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Brendan Rodgers Pre-Chelsea: Reds have confidence and “no fear”

7 минут 37 секунд назад

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers intends to pile on the cup pain for Chelsea as he takes his side to Stamford Bridge with “no fear” on Tuesday.

 Liverpool's manager Brendan Rodgers before the Football League Cup Semi-Final 1st Leg match against Chelsea at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Chelsea, the Barclays Premier League leaders, crashed out of the FA Cup to League One Bradford after a shock 4-2 home loss on Saturday. Jose Mourinho’s side had previously been unbeaten at their own ground this season and Rodgers hopes to keep them on the back foot as their Capital One Cup semi-final resumes.

Liverpool drew 1-1 with the Londoners in the first leg of the tie at Anfield and Rodgers believes a repeat of the Reds’ attack-minded performance and attitude from that night could reap rewards.

He said: “We played them last week when they were coming off the back of, arguably, their best result and performance of the season against Swansea (a 5-0 win) – but we were outstanding in the game. We limited them to very limited possession and opportunities.

“We know it is going to be a tough game but we are certainly going into the game with no fear and our strength is very much in our attack. We showed that in the last game.

“The team is on the up, we have seen that over the last number of weeks. We’ve got great confidence knowing that, in particular away from home, our form and resilience is getting better and better and we can get a result.”

Rodgers accepts, however, that the Bradford upset – branded a ‘disgrace’ by Mourinho – could impact one of two ways on Chelsea. While on the one hand the Blues could still be reeling and vulnerable, on the other there could be a strong reaction.

Rodgers said: “The result at the weekend doesn’t help – they will have great motivation. It is a different game, a different competition, a Wembley place is at stake. When you come off a game like that you want to put it right.

“But there is also that, in the back of your mind, even if you’re up in the game – like they were, 2-0 – you can still lose the game. So I’m sure there’ll be that wee bit of trepidation.”

Whatever the result of the cup games, Chelsea have arguably an even more important date next weekend as they take on title rivals Manchester City in the league. But for Liverpool, whose title hopes seem long gone, the game is hugely significant.

Rodgers said: “It is very important. We will certainly be doing everything we can to get there (to the final). The opportunity to win trophies this year was always going to be up there in priority for us.

“We’re at the semi-final stage, it’s a one-off game now to take us there. We feel confident that we can get a result that gets us into the final.”

Liverpool could be boosted by the return of former Chelsea striker Daniel Sturridge, who is now back in full training after months of injury frustration. The 25-year-old has not played for the Reds since August, mainly due to thigh problems, but is now close to making a comeback.

Rodgers said: “He had his training session with the team yesterday, he trained very well. That was as comfortable as he has looked, even when he was coming back before, when he was maybe a little bit tentative.

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

“I thought he looked back to normal. We will see how he feels today, but if he is not ready for tomorrow we won’t risk it. He has been out a long time and we need to make sure that he is ready and feels ready.”

Captain Steven Gerrard and defender Martin Skrtel, rested for Saturday’s FA Cup clash against Bolton, are likely to return but it remains to be seen if striker Mario Balotelli features. Balotelli was omitted at the weekend for reasons of form and attitude, although Rodgers continues to insist – contrary to speculation – the controversial Italian does have a future at Anfield.

He said: “We will give Mario every chance. We brought him in here for this season to give him every chance to show consistently that he can play at a team consistently at the top level.

“It has been a difficult period for him – no doubt – but he is a good boy who does want to fight for his opportunity and chance here.

“I have seen some clippings this morning (suggesting) that that is him over with (here) – but that’s not the case at all.”

PA

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Категории: LFC NEWS

Liverpool’s FA Cup 4th Round Replay at Bolton Confirmed

1 час 35 минут назад

Liverpool’s FA Cup fourth Round replay against Bolton has been confirmed as Wednesday 4th February.

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The two sides will meet at the Macron Stadium with a 7:45pm kick-off after playing out a goalless draw at Anfield on Saturday evening.

The replay will be shown live on BBC One, with coverage starting at 7:30pm.

With the Merseyside derby the following Saturday, Liverpool would probably have preferred the match to have taken place on the Tuesday instead.

It could see Daniel Sturridge‘s first start since returning from injury, against the side he enjoyed a good loan spell with earlier in his career.

