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Christian Benteke could be “the perfect player” for Liverpool – Robbie Fowler

Пт, 03/07/2015 - 19:29

Weighing into the debate over Liverpool forward target Christian Benteke’s suitability to the Reds’ system, Robbie Fowler has endorsed the club’s interest.

 Aston Villa's Christian Benteke celebrates scoring the first equalising goal against Liverpool during the FA Cup Semi-Final match at Wembley Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool’s interest in Aston Villa centre-forward Christian Benteke this summer is well-known.

While the Villans’ £32.5 million price-tag is currently preventing a move, legendary Reds striker Robbie Fowler thinks Liverpool are making the right move by targeting the 24-year-old, saying he could be Brendan Rodgers‘ “main man.”

Speaking to the Liverpool Echo‘s James Pearce, he said: “It’s important we get a proven goalscorer and of the names being bandied about I’d go for Benteke.

“I think he’s excellent.

“I know there are other top strikers out there and probably more prolific scorers.

“But in terms of all-round play – strength, speed, physicality, finishing – I think Benteke could be the main man for Liverpool.”

Fowler, a true poacher-type striker, scored 183 goals in 369 games for the Reds largely due to his intelligent movement and instinctive finishing, believes Benteke can thrive despite possessing a different skill set.

“I’ve watched him a lot and he’s not just a target man,” he continued.

“He can hold the ball well and bring others into play but he’s also mobile and keeps defenders on their toes.”

He later added: “I think he’s ideal for the way Brendan wants to play. It’s probably what we lacked at times last season.

“We had forwards who wanted to drop deep to get involved with the play and we always had that gap up front.

“With a Benteke type, you have someone who will stay up there and stretch defenders.

“If you have someone who stretches the defence and makes the pitch bigger there’s a lot more space for the likes of Firmino, Coutinho and Henderson to run into.

“When you’ve got players who want to drop deep all the time, you’re easier to mark as a team. When forwards drop into Coutinho’s position, it makes it harder for him to get on the ball.

“Liverpool’s game isn’t all about getting down the line and whipping crosses in, it’s about movement but I think Benteke has got that.

“I can’t stress enough how important it is that we get a forward like that – someone to make the pitch big.

“It’s vital for us because it brings others into the game.”

Brushing off Benteke’s lofty valuation, Fowler concluded: “He scores goals, he’s a threat and a real handful for defenders.

“Being honest, I think he’s probably the perfect player for us.”

Having been given a glowing endorsement from one of Liverpool’s greatest ever strikers, the pressure will be on Benteke to succeed on Merseyside if the Reds do opt to sign him this summer.

Whether he truly is the “perfect player” for Rodgers’ side remains to be seen.

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Категории: LFC NEWS

Steven Gerrard turned down European moves before trading Liverpool for MLS

Пт, 03/07/2015 - 17:29

Former Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard admits he turned down a “couple of nice opportunities” to move to a club in Europe in order to pursue a new challenge with the Los Angeles Galaxy.

 Liverpool's captain Steven Gerrard in action against AFC Wimbledon during the FA Cup 3rd Round match at the Kingsmeadow Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The 35-year-old midfielder is set to be presented to his new club’s fans at half-time of Saturday’s Major League Soccer game against Toronto.

He will then publicly don Galaxy kit for the first time in an open training session on Tuesday ahead of a press conference, with his debut pencilled in for July 17 at home to San Jose Earthquakes.

Former England captain Gerrard is looking forward to a fresh start after admitting he wanted a new challenge.

“I had some nice opportunities around Europe,” he told Galaxy TV.

“But I wanted a completely fresh challenge, to come out of my comfort zone, live away from home and get a different life experience and choose a place where my family can enjoy themselves and settle.

“When I retire from football in a few years time I want to say I did try something different and didn’t stay in the same place – although I loved every minute of it.”

Gerrard has had to counter accusations he will have an easy life in MLS having played so long in the Premier League, but he is determined not to allow his personal standards to slip.

“I’ve been working really hard alone to make sure my physical condition is still good and to make sure I still have my strength because when I turn up at Los Angeles I want to be ready to go,” he said.

“I don’t want any excuses that I need weeks or a month to get fitness, I’m trying to keep that level so I’m in good condition when I arrive.

“I like to give 100 per cent, work as hard as I can, I don’t like losing, so I’ll do everything I can to try to win football matches.

“I’m a team player, I’m no individual, I never think about myself – it’s all about the team and what I can bring to the team to help us win.”

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Категории: LFC NEWS

Ian Ayre assures fans: Liverpool can afford the best players

Пт, 03/07/2015 - 17:15

Liverpool chief executive Ian Ayre insists the club can still buy top players within the remit of their “smart and sustainable” transfer policy and a lack of Champions League football does not affect that.

 Liverpool's Managing Director Ian Ayre during the FA Cup 3rd Round match against Oldham Athletic at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Reds have already made considerable strides with their summer recruitment plans with six first-team signings already in place, including Hoffenheim forward Roberto Firmino, whose £29 million deal will make him their second most expensive signing.

Liverpool also remain in the hunt for Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke, although they value him at less than his release clause of £32.5 million.

Spending this year has not matched that of 12 months ago, when £110 million was invested in eight players on the back of Luis Suarez‘s £75 million sale to Barcelona.

Owners Fenway Sports Group’s policy is to buy younger players of potential who have a resale value and Ayre insists this is the only way to avoid the financial problems which beset the club before the Americans took over almost five years ago.

“I stood on the Kop for many years as a fan, and like everyone else I’d love to buy all the greatest players, regardless of price,” he told the League Managers’ Association magazine The Manager.

“But, as we saw under the club’s previous ownership, things can all go very wrong financially; then people will hold you accountable for not running the club in the right way.

“You can’t work that way. You have to have a very detailed, thought-out plan and ensure everyone buys into it and adheres to it.

“That is what we have been doing and will continue to do.

“It doesn’t mean we are not investing in or buying good players; we are just doing it in a smart and sustainable way.

“We may not be competing in the Champions League this year but we are still making progress as a club and continuing to add quality to our squad.

“We are also improving financially, which means that as we go forward with the plan we will have more resources and will be able to invest more than we have in the past.”

 Liverpool's manager Brendan Rodgers and Managing Director Ian Ayre during a press conference at the Plaza Athenee Hotel ahead of their preseason friendly match against Thailand. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The way the club’s transfer committee – made up of six members including FSG president Mike Gordon, Ayre, manager Brendan Rodgers and members of the recruitment department – operates has been criticised for seemingly not producing joined-up thinking on signings.

Rodgers has been reluctant to speak about the workings of the committee but has publicly insisted he has the final say over all signings.

Ayre said the general model now installed at the club works and the manager has bought into it fully.

“If your manager doesn’t understand your long-term plan it will never work, because he’s in charge of the biggest cost item – the players,” Ayre said.

“Brendan is very much a team person, he understands budgets and the financial implications of bringing in certain players, and he is very easy to get on with.

“That always helps gel a team together, because it means you can spend time together socially and professionally and discuss things in a relaxed way.”

Of the way FSG have changed the way the club is run since taking over from Tom Hicks and George Gillett, Ayre added: “We needed a plan and a group of people who were committed to it and who would work together to achieve it.

“This ownership and management team is strong and united.

“There are no egos, we are honest with one another and I know I have their full support.

“I have direct and open lines of communication with the owners at all times and we make and stand or fall by decisions as a group.

