiencies within the Liverpool squad.

Namely, these are in central defence, defensive midfield and on the left attacking flank.

It may seem avaricious to demand yet more signings, and in light of this most insipid of yellow-tie events that is Sky Sports’ Deadline Day this feeling is bolstered tenfold, but the opening four games of the season show that Liverpool are still a work in progress.

Forever in transition, Liverpool could have been put right this summer—with careful planning.

Are Martin Skrtel and Dejan Lovren a top-four challenging centre-back partnership? Is Lucas Leiva a 38-game-a-season Premier League defensive midfielder? Are Adam Lallana and Jordon Ibe currently capable of invigorating Liverpool’s attack alongside Firmino, Benteke and Philippe Coutinho?

 Liverpool's Dejan Lovren looks dejected after his mistake led to West Ham United's second goal during the Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The loss to West Ham accentuated these flaws: the disorganised defence; the overworked midfield; the isolated attack.

It can be argued that making these much-needed fixes piecemeal is the right approach, but Liverpool have been papering over the cracks since long before Rodgers took the reins in 2012.

It could also be proffered that the right options to addressed these problem areas weren’t available this summer, but the availability of Nicolas N’Koulou, Geoffrey Kondogbia and Andriy Yarmolenko puts paid to that suggestion.

At present, Rodgers possesses a squad that can comfortably consolidate fifth place in the Premier League, and the 2015 summer transfer window should be considered a good one on assessment—an eight out of 10.

But Liverpool missed an opportunity this summer to truly push for a guaranteed top-four finish.

Haven’t we been here before?

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Категории: LFC NEWS

“Absolute shambles”- Liverpool fans react to Tiago Ilori’s loan move to Aston Villa

Втр, 01/09/2015 - 23:02

Following Tiago Ilori‘s rather bemusing loan move to Aston Villa on deadline day, we round-up the best of the social media reaction.

 Liverpool's Tiago Ilori in action against Brondby IF during a preseason friendly match at Brøndby Stadion. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

On what was a very quiet day for Liverpool on the whole, Tiago Ilori’s loan move to Aston Villa was the main talking point.

Villa will have a view to a permanent move for the 22-year-old centre-back, which again has come as a surprise to many.

Ilori is the 17th player to be loaned out by the Reds this summer, as the transfer window finally comes to an end before reopening in January.

Here is how social media reacted to the news of Ilori’s move to the Midlands:

What are FSG doing? I hope Lazar and Tiago go on to fulfill their potential and have great careers. Pogbalike

— Simon Brundish (@simonbrundish) September 1, 2015

£7m for Ilori, he gets shifted out on loan twice..doesn't play a single minute for 1st team & Villa can buy him next year. Baffling. #lfc

— Anfield HQ (@AnfieldHQ96) September 1, 2015

On Ilori: don't understand why @LFC went to trouble of buying him to never give him a chance, especially how pleased they were to do deal

— Dominic King (@DominicKing_DM) September 1, 2015

Brendan Rodgers on signing Tiago Ilori, just two years ago. #LFC pic.twitter.com/lH9jTh3Um6

— Jack Lusby (@jacklusby_) September 1, 2015

‘Sound as a Pound’ on the forum”

Money well spent here then. £7m!

Tiago Ilori will become Liverpool's 17th loaned out player when he completes his move to Aston Villa today. Most who needed a loan got one.

— Michael Sweeting (@M_Sweeting) September 1, 2015

Under Rodgers Liverpool have spent an embarrassing amount of money on players given few chances and/or not played in their natural position.

— Joseph Musker (@Musker_LFC) September 1, 2015

Seven million quid, two years, three times an unused sub and it looks like that is that for Tiago Ilori at #LFC pic.twitter.com/9DMKkUfAHR

— THE ANFIELD WRAP (@TheAnfieldWrap) September 1, 2015

I cannot explain how angry I am right now!! Fuming!! Getting rid of ilori is absolute shambles!!!! #LFC ?

— JKC'LFC (@JKCharlesworth) September 1, 2015

Ilori's imminent departure means 13 of the 24 players Liverpool signed from 2012-14 have either left the club permanently or are on loan.

— Tony Barrett (@TonyBarretTimes) September 1, 2015

Jake Crosbie on Facebook:

We should have loaned Ilori out to a prem team the first season we signed him! Rogers has not done Ilori any good!