The draw for the fifth round of the FA Cup takes place at 7pm on Monday night, with Bolton/Liverpool ball number 10. It will televised live on BBC One, with the full draw numbers below.

Let us know what you think to Liverpool’s chances of progressing against in-form Bolton and who you’d like to see the Reds face in the fifth round if they do in the comments below.

1. Crystal Palace
2. Cambridge United or Manchester United
3. Blackburn Rovers
4. Bradford City
5. Derby County
6. Preston North End or Sheffield United
7. West Bromwich Albion
8. Aston Villa
9. Reading
10. Liverpool or Bolton
11. Leicester City
12. Arsenal
13. Rochdale or Stoke City
14. Sunderland or Fulham
15. West Ham
16. Middlesbrough

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Категории: LFC NEWS

Chelsea vs. Liverpool Tactical Preview: How Reds can overcome Blues in League Cup Semi Final

1 час 58 минут назад

Liverpool need to gain victory over Chelsea in Tuesday night’s League Cup Semi-Final Second Leg, and Jack Lusby details how they can do so.

 Chelsea's manager Jose Mourinho during the Football League Cup Semi-Final 1st Leg match against Liverpool at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool travel to Stamford Bridge on Tuesday to take on Chelsea in the League Cup Semi-Final Second Leg, and the tie represents manager Brendan Rodgers’ best chance at grasping silverware this season.

The first leg played out in mesmeric fashion — the Reds were bold, Chelsea shrinking, and the match-up could have been put to bed were it not for some profligate finishing.

Much of this (relative) success was due to Rodgers’ tactical mastery on the night.

Poised a 1-1, and now facing a tough away leg, Liverpool need to recapture this tactical thrust to stride to a Wembley final against either Tottenham Hostpur or Sheffield United.

But what are the key tactical elements that Liverpool need to focus on?

Get Lucas Leiva Prowling

 Liverpool's Lucas Leiva in action against Leicester City's Riyad Mahrez during the Premier League match at Filbert Way. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Reds’ weekend draw at home to Bolton was hallmarked by a lack of vigour in central midfield.

A partnership of Jordan Henderson and Joe Allen made Darren Pratley look like Yaya Toure on occasion, bursting past the midfield duo.

Allen, making his return from a long-term injury, struggled to keep the pace in that game, but this was a mere step towards regaining composure and fitness for the divisive Welshman who, when focussed, can play a crucial role in the Reds midfield.

Pratley’s skillset allowed these misgivings to go unpunished, but a Chelsea midfield likely consisting of Cesc Fabregas, Nemanja Matic and Oscar won’t offer the same leniency.

 Liverpool's Joe Allen in action against Bolton Wanderers during the FA Cup 4th Round match at Anfield. (Pic by Lindsey Parnaby/Propaganda)

This requires a return for Lucas Leiva, in place of Allen.

Against Chelsea in the first leg, Lucas was attentive and aggressive, making seven tackles and two interceptions—the same as the coveted Matic.

Lucas spoke before Tuesday’s game, stressing how he’s “realised that you have to work hard, no matter what,” and this has boosted his game during his time at Liverpool.

In order to protect the Liverpool defence against Chelsea, and keep Oscar quiet, Lucas must return.

Focus on Chelsea’s Full-Backs

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

It seems a superficial point to make, given the immense quality Chelsea have in their full-back positions, but this area currently represents one of the Blues’ weakest points, and should be made a target for Liverpool at Stamford Bridge.

At Anfield, Mourinho fielded Branislav Ivanovic and Felipe Luis on the right and left flanks respectively, and neither will have been pleased with their output.

Ivanovic in particular endured a torrid night, short of confidence and bereft of support.

The 30-year-old was extremely wasteful on the ball, finding his intended target with just 58.6 percent of his 29 passes, the worst of any outfield starter on the night.

Expect Mourinho to counter this deficiency by fielding Cesar Azpilicueta in place of either Ivanovic or Luis, and crossing his fingers — Azpilicueta showcased poor form himself in Chelsea’s 4-2 FA Cup loss to Bradford City on Saturday.

Former Chelsea trainee Filipe Morais gave Chelsea’s left-back the run around in that game, and Liverpool’s Lazar Markovic should look to do the same on Tuesday.