“The unity that we achieved is exactly what Liverpool needed to move forward.

“It’s now in a far more profitable situation and that is the result of good management and good people, which includes our manager.”

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Категории: LFC NEWS

Football fans’ fury over thoughtlessly scheduled Premier League games

Пт, 03/07/2015 - 17:12

There appeared to be united condemnation from football fans after the Premier League and Sky Sports announced the rescheduling of games for television coverage on Friday.

 Liverpool fans protest against high ticket prices with banners 'A Working Class Sport?', 'Football Without Fans Is Nothing' during the Premiership match against Manchester City at the City of Manchester Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Bournemouth fans face a 528-mile round journey to Liverpool to make Anfield’s first game of the season for an 8pm kick-off on Monday, 17th August.

A week later Liverpool fans endure the 410-mile round journey to see their Reds take on Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium — 8pm on Monday, 24th August.

Both games have been moved to accommodate Sky Sports’ television coverage, whilst Newcastle fans face the same problem for their trip to West Ham on Monday, 14th September (a 558-mile round journey).

Amongst other thoughtlessly scheduled fixtures, Everton must make the 478-mile round trip to Southampton for a 12noon kick-off on Saturday, 15th August to accommodate BT Sport’s live coverage.

Just weeks ago Liverpool supporters’ union Spirit of Shankly made a plea to the Premier League, Sky Sports and BT Sport ahead of the fixtures being released:

We are writing to both Sky and BT Sport to request that they consider what moving a match from a 3pm kick off on Saturday to a Monday night at 8pm, actually means to the fans who travel. Particularly when the fixture change means that fans will then be unable to travel home using public transport and will more than likely need to take time off work to attend. Fans should not be expected to travel more than a set number of miles for fixtures at irregular kick off times.

However, it would appear the Premier League has disregarded fan welfare once again.

It wasn’t just Liverpool fans upset over the television scheduling announcement — angry voices came from across football.

Arsenal v Liverpool on a Monday night, something surely has to be done about such journeys midweek/Sundays for travelling fans.

— Graeme White (@Greyz10) July 3, 2015

Poor show by @SkyFootball getting Bournemouth fans to travel to Liverpool on a Monday night

— Ollie Heptinstall (@OliHepy) July 3, 2015

As a punter on Red Issue points out, it's good to see the fans put first as usual. Liverpool v Bournemouth on a Monday night at 8pm.

— Nick Metcalfe (@Nick_Metcalfe) July 3, 2015

Premier League logic. Move the Liverpool-Bournemouth game to a Monday night. I mean, Merseyside is so easy to get to from the south coast.

— David Webber (@DrDaveWebber) July 3, 2015

Can't only complain when its against us, making Liverpool fans travel to London on a Monday night is bollocks.

— Adam (@AdamPembrey) July 3, 2015

Bournemouth fans dragged to Liverpool on a Monday night. Everton to Southampton on a Saturday morning. It begins.

— Mark Jones (@Mark_Jones86) July 3, 2015

So Sky put Liverpool v Bournemouth on a Monday night, absolutely no thought for the travelling fans as usual

— Jon Brocklehurst (@JonBrocklehurst) July 3, 2015

Nothing says 'Welcome To The Premier League' quite like Liverpool v Bournemouth on a Monday night, enjoy that trip Bournemouth fans

— Liam (@Macca26efc) July 3, 2015

The 12.45 k.o should be done away with. Where's the thought for away fans in Everton playing at Southampton at such a time @premierleague

— Roger Mottram (@rogerefc) July 3, 2015

@FA @premierleague @SkySports @AVFCOfficial #againstmodernfootball #skystolethesoul fans obviously mean bery little these days!

— George Wheeler (@GRWheeler7) July 3, 2015

But as long as the premier league can be sold all over the world who cares about proper fans

— ScouseNotEnglish (@born2bscouse) July 3, 2015

@thisisanfield worst trip i done was swansea away two seasons ago mon night! left at 11am monday home at 5am tuesday #awaydays

— Pablo (@paul_lauder) July 3, 2015

Is Friday’s television fixture rescheduling a blatant disregard for fan welfare? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Категории: LFC NEWS

Salomon Rondon: Who is Liverpool’s Venezuelan centre-forward target?

Пт, 03/07/2015 - 16:00

Zenit St. Petersburg centre-forward Salomon Rondon is on Liverpool’s list of targets this summer, and Jack Lusby explores what he could bring to Anfield.

 EXPA/ M. Gunn

While Liverpool contemplate whether they can justify spending £32.5 million on Aston Villa’s Christian Benteke this summer, another under-the-radar target has emerged in Zenit St. Petersburg centre-forward Salomon Rondon.

Reports surfaced as Reds CEO Ian Ayre flew out to Chile to seal the deal to sign Roberto Firmino while he was on Brazil duty at the Copa America that Rondon and Carlos Bacca were also being targeted.

Rondon, whose Venezuela crashed out in the group stages after losing to Brazil, is said to be available for £15 million.

With Bacca heading to Milan, Rondon now stands as de facto second choice behind Benteke this summer.

So just who is Liverpool’s centre-forward target?

Strengths

Growing up Caracas, the capital of Venezuela, Rondon started his footballing career with seven years at local side San Jose de Calasanz, before moving on to Deportivo Gulima, and then Aragua, before making the move to Spain to join Las Palmas.

Enjoying a relatively prolific goalscoring success at each of these clubs, it wasn’t until La Liga side Malaga—soon-to-be fronted by now-Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini and backed by significant Qatari funding—that Rondon rose to European prominence.

Leaving Malaga in 2012, Rondon joined Russian Premier League side Rubin Kazan, before switching to Zenit in January, for an eight-figure fee.

At 6’2″ and over 13st, it is easy to pinpoint Rondon’s natural strengths, and for Malaga, Rubin Kazan and Zenit he has operated in the target-man role up front.

He is strong and comfortable holding the ball up, and intelligent in his use of lay-offs.

However, he is also able to operate as a channel-running forward, working off the shoulder of opposing defenders.

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His finishing ability has progressed rapidly since moving to Russia, and he has averaged almost a goal every other game with Rubin Kazan and Zenit, with 33 goals in 71 Russian Premier Leaaue appearances.

He was joint-second highest goalscorer last term, behind only Brazil international Hulk (15), having scored 13 goals in 26 games.

However, whether this is due to the comparatively low quality of opposition in Russia is another matter entirely. But he did still average a goal every 196 minutes in his two seasons with Malaga—again, almost a goal per game—having scored 25 in 67 La Liga outings.

In 2012, Pellegrini described him as “a young man who likes to work hard,” and learning from former Manchester United hotshot Ruud van Nistelrooy at Malaga aided his development.

However, there are key weaknesses to Rondon’s game that Liverpool should consider this summer.

Weaknesses

Rondon’s main weakness, which may deter Liverpool targeting him as the first-choice centre-forward that can compensate for the injury issues that Sturridge has faced, is his lack of consistency.

The 25-year-old has long been a player who can switch from Olivier Giroud to Yannick Sagbo levels of output from game to game.

Take his contribution to the 2014/15 Russian Premier League season for Zenit.

Rondon opened the campaign with four goals in his first three games—one in the season opener against Arsenal Tula, followed by a brace at home to Torpedo Moscow, then another goal in a 2-1 win over Ural Sverdlovsk Oblast.