Tiago Ilori is leaving and people are fuming. Why? This is the player who couldn't get regular games at Bordeaux.

— Olé (@Ole_LFC) September 1, 2015

Not that Ilori would have broken through into the 1st team and carved out a niche for himself with us already having 2 world class CBs!

— Joeabi Allenso (@avkopite) September 1, 2015

Pretty bad #DeadlineDay for #LFC then…Jose Enrique's move to West Brom collapsed and Ilori is on his way out.

— LiverpoolFF (@LiverpoolFF) September 1, 2015

Markovic will be like Ilori. Go on loan for a couple of seasons before being sold back to Benfica for £5m. What's the point of signing them.

— MB (@MrBoywunder) September 1, 2015

Jaden patel on Facebook:

Ilori will be amazing for Villa and they will buy him permanently. Big mistake by LFC.

The Tiago Ilori saga and outcome, however insignificant in terms of finance, might define Brendan Rodgers in the transfer market. #LFC

— Jordan A Chamberlain (@Jordan_AC90) September 1, 2015

It's not that Ilori's a known quantity. He's just an unknown quantity in a position where our known quantities have destroyed our livers.

— NTX (@NTXabi) September 1, 2015

Don't think we should've included an option to buy for Ilori. Why did we buy him if he's not going to play for us?

— Cathal Kenneally (@Kman316) September 1, 2015

Sakho, Ilori, Luis Alberto, Markovic. £50 million worth of talent not given a fair chance by Rodgers.

— ? (@RedRegista) September 1, 2015

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Категории: LFC NEWS

Jose Enrique denies West Brom interest, says he’s happy to stay at Liverpool

Втр, 01/09/2015 - 21:40

Jose Enrique says he is happy to stay at Liverpool and that there was never any interest in him from West Brom.

 Liverpool's Jose Enrique in action against Stoke City during the Premiership match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Shortly after the transfer window closed on Tuesday, Enrique tweeted “Just to let you all know that it wasn’t any offer from west brown for me. I’m happy to stay and fight for my place.”

The tweet was deleted shortly after.

enrique-tweet

He then re-added the tweet, correcting the spelling error on West Brom.

Just to let you all know that it wasn't any offer from westbrom for me.I'm happy to stay and fight for my place. #YNWA

— José enrique (@Jesanchez3) September 1, 2015

Earlier in the day, media had reported that the unwanted Spanish left-back was to join West Brom for a nominal fee – which seemed bizarre given Tony Pulis’ typical style of defender being quite the opposite of Enrique.

The 29-year-old has been made to train away from the first-team squad this summer, along with Mario Balotelli and Fabio Borini.

He last played for the club in January against Bolton – when he was subbed at half-time. His last start before that was against Basel in the Champions League in December – when he was subbed at half-time.

Earlier this month Enrique gave an interview to Spanish paper AS in which he claimed “I know that if I stay I’ll play.”

Enrique was signed by Kenny Dalglish in 2011, arriving from Newcastle for £6 million. He has made 96 appearances in all competitions, scoring two goals – against Swansea and Wigan in 2012/13, by far his best season for the club.

The following year he suffered a serious knee injury and has never recovered, making 18 appearances in the last two seasons.

More recently he’s better known for posting selfies on social media media and gushing over his girlfriend.

Enrique has a year left on his LFC contract and reportedly earns £60,000 per week.

Update: Enrique later quit twitter:

enrique-tweet2

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Категории: LFC NEWS

From Milner to Awoniyi: Full Liverpool FC Summer Transfer Window Roundup

Втр, 01/09/2015 - 21:26

With the summer transfer window now officially closed, here is a full round-up of all the ins and outs at Anfield over the last two months.

New signings 2015/16 Benteke Milner Clyne

After months of new signings, players sold and endless speculation that predictably amounted to nothing, the transfer window is now shut until January.

It has been a busy summer for Liverpool FC, both in terms of incoming purchases and unwanted players leaving, and it must be deemed a success overall.

Only time will tell if that is the case- many felt the summer of 2014 was productive too, and look how that panned out- but the new faces have bedded in nicely in opening weeks of the campaign.

Here is a round-up of all Liverpool’s business in the transfer market throughout the summer:

INS

benteke-signing1

James Milner

The 29-year-old arrived on a free transfer from Man City, with a central midfield role promised by Brendan Rodgers and regular football guaranteed. He has been arguably Liverpool’s best player so far this season.