 Liverpool's Alberto Moreno in action against PFC Ludogorets Razgrad during the UEFA Champions League Group B match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Crucially, in this tie, Liverpool must improve on the service to Markovic’s left-sided counterpart, Alberto Moreno, who made consistently threatening runs behind Ivanovic last week.

Moreno was often ignored in favour of a central approach, and Liverpool arguably didn’t capitalise on what was likely a rare off-day for Ivanovic.

Nevertheless, Chelsea’s full-backs represent a weak link at present, and Liverpool should look to exploit this with probing runs from both Moreno and Markovic.

Reds No. 10 Philippe Coutinho should look to them not as a second-best alternative to Raheem Sterling’s movement behind the Chelsea defence, but a primary target.

Revert to Martin Skrtel at Central Defence

 Liverpool's Martin Skrtel in action against Southampton's Graziano Pelle during the Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Against Bolton, Rodgers chose to rest Martin Skrtel and included a returning Glen Johnson at right centre-back, moving Emre Can to a central role.

This marginalised Can’s creative talents, and also offered him as a target for the bullish Emile Heskey—although the Trotters striker failed to take advantage of this.

Against Chelsea, Skrtel must return in Johnson’s place, with Can shifted back to the right hand side.

Skrtel suits this limited central role, with his raw physical talents tailored to a pure defensive battle of clearances and covering tackles.

This will be crucial again on Tuesday, with Chelsea’s Diego Costa a formidable physical centre-forward.

Pitting Can or Johnson up against Costa would be a swiftly punished mistake — the Spanish-Brazilian thrives on an intimidating approach, and neither would match up to his dominance. Skrtel, however, is perfectly suited to this battle.

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In fact, the 30-year-old has towered over Costa with regularity, on the international stage and in the Anfield leg of this tie.

Arguably it is the mental battle that Skrtel seems to most benefit from in this match-up, and the centre-back thanked former Liverpool man Luis Suarez last year for the “rude words he’d taught me which I could use against [Costa].”

Get under his skin and, surprisingly, Costa fades.

At Stamford Bridge, Skrtel needs to gain every advantage he can against Costa once more, suffocating his talents and frustrating him as Chelsea’s lone striker—cut the head off the snake, if you will.

Statistics via WhoScored.

How can Liverpool defeat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday? Let us know in the comments below.

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Категории: LFC NEWS

Video: Brendan Rodgers on Balotelli’s future and Sturridge’s return

3 часа 39 минут назад

Watch Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers discussing Mario Balotelli‘s Liverpool future and Daniel Sturridge‘s long awaited return from injury, speaking at his pre-match press conference at Melwood on Monday morning ahead of the League Cup semi-final second leg with Chelsea on Tuesday night.

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On Sturridge, Rodgers said: “He trained very very well, it was as comfortable as he’s looked, even when he was coming back before he was maybe a little but tentative but he looked back to normal.

“We’ll see how he is after today but if he isn’t ready for tomorrow we won’t risk it, that’s for sure.”

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Mario Balotelli still has Liverpool future despite “difficult period” – Rodgers

4 часа 28 минут назад

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has again insisted Mario Balotelli does have a future at Anfield and expects him to fight for his place.

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The striker’s position at the club again looks uncertain after he was left out of Saturday’s FA Cup fourth-round tie against Bolton for reasons of form and attitude. Balotelli has failed to make an impact since the Reds gambled £16million on his signing in August and has been linked with an exit during this month’s transfer window.

But Rodgers, speaking at a press conference to preview Tuesday’s Capital One Cup clash at Chelsea, said: “We will give Mario every chance. We brought him in here for this season to give him every chance to show consistently that he can play at a team consistently at the top level.

“It has been a difficult period for him – no doubt – but he is a good boy who does want to fight for his opportunity and chance here.

“I have seen some clippings this morning (saying) that that is him over with – but that’s not the case at all.

“I think (we) have shown here a number of times with players that have been out of the fold, for various reasons, that if they work hard in training, show the intensity and show the focus then they have every chance of getting back in the team – and not only getting back in it but staying in it.

“The opportunity is there for Mario, and for every player – not just him.”