After that, however, he didn’t score for four games before notching a hat-trick in a 5-0 win over FK Rostov in September.

This pattern continued throughout the season, with Rondon suffering a seven-game goal drought immediately following that hat-trick, before scoring another three against Ural in March.

In his last 10 league games, Rondon scored three goals—he is extremely inconsistent, and that is exactly what Liverpool don’t need.

This is largely due to his questionable fitness.

He completed the full 90 minutes just seven times in his 28 league games last term, coming off the bench nine times and being substituted on 10 occasions.

This is all despite the Russian Premier League taking a three-month break over winter, owing to its unplayably harsh conditions.

So there is a huge question over whether Rondon could adapt to the rigours of the Premier League, but if Liverpool believe he is capable of doing so, where does he fit into Rodgers’ squad?

Where Rondon Would Fit in at Liverpool

It is clear that Liverpool need a striker, and going by the well-publicised pursuit of Benteke, it is clear that the Reds are changing their specification of striker required this summer.

Rondon suits that bulky, physical target-man role perfectly, and has also shown he can play within a technical system like Liverpool’s.

He could take up a lone centre-forward’s role in Rodgers’ starting lineup.

His attributes lend to that job description, but also his difference in style when compared to Sturridge suggests they could form a big-man, little-man partnership in a 4-4-2 when the England man is fit, for example.

However, does Rondon have the quality to truly alter Liverpool’s fortunes?

At £15 million, Rondon represents a lower-value alternative when compared to £32.5 million Benteke, but the Venezuelan would be more of a risk signing this summer.

Could he adapt to the Premier League? Could he maintain a higher level of consistency in Rodgers’ system? Could he improve his fitness to compensate for Sturridge’s injury-prone status?

He is a mid-level prospect with potential for growth, and if a Premier League club took a gamble on him this summer, they could unearth a 15-goal-a-season gem a la Giroud.

But there are too many question marks for Liverpool to risk.

In that respect, opting to spend double the money on Benteke would be the more sensible move for the Reds.

It is encouraging that Liverpool’s transfer committee are turning to the South American market this summer, but Rondon may not be the right target to propel the Reds back towards the top four.

Should Liverpool target Zenit St. Petersburg centre-forward Salomon Rondon this summer? Let us know in the comments below.

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Категории: LFC NEWS

Martin Skrtel will sign new Liverpool contract next week

Пт, 03/07/2015 - 14:48

After deliberating over terms throughout the summer so far, Liverpool centre-back Martin Skrtel is reportedly set to sign a new contract next week.

 Liverpool's Martin Skrtel in action against FC Basel during the final UEFA Champions League Group B match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Martin Skrtel will seal a new three-year Liverpool contract when he returns to pre-season training at Melwood next week.

That is according to reports on Friday.

James Pearce of the Liverpool Echo writes: “The defender has already agreed the deal in principle, with the details set to be finalised upon his return to pre-season training on Monday.

“Skrtel had entered the final 12 months of his current contract, and had expressed concern earlier in the year at what he deemed an ‘unacceptable’ offer from Liverpool.”

He later continues: “But after further negotiations, a deal has been reached, and Skrtel will now extend his seven-year stay on Merseyside.”

Following the departure of Steven Gerrard to LA Galaxy, Skrtel is the longest-serving player in the current Liverpool squad, and stands a good chance of being promoted to vice-captain if Jordan Henderson‘s assumes Gerrard’s captaincy for next season.

Skrtel has long been a dependable figure for the Reds, rarely missing games through injury, and has battled back from exile to become a mainstay under Brendan Rodgers.

Last season, the 30-year-old made 33 Premier League appearances, and played the fourth-most minutes (2,970) of any Liverpool player.

He particularly excelled in the sweeper role in Rodgers’ three-man defence during 2014/15, although there are concerns over his long-term suitability to a progressive, ball-playing back line.

Nevertheless, Skrtel’s commitment should stand as positive news in terms of stability within the Liverpool squad.

The Slovak joins Henderson, Daniel Sturridge, Philippe Coutinho, Jordon Ibe and Jon Flanagan in securing new contracts in recent months.

According to Pearce, the next to join that group could be midfielder Joe Allen.

“The Welshman still has two years left on his current Reds deal, but talks over a new one are ongoing, and it is unlikely that there will be any complication,” he writes.

“He too is due back at Melwood on Monday, along with the majority of the Reds’ first-team squad.”

Allen made 21 league appearances last term, and is a useful squad player for Rodgers.

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Категории: LFC NEWS

Why Liverpool should be looking to keep Javier Manquillo

Пт, 03/07/2015 - 12:58

On the news that Javier Manquillo’s loan is set to be cancelled, guest writer John Hablitz argues why Liverpool should keep the Spanish right-back.

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

Liverpool’s love for heritage and history is unrivaled. It is often something that sets the club apart from the rest and creates a unique connection between fans and club.

However, Liverpool does not need to repeat history with Javier Manquillo.

Are you Spanish? Do you know how to defend? Is “safety first” your motto?

Don’t come to Liverpool.

Javier Manquillo was an odd and random name to most Liverpool fans. However, the idea of gaining a young Spanish right-back with potential made most hope this was the writing on the wall for Glen Johnson.

Time would not favour the Spaniard as his first, and possibly his last, season at Anfield was left with all parties confused.

His performances were consistent and often above par, yet Liverpool believed they needed a better option and purchased Nathaniel Clyne.

In no way is Clyne bad business, nor am I advocating that Manquillo should be starting every game, but Liverpool should not be looking to cancel his loan from Atletico Madrid early.

Liverpool would be wise to keep the defensive-minded full-back.

Javier Manquillo

 Liverpool's Javier Manquillo in action against Southampton during the Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Bar two games against Crystal Palace and West Ham United, the Spaniard has consistently put in good work for the Reds.

Looking at his stats in the Premier League should make some heads turn:

Total Appearances: 10
Total Chances Created: 1
Average Pass Accuracy: 83%
Average Duels Won: 54%
Average Defensive Actions: 6
Total Defensive Errors: 0
Goals: 0
Shot Accuracy: 0%

Even though Manquillo was absolutely abysmal—as well as the rest of his team-mates—against Palace and West Ham, he managed to still not make a single defensive error.

He plays simple and holds himself back from going into the attack; but this isn’t necessarily a negative.

Two of Liverpool’s best performances of the year came when Manquillo was on the field.

He may not be bombing forward, but his defensive stats are very similar to arguably the best full-back in the Premier League, Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic:

Total Appearances: 37
Total Chances Created: 35
Average Pass Accuracy: 81%
Average Duels Won: 56%
Average Defensive Actions: 5
Total Defensive Errors: 2
Goals: 4
Shot Accuracy: 31%

Ivanovic’s overall game is miles ahead of the Spaniard, especially in going forward and attacking.

However, defensively he has made more errors and is comparable in everything else. Ivanovic is blessed to play in the best defensive team in the league and is rarely isolated.

Yet the young Spaniard was often left out to dry by himself and he still was comparable to the best in the league.

The Replacement

 Liverpool's Raheem Sterling in action against Southampton's Nathaniel Clyne during the Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Clyne is nothing to turn one’s nose up at: he is a future England starter and a promising full-back who is offensively dangerous.

He absolutely destroyed Liverpool with his offensive runs and scored a wonderful goal in last season’s league opener.