Danny Ings

Ings joined from Burnley after an impressive season with the Clarets, although the fee Liverpool will be paying for the England Under-21 striker will be decided by a tribunal. It is thought to be in the region of £7million.

Adam Bogdan

Bogdan was brought in as an upgrade on the departed Brad Jones- more on him later- and competition for Simon Mignolet, making the move to Merseyside from Bolton Wanderers on a free transfer.

Joe Gomez

The 18-year-was a virtual unknown to many Reds supporters when he joined for £3.5million from Charlton Athletic, but has been a revelation since arriving. The future looks extremely bright for the talented young defender.

 Liverpool's Roberto Firmino in action against AFC Bournemouth during the Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Roberto Firmino

The signing of Firmino was probably met with the most joy from Liverpool fans, with the Brazilian forward moving to Anfield from Bundesliga side Hoffenheim for £29million in late June.

Nathaniel Clyne

We all saw Clyne’s quality when he scored in front of the Kop for Southampton at the start of last season, and the right-back joined for £12.5million as a clear replacement for Glen Johnson. Early evidence would suggest it is an absolute bargain.

Christian Benteke

Benteke joined Liverpool for £32.5million from Aston Villa, making him the club’s second-most expensive signing of all time. He divided opinion in the weeks leading up to his move, but has impressed early on.

Taiwo Awoniyi

The teenage Nigerian forward was the Reds’ final signing of the summer, joining for £800,000 from Imperial Academy. He will immediately join 2. Bundesliga side FSV Frankfirt on loan.

OUTS

 Liverpool's Iago Aspas in action against Olympiakos CFP during a preseason friendly match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Iago Aspas

Aspas spent last season on loan at Sevilla, before signing a five-year deal at former club Celta Vigo in June. Will we ever forgive him for THAT corner?

Sebastian Coates

Things never quite materialised for Coates in a Liverpool shirt, and the Uruguayan centre-back moved to Sunderland for £2million.

Javier Manquillo

The young Spanish full-back struggled to force himself into the side during the first of his two-year loan spell from Atletico Madrid, and saw the deal terminated early because of it. He has now been loaned out to Marseille.

 Liverpool's substitute Raheem Sterling cannot look at the supporters as he walks off at half-time 5-0 down to lowly Stoke City during the Premier League match at the Britannia Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Raheem Sterling

Easily the most talked about British transfer of the summer, Sterling joined Man City for a staggering £49million. It’s fair to say that the 20-year-old’s return to Anfield in March should be interesting.

Rickie Lambert

The 33-year-old’s dream move to his beloved Reds turned into something of a nightmare in the end, and he joined West Brom for £3million after just one year at Anfield.

Rafael Paez

The former Liverpool Under-21 defender joined Segunda Division outfit AD Alcorcon.

Fabio Borini

Borini never really looked like being a success story on Merseyside, and joined Sunderland for £8million on Deadline Day Eve (if that’s even a thing).

LOANED
(All season loans unless stated otherwise)

European Football - UEFA Europa League - Round of 32 - Liverpool FC v Besiktas JK

Danny Ward – Aberdeen
Luis Alberto – Deportivo La Coruna
Lloyd Jones – Blackpool
Jordan Williams – Swindon Town
Kevin Stewart – Swindon Town
Andre Wisdom – Norwich City
Lawrence Vigouroux – Swindon Town
Sheyi Ojo – Wolves
Harry Wilson – Crewe Alexandra (January 2016)
Mario Balotelli – AC Milan
Lazar Markovic – Fenerbahce
Joe Maguire – Leyton Orient (September 2016)
Ryan McLaughlin – Aberdeen (January 2016)
Samed Yesil – FC Luzern
Sergi Canos – Brentford (January 2016)
Taiwo Awoniyi – FSV Frankfurt
Tiago Ilori – Aston Villa

RELEASED

 Liverpool's captain Steven Gerrard waves goodbye to the supporters after his final game for the Reds at Anfield during the Premier League match against Crystal Palace. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Steven Gerrard (LA Galaxy)
Glen Johnson (Stoke City)
Brad Jones (Bradford City)
Jordan Lussey (Bolton Wanderers)
Marc Pelosi (San Jose Earthquakes)

ACADEMY Signings:

Bobby Adekanye (Barcelona)

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Категории: LFC NEWS

Taiwo Awoniyi: Profiling Liverpool’s new Nigerian forward signing

Втр, 01/09/2015 - 16:04

With Taiwo Awoniyi joining Liverpool from the Nigerian Imperial Academy, Jack Lusby profiles the teenage striker.