Even though Southampton lost the game, Clyne had reason to hold his head high. And his season was fairly good as well, overall:

Total Appearances: 35
Total Chances Created: 22
Average Pass Accuracy: 78%
Average Duels Won: 48%
Average Defensive Actions: 5
Total Defensive Errors: 1
Goals: 2
Shot Accuracy: 36%

Clyne looks to be the long-term solution and starter for Liverpool. However, defensively he is not as astute as Manquillo and can be caught out when going forward.

In no way is Clyne a worse player than Manquillo; rather one with a different style.

Having both players in the squad would be helpful for game-to-game management, and allow compensation for the marauding Alberto Moreno, who often leaves Liverpool open to counter attacks.

History Repeating Itself?

 Real Madrid Club de Futbol's Alvaro Arbeloa celebrates scoring a goal against Club Atletico de Madrid during the La Liga Primera Division Madrid Derby match at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu. (Pic by Hoch Zwei/Sprimont Press/Propaganda)

Liverpool lost out big-time when they let Alvaro Arbeola leave to Real Madrid: he is a world-class defensive-minded full-back that has gone on to win everything possible.

Liverpool replaced the Spanish international with Johnson—a replacement that was thought to be a good idea, yet ended horribly.

It would seem that Liverpool is doing the exact same thing when in truth there is no need.

There is one year left on Manquillo’s loan deal. If he is given game-time directly correlated with his form then all parties should be happy with the results.

A rotation between him and Clyne would offer Brendan Rodgers tactical flexibility, something that the Northern Irishman has failed horribly with.

A Model to Follow

 Liverpool's manager Brendan Rodgers before the Premier League match against Stoke City at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Madrid are miles ahead of most clubs and there are only few clubs that can compete with them.

However, Liverpool should attempt to emulate one aspect of their team, and that can be seen with the two full-backs they utilise: Arbeola and the upcoming Spanish international Dani Carvajal have made a perfect combination for the Spanish giants.

Polar opposites of one another, both Spaniards offer Madrid flexibility—something that Liverpool has completely lacked.

Although both players are far better than the ones at the Reds’ fingertips the idea is still there. Having two players who play differently, but in the same position, can offer a good chance for success.

Rodgers’ 2014/15 season was a failure on all fronts. The results were poor, performances were scattershot, money was wasted, and the fans suffered because of it.

FSG has decided to give the manager support and the jury is still out, but offering Rodgers the ability to be tactical versatile should be a goal.

If unable to do so than he must answer for the results that come from it.

However, letting Manquillo go could come back to bite Liverpool as the season goes on.

Should Liverpool be looking to keep Javier Manquillo this summer? Let us know in the comments below.

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Категории: LFC NEWS

Liverpool looking to cancel Javier Manquillo loan a year early

Пт, 03/07/2015 - 12:17

Signed on an unusual two-year loan last summer, Javier Manquillo could see his time at Liverpool end early, with the club looking to cancel his deal.

 Liverpool's Javier Manquillo in action against Southampton during the Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Spanish right-back Javier Manquillo could be set to return to parent club Atletico Madrid this summer, with Liverpool looking to cancel his two-year loan early.

The 21-year-old made 19 appearances for the Reds last season, but is now surplus to requirements following the arrival of £12.5 million Southampton right-back Nathaniel Clyne.

Andy Hunter of the Guardian writes: “Despite the departure of Glen Johnson and Jon Flanagan’s injury problems, the club are considering releasing the Spanish youngster midway through his loan deal.

Andre Wisdom, another rival for Manquillo’s position, recently signed a new four-year contract at Anfield.

“Liverpool need to reach agreement with both Manquillo and Atlético to end the defender’s stay this summer and have not reached that stage yet.

“But the exit of the Under-21 Spain international is being explored as Liverpool, having made six signings so far this summer, look to trim the squad.”

Manquillo’s fade into the periphery in 2015 was a bizarre one, given his strong performances in the first half of the 2014/15 season.

He made just three appearances after the turn of the year, with both of his starts coming in the FA Cup against lower-league opposition.

Manquillo also came on as a substitute in February’s Europa League second-leg loss to Besiktas.

Extending Wisdom’s contract and terminating Manquillo’s deal does make financial sense for the club.

But it is a shame to see Liverpool exile the closest they’ve come to a replacement for defensive specialist Alvaro Arbeloa since his departure to Real Madrid.

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Категории: LFC NEWS

Rodgers hopes to add one more coach to new look Liverpool backroom staff

Пт, 03/07/2015 - 02:11

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers wants to add one more name to his new look coaching team, following the expected appointments of Sean O’Driscoll and Pepijn Lijnders.

 Liverpool's manager Brendan Rodgers with first team coach Mike Marsh and assistant manager Colin Pascoe during a preseason training session at the Harvard Stadium in Boston on day four of the club's USA Tour. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

O’Driscoll will replace Colin Pascoe as first-team coach, while Lijnders is being promoted from under-16 coach to first-team coach.

It’s reported that Rodgers hopes to add one more to his staff, with previous reports suggesting that could be a former player.

Liverpool expect to have O’Driscoll, who will leave his role as England under-19s coach, in place for the start of pre-season training next Monday at Melwood.

The Reds fly out to Asia and then Australia for their pre-season tour a week after returning to training, with pre-season lasting a week less than last summer.

Who the third coach may be isn’t reported as yet, but names such as Gary McAllister, Sami Hyypia and Bolo Zenden have been previously linked.

Get the lowdown on Sean O’Driscoll here

Get the lowdown on Pepijn Lijnders here

LFC Pre-Season 2015/16 Confirmed Fixtures

14 July – Bangkok, Thailand – vs. True All Stars
17 July – Brisbane, Australia – vs. Brisbane Roar
20 July – Adelaide, Australia – vs. Adelaide United
24 July – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – vs. Malaysian XI
1 August – Helsinki, Finland – vs. HJK Helsinki

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Video: Liverpool sign Bobby Adekanye from Barcelona

Пт, 03/07/2015 - 01:51

Liverpool have signed talented Dutch teenager Bobby Adekanye from Barcelona.

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The 16-year-old’s signature presents quite a coup for Liverpool, taking advantage of Barcelona’s transfer ban and signing the pacey winger ahead of interest from Ajax.

Adekanye has been likened to Arjen Robben in the Netherlands, where he moved from Nigeria aged four. He signed for Barcelona aged 12 and the Catalan giants were desperate to keep him at La Masia.

Hopefully Adekanye can turn out for Liverpool like Cesc Fabregas did for Arsenal when he moved to London at a similar age.

Adekanye joins fellow Barcelona youngster Sergi Canos at the Liverpool Academy, and has signed a three-year deal at the club.

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Video: Nathaniel Clyne’s ambitions to go down in Liverpool FC history

Чт, 02/07/2015 - 19:31

Newly announced Liverpool signing Nathaniel Clyne has spoken about what it means to be signing for the Reds and his ambitions to be written into Anfield folklore.

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Video: Liverpool FC (YouTube)

Clyne completed his move from Southampton on Wednesday, signing a five-year deal on Merseyside in a reported £12.5 million transfer.

The 24-year-old becomes Brendan Rodgers‘ fifth signing of the summer after the arrivals of James Milner, Danny Ings, Adam Bogdan and Roberto Firmino.

"I'm happy to have signed for Liverpool,” he told the club’s official website. “I'm delighted and it's a dream move for me to come here and play for such a big club like Liverpool with all of its history. I can't wait to get started.

"It's a club that I like the way they play and their style. The gaffer has shown a lot of interest in me and this is a place where I can improve as a player, I think.

"It's definitely a good opportunity to come here and try and fulfil my potential."

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Liverpool need “20-goal-a-season” striker, Danny Ings to fire early, says John Aldridge

Чт, 02/07/2015 - 19:07

Outspoken former Liverpool striker John Aldridge has assessed the club’s striking options ahead of the 2015/16, and expects more in than Danny Ings this summer.

 England's Danny Ings in action against Wales during the 2015 UEFA European Under-21 Championship Qualifying Group 1 match at the Liberty Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Danny Ings joins Liverpool from Burnley this summer, pending the conclusion of a transfer-fee tribunal, but former Reds striker John Aldridge expects another addition to the attacking line.

Ings, 22, joins Daniel Sturridge and Divock Origi in what will be a new-look group of forwards at Anfield in 2015/16.

Misfiring trio Rickie Lambert, Fabio Borini and Mario Balotelli all look set to be sold, leaving one position yet to be filled in Brendan Rodgers‘ strike-force.

Christian Benteke has been linked with a move to Merseyside this summer, but Aldridge says the Reds need a “20-goal-a-season” striker to ensure progress in the Premier League.

“Liverpool have bought some good players in recent weeks, he told Kicca.

“But they will still struggle to finish in the top 4 because they haven’t bagged a proven goalscorer.

“I’m very happy with Nathaniel Clyne as we needed someone in that position, the Brazilian Firmino should slot right in and Milner is a good signing following the departure of Steve Gerrard.

“But they have not signed the 20 goal-a-season player they really needed.

“Unfortunately Sturridge will not deliver that many goals and Ings will struggle to get the chances in his first season.

“They haven’t replaced [Luis] Suarez and that’s what they had to do.

“You need someone who will score 20+ goals season in, season out and they still haven’t got that player.

“And without that striker they will not break into the top four – where the fans expect them to be.”

 Chelsea's captain John Terry in action against Burnley's Danny Ings during the Premier League match at Turf Moor. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Perhaps rightly, Aldridge doesn’t predict Ings to be that 20-goal-a-season striker, with the England U21s forward having just one season of top-flight experience prior to his move.

Nevertheless, Aldridge, who scored 63 goals in 104 games for the Reds in just over two years, says he needs to make his mark early this season.

“Ings needs to hit the ground running at Anfield,” he continued.

“I see him as a squad player so when he is given a chance to play he needs to make sure he makes the most of it.

“However if he does score and start scoring regularly then he will have a great opportunity to shine at Liverpool.

“The club has had some brilliant goalscorers over the years like [Ian] Rush and [Robbie] Fowler and he would obviously love to join that group.

“But he needs to be scoring a goal every other game to make his name.”

With no Liverpool striker coming close to scoring one goal every two games last season, supporters will likely be happy if Ings manages to notch 10 in his maiden campaign.

Aldridge may be ramping up the pressure on the Reds’ young stars, but Ings should go into the season with low expectations.

He has the talent, but an adjustment period is inevitable following a relegation-battling season at the Turf Moor Stadium.

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Video: Michael Owen hails “world class” Jordan Henderson after shining in 2014/15

Чт, 02/07/2015 - 18:38

Discussing the standout players of the 2014/15 Premier League season, former Liverpool striker Michael Owen praised Jordan Henderson‘s performances for the Reds.


Video: Premier League

BT Sport pundits Michael Owen, Owen Hargreaves and Steve McManaman were asked to select their best players from the 2014/15 Premier League season.

Owen, a former Merseyside star before moving on to Real Madrid in 2004, chose Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson, describing him as “world class” after his performances last term.

“Everybody’s talking about Harry Kane and what a fantastic season in the Premier League,” he said.

“But I just want to give a mention to another homegrown player in Jordan Henderson.

“Since his move from Sunderland it was a little bit of a struggle.

“But in the last season he really has developed into a world-class football player.

“[He was] in the shadow of Steven Gerrard maybe, but with Gerrard on his way out, and the captaincy available, now is the time for Henderson to really develop and kick on his career.

“I think he’s going to be Liverpool and England’s dominant midfield player for years to come.”

Henderson is set to return to Merseyside next week to begin pre-season training, and has been hotly tipped to assume the role of Liverpool captain following Steven Gerrard‘s move to LA Galaxy this summer.

With six goals and nine assists in 37 Premier League games last season, Henderson showed real improvement in his game.

Next season, with midfield leader Gerrard gone, Henderson must continue to progress.

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Liverpool’s Next 4 Transfer Window Priorities this Summer

Чт, 02/07/2015 - 17:00

With the summer transfer window open, and plenty of business already done, Henry Jackson outlines four areas Liverpool must strengthen next.

 Liverpool's manager Brendan Rodgers during the FA Cup Semi-Final match against Aston Villa at Wembley Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It would be hard for even the most pessimistic Liverpool supporter to claim it hasn’t been a decent start to the summer in terms of transfer business.

Six new signings have already been brought in, with Roberto Firmino, James Milner and Nathaniel Clyne all definite regulars in 2015/16, and Danny Ings a clear upgrade on the likes of Fabio Borini and Rickie Lambert.

Although Brendan Rodgers and FSG should be pleased with their efforts since that disastrous 6-1 defeat to Stoke City in May, there is still plenty of work to be done.

Certain positions still need reinforcements, with four currently standing out.

Left-Back

 Liverpool's Alberto Moreno celebrates scoring the third goal against Tottenham Hotspur during the Premier League match at White Hart Lane. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Alberto Moreno had a very up-and-down first season on Merseyside, and while the young Spaniard is certainly worth persevering with, a left-back to rival him for a starting berth needs to be signed.

Jose Enrique has become nothing more than a liability in recent times, and it is hugely likely the 29-year-old will move on this summer.

Paris Saint-Germain’s highly-rated star Lucas Digne has been linked with a move to Liverpool, and would be perfect in terms of what is needed.

With Clyne very much solving the right-back issue, the other flank is now a real priority for Rodgers. Moreno needs competition, especially if last season’s inconsistency is anything to go by.

Key target: Lucas Digne

Other options: Alex Sandro, Ludwig Augustinsson

Centre-Back

 Liverpool's Dejan Lovren looks dejected after missing the vital fifth penalty against Besiktas JK in the shoot-out after a 1-1 aggregate draw during the UEFA Europa League Round of 32 2nd Leg match at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Reds have conceded goals at a fairly alarming rate since Rodgers became manager in 2012, and Jamie Carragher has never been replaced since his retirement in 2013.

Mamadou Sakho is the standout centre-back at the club, but even he is far from perfect at times. Martin Skrtel, meanwhile, can either be superb or a liability.

Dejan Lovren endured a horrific first year at Anfield, and unless he has an enormous turnaround in fortunes, it’s hard to see him ever becoming a success story.

Kolo Toure is past his best, and Tiago Ilori remains a work in progress who may even spend next season on loan.

A centre-back with leadership, consistency and ball-playing quality needs to come in, although it is admittedly hard to find a player of that ilk available at the moment. Toby Alderweireld of Atletico Madrid would be perfect.

Ilori could grow to become that player, but he cannot be relied on yet and still has plenty to prove.