Taiwo Awoniyi Interview

Liverpool completed the signing of 18-year-old Nigerian centre-forward Taiwo Awoniyi this summer, and the former Imperial Academy star is primed for a bright future in the Premier League.

“This is the biggest club in the world and I’m privileged to be here,” he said on his arrival.

“I’ll try to develop myself very well so that when I come back to Liverpool I’ll be able to add value to the team.

“When I’m in the red shirt, I will always give my very best to make the fans happy.”

Spending the 2015/16 season on loan with 2 Bundesliga side FSV Frankfurt with a view to securing a UK work permit, Awoniyi is saying all of the right things after spurning reported interest from Porto and AS Monaco.

But who is Liverpool’s new striker, and what can he bring to Brendan Rodgers‘ side?

Taiwo Awoniyi

If his father had his wish, Awoniyi would not be a footballer.

“It was miserable for me any time my dad caught me playing football or got to know that I went to play football,” the 18-year-old recalled of his upbringing in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital in western Nigeria.

“In school, I was a very intelligent student and my dad wanted me to be a doctor. My teachers and my fellow students called me doctor but they also knew that I was very good when it came to playing football.

“My father tried severally to stop me from football but my other siblings and twin sister especially, always covered up for me.”

But following his son’s big-money move to Merseyside, Solomon Awoniyi will be proud that the lofty centre-forward has achieve a degree of success.

Making his name in the Imperial Academy, founded in 2009 by former Wolverhampton Wanderers midfielder Seyi Olofinjana, Awoniyi was soon picked up by Nigerian international bosses, garnering the praise of former Arsenal striker, Nwankwo Kanu:

Watched him play for U17/U20 and talked to him, our hottest kid and if he keeps doing his best he will be a star.AWONIYI

— Kanu Nwankwo (@papilokanu) April 14, 2015

Drawing comparisons to legendary Nigerian forward Rashidi Yekini, Awoniyi has remained humble.

“I am not under any pressure. I will play my game and whatever will be will surely be,” he said in July.

“It is an honour to be compared to a legend like Rashidi Yekini and for Nigerians to expect so much from me.

“I will not shy away from any responsibility given me but only God can tell what I will be. All I know is that I will continue to work hard and leave the rest to God.”

An intelligent, well-grounded young player, Awoniyi still harbours hope of earning a university degree in the future, but his education may have to take a backseat while his footballing potential skyrockets.

Playing Style, Strengths and Weaknesses

“I gave Awoniyi his first call up to the Super Eagles sometime ago because I know that he has the quality of a goal poacher who can deliver the goals when needed,” Nigeria manager Stephen Keshi explained in May.

He later added: “Taiwo Awoniyi is young and talented and has the quality of a good striker. So who says he can’t lead the Eagles attack?

“He just needs to be ready for the task and show it on the field of play which I believe the boy is capable of doing.”

Awoniyi is being primed for a key role for the Super Eagles in the near future, with his trajectory following that of fellow high-profile forwards Isaac Success and Kelechi Iheanacho—players he starred alongside as Nigeria won the Under-17 World Cup in 2013.

[embedded content]

Success, the 19-year-old Granada striker, and Iheanacho, a player who has been tipped for a first-team role with Manchester City this season, operated alongside Awoniyi this summer, in Nigeria’s ill-fated run in the Under-20 World Cup in New Zealand.

The Flying Eagles advanced from their group but were then knocked out by an impressive Germany side.

Awoniyi scored two goals and made two assists, missing just 14 minutes of Nigeria’s tournament, while Success also scored twice in four appearances.

A 5’11”, off-the-shoulder striker, Awoniyi possesses a strong work ethic, the strength to hold up the ball in attack and a useful creative ability.

Before the tournament Nigeria U20s manager Manu Garba highlighted Awoniyi as his key striker, saying “he is a player who gets into a scoring position better than any other player I believe if he stayed calm, he will be one player who will do very, very well at the World Cup.”

However, Garba’s praise notes one key flaw in Awoniyi’s game at present: a lack of composure and consistency in front of goal.

Discussing Awoniyi’s Liverpool move Goal’s Solace Chukwu detailed the weaknesses he must work on:

For all of his assets, there remains a rawness to his play—his runs are great but not consistently well-timed yet, as Germany found out to their glee at the U20 World Cup.

Most significantly, his all-round game needs work. He lacks finesse on the ball, understandable perhaps considering he prefers to play on the shoulder of the defence, but he will have to improve in this area. He could also do more in terms of bringing others into play, and positioning himself intelligently. Often, he can seem not so much a part of the team as an appendage of it, albeit the most important limb of all.

But as the Super Eagles’ main hope for a bright future on the international stage, Awoniyi is clearly a talent worth Liverpool’s attention.

Spending a season on loan with Frankfurt provides him with a useful transition into life on a bigger stage in Europe.

Where Does Awoniyi Fit in at Liverpool?

Though it may come to the consternation of many supporters, Liverpool are seemingly building their long-term vision around Rodgers.

This summer of signings has been tailored solely around the manager, with Rodgers given full control of transfers resulting in the arrivals of James Milner, Nathaniel Clyne and Christian Benteke, among others.

This is filtered down into the academy ranks, too.

Allan, Bobby Adkanye and Brooks Lennon have all joined the Reds this summer, while Harry Wilson, Sheyi Ojo, Sergi Canos and Pedro Chirivella are among many to have been promoted to a more focal role in the academy.

With that in mind, Awoniyi’s arrival may be another significant one for Liverpool as they build for the future.

Clearly earmarked for a leading role for Nigeria as they look to put recent failures behind them and regenerate Keshi’s ranks, Awoniyi will be hoping to establish himself at Liverpool in the next few years.

A season in Frankfurt can aid this, with Awoniyi able to hone his raw talent while gaining the work permits required to play in England.

As a hardworking, off-the-shoulder striker with pace and a bullish physicality, Awoniyi fits the description of a 2015/16-era Rodgers selection, and he could be competing with the likes of Danny Ings and Divock Origi on Merseyside.

Keshi holds the belief that he can lead the attack for the Super Eagles, and this season Awoniyi has the chance to prove that he is capable of doing so in the future for Liverpool.

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Категории: LFC NEWS

Defensive decisions and how to cope without Coutinho

Втр, 01/09/2015 - 13:46

Benji Deane takes a look at the decisions facing Brendan Rodgers during this international break – particularly in defence and following Coutinho’s dismissal.

 West Ham United's manager Slaven Bilic and Liverpool's manager Brendan Rodgers during the Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Questions have been raised since Liverpool’s eye-opening defeat to West Ham in front of the Kop on Saturday, and it seems Brendan Rodgers is left with decisions to make and much work to do during the international break. But what are the key issues for the Reds manager and how can he solve these?

I’m sure I can speak for all Reds fans in saying that Saturday is a day best forgotten in a hurry. But for one man, Rodgers, the humbling by the Hammers will provide food for thought over the coming days. With the international break upon us, Rodgers evidently has a lot on his hands to restore the early season optimism built on three clean sheets.

Granted, only Philippe Coutinho‘s magic saved us away to Stoke decisions went our way against Bournemouth, but the cautious positivity felt among the majority of supporters gave the thought that we were starting to walk the right path to rebuild. Shrewd signings, facilitated by a rarely seen sense of urgency by Ian Ayre and co, seemed to have done the trick. Big name signings in Benteke, Firmino, Clyne and Milner had the fans smiling again, and with raw talents Ings and Gomez acquired, the squad began to look revitalised.

One bad result later, and the media and a portion of fans are at pains to point out Rodgers’ and Liverpool’s failings. Saturday’s 3-0 loss could be a blip, but whilst I for one believe it is just that, the Anfield management must look at several key issues arising from that game.

Defensive Decisions

 Liverpool's Dejan Lovren looks dejected after his mistake led to West Ham United's second goal during the Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Nobody needs reminding of the frailties and poor decision making of our centre backs in that match. A horror show from Lovren, and a costly clearance from Skrtel set the tone for a bad day on Merseyside. Wind back to before kick-off however, and the pair were praised – and rightly so – for largely solid performances, aided by the superb Gomez and Clyne. So how can this be rectified?

Wherever it did go wrong, Rodgers will be criticised for his selections in that area in light of the result. Perhaps a recall for Mamadou Sakho doesn’t feel too far off.