Key target: Toby Alderweireld

In-house option? Tiago Ilori

Defensive Midfield

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

This is a hugely important area of the pitch where Liverpool must bring in proven quality, especially if the rumours about Lucas Leiva leaving are to be believed.

The 28-year-old may be a fading force who cannot play too regularly, but he is the only genuine defensive midfielder at the club.

Jordan Henderson, Emre Can and James Milner would all be wasted there, and they lack Lucas’ understated reading of the game, while Joe Allen continues to flatter to deceive when given the chance.

Rodgers seems worryingly unaware just how important that position is to the side, and if he doesn’t sort it, the Reds’ defensive issues will remain.

Asier Illarramendi has been linked with a move, which would be a terrific signing, but the Real Madrid man does still lack the physical presence of someone like Nemanja Matic—that is what Liverpool need.

In that respect, highly-rated Portuguese youngster William Carvalho would be a tremendous purchase, but acquiring his signature appears unlikely.

Key target: William Carvalho

Other options: Ignacio Camacho, Jordy Clasie, Asier Illarramendi

Striker

 Liverpool's Alberto Moreno and Joe Allen tackle Aston Villa's Christian Benteke during the FA Cup Semi-Final match at Wembley Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Perhaps the most talked-about area that needs strengthening this summer is up front, where Liverpool were so lifeless in 2014/15.

Daniel Sturridge‘s injury problems were a huge issue, and Borini, Lambert and Mario Balotelli scored just eight goals between them in all competitions.

With Sturridge still on the sidelines, and a long-term concern, it is imperative that the Reds bring in someone who can guarantee 20 goals a season or more.

Christian Benteke appears to be the hot favourite to come in and fill the void, but he would not be a popular signing in the eyes of many Liverpool supporters.

The Belgian is far from a bad player—we’ve witnessed him destroy Liverpool in the past—and has scored 49 goals in 99 games for Aston Villa, but there are question marks over whether he fits into Rodgers’ style of play.

Someone like Gonzalo Higuain would be a superb purchase—a proven world-class goalscorer—but the chances of signing him are incredibly slim, while German youngster Kevin Volland would also be excellent, as Jack Lusby outlined for Bleacher Report.

It’s hard to see beyond Benteke being Liverpool’s next striker though, and there will be huge amounts of pressure on him to deliver.

Key target: Gonzalo Higuain

Other options: Kevin Volland, Christian Benteke

Where do Liverpool most need to strengthen next this summer? Let us know in the comments below.

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Liverpool Lifetime XI: Gerrard, Alonso and Fowler star in modern-day selection

Чт, 02/07/2015 - 13:38

The latest in our Liverpool Lifetime XI challenge series is This is Anfield columnist Aaron Cutler, whose lineup is a feast of modern-era talent.

lifetime-xi-challenge

Lifetime XI challenge rules: Pick a team of players that you’ve seen play in your lifetime.

Pepe Reina

 Liverpool's goakeeper Jose Reina celebrates saving the last penalty shot from West Ham United's Anton Ferdinand to win the FA Cup during the FA Cup Final at the Millennium Stadium. (Pic by Jason Roberts/Propaganda)

Between 2006 and 2010 Pepe Reina was one of the best goalkeepers in world football. A modern-day stopper, he redefined the role, pairing the customary traits of a typical No. 1 with great distribution and fine footwork.

Athletic, vocal and consistent, Reina formed part of a formidable backline, one whose collective resistance earned three Golden Glove awards. In time complacency crept into his game, culminating in fewer saves beyond the routine.

Nevertheless Pepe’s infectious personality and selfless loyalty assure him a place in Liverpool folklore.

Markus Babbel

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Illness cut short Markus Babbel’s Liverpool career but his one full season was decorated with such quality he warrants a place in my XI. Acquiring the German international was a big coup for the Reds and one that symbolised a desire to mix it with the elite.

A nominal centre-back, Babbel spent the majority of the Treble season at right-back, where his reliability somehow saw off the challenge of one Rigobert Song.

A classy player steeped in success his winning mentality rubbed off, and he aided victories with a handful of crucial goals.

The onset of Guillain-Barre syndrome brought a premature end to his Anfield career but like Gary McAllister his herculean efforts in 2000/01 etched him into Kopite affections.

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)

Carra, despite clocking up 737 appearances, remains underrated by the wider football public. The latter recognise his commitment, loyalty and staying power but often gloss over his general ability.

This is a huge oversight as at his peak Carragher was a match for any defender in Europe.

His fear of losing underpinned a steely combativeness, fine organisation skills and an innate ability to sense danger.

A captain in all but name he glued a resolute back four together, his legend secured both en route to and at Istanbul.

Sami Hyypia

 David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Sami Hyypia cured Liverpool’s defensive ills overnight. A relative unknown he graced the Anfield turf with the assuredness of a seasoned pro, producing performances worthy of such confidence.

Composed and authoritative Hyypia commanded not only his penalty area but its surrounding airspace. A friendly giant he soon won the hearts of all Kopites, popularity that grew further still following a number of picture-book goals.

A fixture of both the Treble and Champions League-winning sides he also played his part in the 2008/09 title challenge, a testament to his longevity.

John Arne Riise

 Liverpool's John Arne Riise in action against Chelsea during the Premiership match at Stamford Bridge. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

I’m not convinced Liverpool have ever possessed a top quality left-back in all my time following them. Indeed I wrote an article last season debating just that.

Nevertheless of all occupants John Arne Riise heads a dubious list.

The Norwegian could be one-dimensional and defensively erratic but his hammer of a left foot lit up many an occasion.

Riise was flawed but his rocket of a free-kick against Manchester United and the DJ Otzi chant it spawned parachute him into this list. A willing golf buddy too by all accounts.

Dietmar Hamann

 Liverpool's Dietmar Hamann celebrates scoring the third goal against Levski Sofia with team-mate Harry Kewell during the UEFA Cup 4th Round 2nd Leg match at the Vasil Levski Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Kaiser just edges Javier Mascherano at the base of my midfield. Coolness personified he could manage games quite expertly, quickening and slowing the tempo accordingly.

A wise head, his importance can be gauged from two games in particular. The first of these came in 2002/03 when the Reds were on course to reach the Champions League semi-final.

Leading Leverkusen courtesy of the away-goal rule Gerard Houllier inexplicably withdrew Hamann – an act out of keeping with his cautious managerial style. Needless to say the house fell in.

The reverse effect happened in Istanbul when Hamann was sent for at half-time and charged with shackling Kaka. Instrumental to the Italian’s early dominance the Brazilian was suddenly relegated to the periphery. The Didi effect.

Steven Gerrard

 Liverpool's captain Steven Gerrard celebrates scoring the second goal against Leicester City during the Premier League match at Filbert Way. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Unquestionably the greatest Liverpool player of my lifetime. Pundits often debate his ability in relation to Messrs Keane, Scholes and Lampard – tired and lazy comparisons. For what sets Gerrard apart is he had the star qualities of the aforementioned and then some.

He could tackle like Keane, pass like Scholes and bag hatfuls in the vein of Lampard. He was the complete midfielder.

No one player has had a greater impact on a team in the history of English football. A real-life Roy of the Rovers, he single handily fought off obscurity: an insurance policy we can no longer count on.

Xabi Alonso

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

A masterful midfielder with a passing range to rival the very best. From day one he oozed class, adding a creative and cultured dimension to Benitez’s regimented team. A fruitful go-between from defence and attack Xabi could unlock doors padlocked by the dourest of managers.