After a reported £20m fee, some would argue that it would hinder Lovren’s progress to drop him, and it seems that a knock to the confidence is all he needs after a shaky performance this weekend. Rodgers must work with Lovren to assure he is confident and quick in the making decisions. But others would point to our options in the squad in Sakho and Ilori, and this could prove the way forward.

With many missing for the international break, it will leave little time for Rodgers to work with a full squad before a crunch tie with Manchester United, and as such I believe that wholesale change is not the answer – or at least yet.

 Liverpool's Mamadou Sakho in action against Manchester United during the Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Sakho has shown himself to be arguably our best defender, and as an assured physical presence, a recall for the France international is surely the right decision here. Rodgers will have the full period of the break to work with him and many Reds fans would feel more comfortable seeing his name on the team sheet come 12th September.

Skrtel however, is a different kettle of fish all together. He divides opinion; whether it be his tendency to shirt pull in the area or make defensive errors, or his tenacity and knack of producing vital blocks. One wonders, given his errors and the fact that he is not getting any younger, whether it would be time to give Tiago Ilori a chance.

The 22-year old Portugese has turned down a loan move to Sunderland and I would welcome an opportunity for the youngster to prove his worth this season. However, with perhaps one of the biggest games of the season in United away on the horizon, this may not be the right time for him to step in. That said, I wouldn’t bet against him featuring before the Christmas fixtures are upon us.

How to cope without Coutinho

Another sore subject from Saturday is the dismissal of Coutinho. He was clearly distraught to have been sent off, but perhaps more distraught will be Rodgers, who now cannot select his star player for the trip to Old Trafford. So how does the manager deal with this?

 Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho Correia looks dejected after being sent off against West Ham United during the Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

In my eyes, given the length of the break, a change in shape could prove beneficial. The 4-4-2 diamond system, used to such success in recent times, can be an asset to a strong squad against the Red Devils and there is evidence to suggest Rodgers’ favoured 4-3-3 has not been as productive as it could have been. A gap of 14 days will give enough time to work on any change in system and for players to get to grips with this.

Although three clean sheets have been kept, we have scored just two goals, and aside from the countless chances created away against Arsenal, we still lack that killer consistency in the final third. Benteke has looked promising, but could surely do with more assistance up top, and new recruit Danny Ings should be given a chance against United.

Benteke’s hold-up play has been brilliant since his arrival from Aston Villa, and I can’t help but think that playing Ings just off his shoulder to make use of that threat would make us more potent up top. Ings is a versatile striker, and his cameo against West Ham means he should be given more opportunity.

The loss of Coutinho is a definite headache, but should be seen as a positive for Liverpool. It has long been said that new arrival Roberto Firmino’s best position is in the hole behind the striker(s), and Rodgers should use the United fixture as a chance to test his ability in his preferred position.

 Liverpool's Roberto Firmino in action against AFC Bournemouth during the Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Firmino’s work ethic and hunger to chase back and press means another dimension would be added at the top end of the midfield, and his eye for a pass will help feed Benteke and Ings up top.

How the Reds could line up

Using the 4-4-2 Diamond system, Rodgers should line up as follows:

GK: Mignolet
The selection of the Belgian international is a no-brainer here, and I’m backing Mignolet to build on his recent clean sheets agains United.

Defence: Clyne, Skrtel, Sakho, Gomez
Whether or not Rodgers decides to stick with Lovren remains to be seen, but I’m going with Sakho to provide reassurance and a physical presence at the back alongside Skrtel. Young Gomez has proved a great buy at a reported £3.5m, and along with Clyne, should definitely start.

DM: Can
Can will be high on confidence now, after his call up to the Germany squad, and his recent powerful performances and his ability to turn defence into attack quickly should see him start ahead of Lucas.

CM: Henderson (c), Milner
Providing Henderson is fit, there is no contest here and the workhorses that are Henderson and Milner will get the nod.

AM: Firmino
Despite an unspectacular performance against West Ham, Firmino’s best position is attacking midfield and now that Coutinho has been ruled out of the game, Rodgers should look to test that theory and start the Brazilian behind the strikers.

ST: Ings, Benteke
Up top I’ve gone with the pairing of Ings and Benteke. Former Burnley striker Ings deserves a full opportunity soon, and I believe he would thrive on Benteke’s hold up play. We’ve also not looked too likely to stretch defences this season, other than the Arsenal game, and giving Daley Blind and Chris Smalling an extra strong striker to contend with along with Firmino will cause more problems than we did on Saturday.

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Категории: LFC NEWS

Brendan Rodgers’ tactics set Christian Benteke up for a fall

Втр, 01/09/2015 - 13:26

Aaron Cutler is critical of Brendan Rodgers‘ tactics and in particular his use of Christian Benteke.

 Liverpool's Dejan Lovren looks dejected after his mistake led to West Ham United's second goal during the Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Saturday afternoon was a case of Dejan Vu. A promising start obliterated, early optimism extinguished and deep rooted problems, so far obscured, laid bare for all to see.

Liverpool were fortunate to register nil against West Ham, undressed by opponents deemed 14 times inferior by certain bookmakers. The scoreline itself was damning, the performance far worse. For Saturday was but a re-run of the many horror shows to plague 2014/15.

Familiar failings reared their ugly head, giving credence to Barrack Obama’s claim that you may put lipstick on a pig but ultimately…

Radio phone-ins crackled with vehemence, twitter timelines crumbled beneath fume. Here commenced operation meltdown – the first of this a new season – in full hysteria.

Anger proved the overriding emotion; fury at that team selection, those tactics and a diabolical ‘display’. Each grievance undeniably justified.

Fury too at Dejan Lovren for a perplexing self-confidence that borders on arrogance.

Quite why the Croatian, a limited defender never mind footballer, backs himself so is astounding. Time and again he’ll shank a cross-field pass into the Kemlyn or have his pocket picked by opponents he’s felt compelled to beat.

Lovren’s stubbornness is matched only by his manager, whose outright refusal to oust this liability WILL cost him his job.

Both copped rightful flack post-match but then no one was excused. That said one man who could put forward a case for the defence is Christian Benteke, himself a virtual spectator.

To label the Belgian a popular signing is inaccurate; rather the popular belief was his output would define Brendan Rodgers long-term future. Why then are Liverpool setting him up to fail?

In the wake of Saturday’s defeat irate fans were questioning the striker’s work rate, accusing him of laziness. Those same supporters no doubt who lambasted Mario Balotelli’s tendency to drop deep and wander anywhere but the six yard box.

Benteke was Liverpool’s designated forward and presumably instructed to stay in the vicinity of the opposition goal. Makes sense, right?

As staggering as it may sound, it is the duty of others to involve him.

If Benteke was to go seek out possession, in a similar vain to Philippe Coutinho, it would leave us with no focal point. His isolation is an indictment on those charged with playing in and around him, as well as the team’s collective tactics.

Four games in this has become a worrying trend.

Away at Stoke Benteke competed well but was starved of third man runners. This improved slightly at home to Bournemouth, considerably so away to Arsenal.

 Liverpool's Christian Benteke is denied by Stoke City's goalkeeper Jack Butland during the Premier League match at the Britannia Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

On Saturday however he cut a lone figure deprived of numbers and crosses. It smacked of one step forward, two giant steps back and alarming regression.

West Ham’s stifling game plan saw Coutinho drop deep to salvage possession, Roberto Firmino also. Suddenly a 4-3-3 with able support becomes a 4-5-1 with little to no width.

The two Brazilians are self-confessed playmakers who like to roam; neither will hug the touchline and look to shift then cross.

This renders Benteke practically redundant, particularly when your three central midfielders are both one paced and one of the same.

On the few occasions Liverpool went long to their front man they were lofted rather than telling balls. There was nothing to attack, hence a first half that resulted in Benteke touching the ball just ten times.

Away from home Big Ben will prove a great out ball, a chance to not only relieve but retain possession. This was best demonstrated at the Emirates, wherein he won 16 of 24 aerial duels.

He did so with intelligence, doing far more than glancing balls in the vein of Andy Carroll. Instead the 6ft 4in target man commanded the clearance, bringing it under his spell before feeding a teammate. Startling, I know.

At Anfield, with the emphasis on Liverpool to break down two banks of four, that game plan is worthless. It is in these instances where Liverpool must seek to vary their play and consider crossing purposefully.

A hopeful toss into the box from deep, the like of which Javier Manquillo came to define, is wasteful possession. Instead Liverpool must commit players and seek to hit the bye line, affording Benteke the chance to feed on something.

 Liverpool's manager Brendan Rodgers and assistant manager Sean O'Driscoll during the Premier League match against Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Alternatively, Rodgers idealistic 4-3-3 should be abandoned in favour of the diamond or any variant that results in two up top.