Integral to the Champions League and FA Cup successes of 2005 and 2006 respectively he then suffered an uncharacteristic dip which saw Liverpool – or rather Benitez – attempt to cash in.

Thankfully neither his departure nor the corresponding swoop for Gareth Barry materialised, allowing him to inspire a title assault the following term.

Our near miss was compounded by his subsequent leaving, ending any chance of toppling United.

Steve McManaman

 Liverpool's Steve McManaman in action during the 2-0 Premier League victory over Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Macca left under a cloud, an act which taints his legacy. Nonetheless he was a terrific player for the Reds and the real creative spark in a gung-ho 90s side.

Mazy runs could lead to crucial goals or dead ends aplenty but his trickery and willingness to commit players was sheer box-office.

McManaman’s deficiencies were debated long and hard, unfairly in my eyes. He was a wonderful player whose class carried through to Real Madrid, wherein he vindicated that controversial career choice.

Luis Suarez

 Liverpool's Luis Suarez celebrates scoring the third goal against Crystal Palace during the Premiership match at Selhurst Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

If Steven Gerrard is the greatest player of my lifetime Luis Suarez may just be the best. I remember sitting high amidst the Main Stand – in line with the corner flag – when he pounced on a loose ball against Manchester United in 2011.

Two games into his Reds career I was still unsure as to what type of player we’d signed—the next 10 seconds dispelled any doubts.

Slaloming past four defenders he laid the easiest of goals on for Dirk Kuyt, as I stood open-mouthed.

A tormented genius, his attempts to force through a move in 2013 angered me. However unlike previous want-away strikers he knuckled down and inspired not only a top-four berth but an exhilarating title challenge.

He earned my forgiveness and blessing come his eventual departure. A phenomenon.

Robbie Fowler

 Liverpool's Robbie Fowler scores the opening goal against Sheffield United from the penalty spot during the Premiership match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

My favourite player of all time. When I started watching Liverpool, Robbie Fowler was unstoppable. He scored 30+ goals in three consecutive seasons, tearing-up the Premier League like nothing before or since.

All the while he maintained his Scouse cheek and charm, forging a unique bond with the Kop. I cried tears of sadness the day he left and tears of joy when he returned five years on.

He was not only the best finisher I’ve seen but a clever footballer, whose touch and guile is often forgotten amidst the bucket-load of goals.

Like Gerrard after him he was letdown by team-mates not worthy of basking in his majesty. God.

Previous XIs: Jeff Goulding / Neil Poole / Liverpudlian / Dan Holland

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Confirmed: Sebastian Coates joins Sunderland

Ср, 01/07/2015 - 21:30

Defender Sebastian Coates has completed his move away from Liverpool, joining Sunderland for a reported £4 million.

 Liverpool's Sebastian Coates his first goal for the club to give the Reds a 1-0 lead over Queens Park Rangers during the Premiership match at Loftus Road. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The 24-year-old Uruguayan joins the Black Cats after spending last season on loan there, making 10 Premier League appearances and impressing towards the end of the campaign under manager Dick Advocaat.

Coates started just 17 times for Liverpool since signing from Nacional for £4.9 million in 2011.

He scored twice for the Reds, included the memorable acrobatic strike against QPR in 2012.

Sunderland sporting director Lee Congerton said of the move: “Sebastian was an important part of the team under Dick last season and we are delighted that he has joined us on a permanent basis.

“He has Barclays Premier League experience, which is important and, after spending last season on loan with us, he will be able to settle into the team very quickly.”

Coates becomes the first player to be sold this summer, but is expected to be the first of many to leave.

Liverpool are keen to offload Fabio Borini, Mario Balotelli, Rickie Lambert, Jose Enrique and Luis Alberto.

Steven Gerrard, Brad Jones and Glen Johnson left the club after their contracts expired this summer, while Iago Aspas completed his move to Sevilla before being sold straight back to Celta Vigo.

All the best, Seba.

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Adam Lallana praises Liverpool’s “massive signing” Nathaniel Clyne

Ср, 01/07/2015 - 21:18

Following the £12.5 million signing of Southampton right-back Nathaniel Clyne, former Saints midfielder Adam Lallana has praised Liverpool’s transfer business.

 Liverpool's Rickie Lambert in action against Southampton's Nathaniel Clyne during the Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Nathaniel Clyne became Liverpool’s sixth signing of the summer when he sealed his £12.5 million move from Southampton on Wednesday.

The 24-year-old stabilises the Reds’ problem right-back area, having established himself as a top-level Premier League talent in the last three years at St. Mary’s.

Clyne has followed formers Saints team-mates Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert and Dejan Lovren to Anfield, and Lallana has spoken of his excitement at being reunited with “a great lad.”

“It’s a massive signing for us,” he said.

“I played with him for a couple of seasons at Southampton and since they signed him, he’s come on a lot.

“Last season he probably had his best season at Southampton, got an England call up and he’s been a regular in the squad ever since.

“To manage to persuade him to sign for Liverpool—as I’m sure there would have been other top clubs, and even European clubs interested in him—is a great coup for us.”

Lallana revealed how he played a hand in Clyne’s move, endorsing Liverpool to the tough-tackling defender while on holiday together in America this summer.

There should be no surprise why he did so, given his views on Clyne’s talent.

“When Southampton signed him from Palace, you could see he had potential. Since then, he’s developed and learnt the game – he’s turned from a kid into a man on the pitch.

“He’s as solid as they come for a right-back and getting forward, he’s got goals in his locker.

“In one-versus-one situations defensively, he’s the kind of full-back you just don’t want to come up against.

He continued: “Off the pitch, he’ll fit in absolutely fine.

“He’s quite quiet and likes to just get on with his football, but he’s a great lad and knowing the Liverpool dressing room, he’ll fit in absolutely perfectly.”

 Liverpool's Adam Lallana celebrates his side's 2-1 victory over Manchester City during the Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Moving on to Liverpool’s business in general, Lallana sees Clyne as part of a “tremendous” group of new signings.

“There’s [Roberto] Firmino, [James] Milner, [Danny] Ings and now Clyne, as well as [Adam] Bogdan and [Joe] Gomez.

“It’s a great variety and added to what we’ve already got, hopefully it can be a good combination for success.

“I think everyone’s looking forward to getting back.

“We’ve got an exciting tour, but we’ve still got a few more days left of our holidays, which we’ll enjoy because it’s a tough and long season.”

After a mixed first season on Merseyside, Lallana will be hoping the additions of Firmino, Milner and Clyne in particular will help boost his performances in 2015/16.

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Sean O’Driscoll “the best manager I played for,” says ex-Liverpool player

Ср, 01/07/2015 - 19:31

Former Liverpool FA Youth Cup winner Gareth Roberts has heaped praise on new assistant manager Sean O’Driscoll, amid negativity surrounding his appointment.

odriscoll

Speaking to the Liverpool Echo, Roberts spoke very highly of the 57-year-old, and claims he is the finest manager he worked with during a career that included spells at Tranmere Rovers and Derby County.

“He was the best manager I played for, and I played under quite a few. There is no doubt he made me a better player,” gushed Roberts.

“He’s different class on the training ground. He makes you think at every stage of a training session.

“Everything he does is designed to make you think, to improve you as a player and to improve you as a person.

“The sessions are always plotted through the week with a focus on the match at the weekend. He tailors what you do to focus on the weak points of the opposition on a Saturday.

He added: “He is a 100% football man who lives and breathes the game, 24 hours a day.”

Although some have shown concern at O’Driscoll’s lack of top-flight experience, Roberts firmly believes he can thrive as an assistant in the Premier League.

“It will be fascinating to see how he works with top-flight players in the Premier League, both in terms of improving the Liverpool lads and in finding the weaknesses of the opposition,” he continued.

“He’s a number two this time and has always been a manager in the past.

“But he and Brendan Rodgers seem to share a similar philosophy about the way the game should be played.

“He is very good at seeing things from the side of the pitch, tweaking players or tweaking the way players are doing things. He’s very good at changing or adjusting tactical systems.

“It’s something he practices with the players on the training ground.

“Players respond to him. He is very quietly spoken and when he raises his voice you listen. He’s very calm. He wants to get his point over.

“If someone is not getting what he is after, he will work with them until they see it.”

Finally, 37-year-old Roberts, who won the 1996 FA Youth Cup with Liverpool, once again highlighted O’Driscoll’s expertise in training sessions, in particular the way he improves individuals.

“With Sean, everything has to be done for a reason. He does not like knockabout five-a-side games at the end of the training session. He likes to tweak them so they have a purpose. He is always doing things to make you think.

“It was great for me. He improve me as a player and it was thanks to him I got a move to Derby County.

“He would split the group of players into two teams and call one person from each side over to tell the rules of the game about to be played.

“Then he would tell them they have 30 seconds to tell the rest of the team the rules before the match started. It was all about developing communication skills among the players, making them better at passing information on to each other on the pitch.

“He’s a top guy and he deserves this chance. I wish him all the best.”

While an uninspiring appointment on paper, O’Driscoll’s tactical and philosophical credentials seem to be ticking all the right boxes for a prominent role in Rodgers’ backroom.

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Категории: LFC NEWS

Why Liverpool must not allow Lazar Markovic to leave this summer

Ср, 01/07/2015 - 19:07

Speculation has surfaced over a potential Anfield exit for Lazar Markovic this transfer window, but Brendan Rodgers should not be too hasty in disposing of the Serbian, writes Ben Twelves.

 Liverpool's Lazar Markovic in action against Sunderland during the Premier League match at the Stadium of Light. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Lazar Markovic’s Liverpool future has been the surprising subject of speculation, just 12 months after his £20million move from Benfica.

Reports from Merseyside journalists such as the Telegraph’s Chris Bascombe have described his future as “uncertain” while his former club are said to be hopeful of re-signing the Serbian, according to Portuguese media.

It would be a disappointingly early departure should Markovic leave, and letting him go is something Brendan Rodgers should not consider.

Though the 21-year-old endured a mixed debut season, the club didn’t part with such a vast sum to secure his services a year ago for no reason.

He’s clearly a talent, and one Liverpool must keep around.

 Liverpool's Lazar Markovic in action against Real Madrid CF's Isco during the UEFA Champions League Group B match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

There’s a number of factors to take into consideration when discussing the Serbia international’s average first year at Anfield.

Firstly, the vast majority of his 34 total appearances came while deployed anywhere but his natural position.

Played predominantly at wing-back with only brief spells as a wide forward or central attacking midfielder, Markovic played mostly in false roles, including right-back in Liverpool’s 1-0 loss at Hull City.

It’s hard enough for any youngster to adapt to the frenetic nature of the Premier League in a familiar role, let alone make-shift positions in just 23 starts in a struggling side.

His productivity figures don’t make for spectacular reading with one assist and three goals to his name, but his hard-working, selfless contribution to Liverpool’s upturn at wing-back, where he displayed great awareness and responsibility defensively, alongside providing an attacking outlet, must not be discarded.

And though the youngster was pushed from pillar to post, he performed solidly, if unspectacularly, impressing at times though not at others – as to be expected.

The 21-year-old showed versatility, performing adequately in varying areas, something Rodgers – an admirer of multi-functional players – likes.

While not making headlines yet, a year of development and adaptation under his belt sees the Serbian prepared to progress.

 Liverpool's Lazar Markovic celebrates scoring the first goal against Tottenham Hotspur during the Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

He showed in flashes what he can bring to the team with his pace and dribbling skills evident as he produced some excellent runs from deep, wide and centrally – displayed in his goals against Sunderland and Tottenham Hotspur.

His ability to carry the ball – alongside his desire to break lines and burst forward – will be a great asset to what will hopefully become a quick, slick Reds attack.

While work is needed on decision making and execution in possession – he posted a pass success of just 81.9 percent and often spoiled good play with sloppiness like away at Arsenal with a carelessly misplaced pass to Raheem Sterling – they’re far from reasons to give up.

Reports also indicate Rodgers will return to his preferred 4-3-3 formation next season, with a 4-4-2 diamond shape also set to be an option.

 Liverpool's Lazar Markovic in action against AFC Wimbledon during the FA Cup 3rd Round match at the Kingsmeadow Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Markovic has a role to play in either system and with the need to rotate wisely with the Reds set to compete in four competitions including the notoriously demanding Europa League, he provides a young, improving and quality option to utilise.

Age and time is firmly on his side and while there should be an urgency to get the best out of him, there by no means needs to be haste in writing off his chances of succeeding at Anfield.

A loan transfer to a fellow Premier League side could be something for both parties to consider.

But a temporary move is all the talented youngster should make away from L4.

Markovic certainly didn’t have a blistering debut season on Merseyside, but his first Anfield campaign was far from a complete failure either, with genuine cause for optimism.

There’s undoubtedly work to be done and improvements to make, but that work must be carried out under Brendan Rodgers at Anfield, and ideally nowhere else.

Stats via WhoScored and LFCHistory.

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James Milner and Danny Ings confirmed for Liverpool’s pre-season tour

Ср, 01/07/2015 - 17:00

Liverpool’s new signings James Milner and Danny Ings have been confirmed for the club’s tour of Australia and Asia.

Danny Ings and James Milner Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The pair officially joined the Reds on Wednesday after their contracts expired with Manchester City and Burnley respectively.

Milner arrives on a free transfer but Ings’ age (22) means the Clarets are due compensation and talks are on-going between the two clubs in an attempt to come to an agreement without the need to go to tribunal.

Liverpool today confirmed both would be on the pre-season trip for matches in Thailand, Australia and Malaysia.

Joining them will be fellow new arrival goalkeeper Adam Bogdan, whose contract with Bolton expired yesterday, although a decision has yet to be made on when Roberto Firmino, who is now on leave after playing in the Copa America for Brazil, will join up with his new team-mates following his £29 million move from Hoffenheim.

Bogdan is keen to make the most of his chance having secured a move to Anfield but knows he will have to displace the established Simon Mignolet first.

“I would like to take this opportunity and play as many games as I possibly can, and be a number one ‘keeper for Liverpool,” he told liverpoolfc.com.

“How do I do that? I have to do it on the training ground first of all, I have to prove myself and prove to the manager that I’m able to do that then when I get the chance, I have to take it and play well. That’s how it works.

“I think it’s a massive challenge. I respect him (Mignolet) as a ‘keeper.

“We’re going to compete, of course, that’s the nature of this position and the sport, but at the same time we are going to help each other as well.”

Southampton defender Nathaniel Clyne is set to be added to Liverpool’s tour squad when his £12.5 million move is completed later today.

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