Shoots of recovery were evident only once Danny Ings was introduced on Saturday, the debutant linking with Benteke, albeit from a wide berth.

A proper foil will give defenders something or rather someone else to think about – be it Ings or the returning Daniel Sturridge. Suddenly you boast a threat in behind and someone to feed off a knock down at the very least.

Nobody is labelling Tactics Tim a footballing mastermind but Sherwood’s summer warning to Benteke does hold weight.

Villa’s chief geezer was at pains to highlight how only one Premier League team crossed the ball less than Liverpool last term, a penny for the thoughts of someone to have headed more goals than anyone (16) since arriving on these shores.

Certain pundits claim Rodgers has sacrificed his own principles by integrating Benteke, Saturday revealed that a half true.

For though the reds are going longer (particularly from goal kicks) they are yet to introduce genuine width. Sherwood vindicated, at least initially.

Nathaniel Clyne looks to bomb on but his was the only pass available last weekend. On the opposite flank Joe Gomez appeared what he is, a right footed central defender instilled at left full back.

Square pegs in round holes have become an all too familiar sight.

The youngster’s defensive capabilities make him a shoe-in away from home but at Anfield the more adventurous – and left footed – Alberto Moreno is surely a better option.

 Liverpool's Alberto Moreno in action against Adelaide United during a preseason friendly match at the Adelaide Oval on day eight of the club's preseason tour. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Gomez is loathe to surge forward on his weaker foot and understandably so. Finding your feet is hard enough without the added burden of orchestrating attacks in an otherwise toothless set-up.

Even Jordon Ibe and Adam Lallana, when selected, tend to drift in-field and dessert their designated flank. Liverpool do not so much as hunt width as deliberately avoid it, a bizarre tactic made all the stranger given current personnel.

As for Benteke his all round play was well received up until Saturday, when those first murmurings of complaint surfaced. These were not only harsh but inevitable and certainly without foundation.

Brendan Rodgers went out on a limb to secure his man, now he must build his team around him. To expect the player himself to conform to a progressive and increasingly guileless set-up is naive and suicidal.

The reds boss has patently alienated swathes of the support yet his destiny lies in the hands of FSG and by extension Christian Benteke. The latter is the marquee signing who simply must succeed; let’s give him every chance to.

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Категории: LFC NEWS

Liverpool sign Nigerian teenager Taiwo Awoniyi

Пнд, 31/08/2015 - 20:39

Liverpool have signed 18-year-old Nigerian striker Taiwo Awoniyi, with the player immediately joining 2 Bundesliga side FSV Frankfurt on loan.

Taiwo Awoniyi Interview

Awoniyi becomes the 16th player to leave the club on loan this summer, following similar temporary moves for Samed Yesil (FC Luzern), Sergi Canos (Brentford), Joe Maquire (Leyton Orient) and Ryan McLaughlin (Aberdeen) in the past few days.

While Awoniyi arrives, Fabio Borini completed his departure from the club on Monday, joining Sunderland on a permanent deal for an initial £8 million.

Liverpool reportedly beat clubs such as Monaco and Porto to the signing of the Nigerian under-23 international, with the deal worth an initial £800,000 but could rise to £3m with add-ons.

Awoniyi told the official LFC website: “This is the biggest club in the world and I’m privileged to be here.

“I’ll try to develop myself very well so that when I come back to Liverpool I’ll be able to add value to the team.

“When I’m in the red shirt, I will always give my very best to make the fans happy.”

Currently out on loan:
All season loans unless stated otherwise

Danny Ward – Aberdeen
Luis Alberto – Deportivo La Coruna
Lloyd Jones – Blackpool
Jordan Williams – Swindon Town
Kevin Stewart – Swindon Town
Andre Wisdom – Norwich City
Lawrence Vigouroux – Swindon Town
Sheyi Ojo – Wolves
Harry Wilson – Crewe Alexandra (January 2016)
Mario Balotelli – AC Milan
Lazar Markovic – Fenerbahce
Joe Maguire – Leyton Orient (September 2016)
Ryan McLaughlin – Aberdeen (January 2016)
Samed Yesil – FC Luzern
Sergi Canos – Brentford (January 2016)
Taiwo Awoniyi – FSV Frankfurt

UPDATED: LFC squad season 2015/16

UPDATED: LFC transfers summer 2016

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Категории: LFC NEWS