 Liverpool's manager Brendan Rodgers and Mario Balotelli against Hull City during the Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Should Italy international Balotelli, who has scored just two goals for Liverpool, turn around his fortunes, he could link up in the side with returning star striker Daniel Sturridge. Sturridge is now back in full training after months of injury frustration and could even feature in the second leg of the League Cup semi-final at Stamford Bridge.

Sturridge has not played for the Reds since August and his return will be much welcomed, and Rodgers is not focusing on what his presence might just do for Balotelli. He said: “It doesn’t matter what Daniel does coming back. It is irrelevant.

“It showed in the Tottenham game that they played well together, but Daniel coming back helps the squad – and that’s everyone.”

 Liverpool's captain Steven Gerrard celebrates scoring the second goal against Tottenham Hotspur from the penalty spot with team-mates Daniel Sturridge and Mario Balotelli during the Premier League match at White Hart Lane. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Sturridge will now be assessed with a view to featuring against his former club Chelsea, but Rodgers will not jeopardise is recovery. He said: “He had his training session with the team yesterday, he trained very well. That was as comfortable as he has looked. I thought he looked back to normal. We will see how he feels today, but if he is not ready for tomorrow we won’t risk it.

“He has been out a long time and we need to make sure that he is ready and feels ready.”

Rodgers, meanwhile, dismissed a link with Bolton goalkeeper Adam Bogdan, who frustrated the Reds with a fine performance in Saturday’s goalless draw. He also said he is not anticipating much transfer activity before Monday’s deadline. “I don’t think so,” he said. “I think it will end up being fairly quiet for us. Unless something dramatic happens we will be as we are.”

PA

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Liverpool “increasingly confident” of signing James Milner – Report

4 часа 43 минуты назад

Reports on Monday claim that Manchester City midfielder James Milner is seemingly edging nearer to a Liverpool move at the end of the season.

 Manchester City's James Milner in action against Arsenal during the Premiership match at the City of Manchester Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

According to ESPN FC, the Reds are growing increasingly optimistic about bringing the 29-year-old to Anfield in the summer.

Milner’s contract talks at the Etihad have reportedly stalled, and a lack of first-team football appears to be the stumbling block in him signing a new deal with the Premier League champions.

The England international has been linked with a move to Merseyside for a while now, with Brendan Rodgers clearly a fan of what he could bring to his side.

The former Leeds United youngster would bring versatility, quality and a superb work-ethic to Liverpool’s squad, and although not always a headline-maker, he is a player appreciated greatly by his teammates.

Despite starting just 11 times in the league so far in 2014/15, the midfielder has registered an impressive five assists, according to WhoScored, which is the same as Raheem Sterling despite starting nine games less. He has also set up three more goals than both Philippe Coutinho and Adam Lallana, having begun five and two matches fewer, respectively.

Rodgers has been criticised in the past for signing too many young, inexperienced players, and bringing in Milner would be a refreshing change in that respect.

Acquiring an experienced, proven Premier League player, with title winning pedigree, who is still hungry to win trophies and prove himself in a regular role, especially on a free transfer, would be good business for Liverpool.

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Категории: LFC NEWS

Brendan Rodgers denies Adam Bogdan link and insists “we will go with what we have”

5 часов 36 минут назад

In a classic case of two plus two equalling five, several tabloid newspapers claimed Liverpool were monitoring the situation over Bolton goalkeeper Adam Bogdan – who won man of the match in their cup tie at Anfield on Saturday.

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Despite being Bolton’s second-choice goalkeeper, Matt Barlow of the MailOnline somehow thinks that Liverpool would be interested in Bogdan, claiming “Liverpool are one of the clubs monitoring Bogdan’s situation aware that he is out of contract at the end of the season and resisting Bolton’s efforts to re-sign.”

Alas, asked about such interest at his press conference on Monday morning ahead of the trip to Chelsea, Brendan Rodgers said there was “nothing at all” in the reports.

Indeed, Rodgers said the final week of the window will be very quiet at Anfield. Asked if anyone might be arriving he said: “I don’t think so. Unless something dramatic happens we will go with what we have.”

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Jordan Henderson on Costa incident, Chelsea challenge and trophy desire

6 часов 17 минут назад

Liverpool vice-captain Jordan Henderson insists they will not be bullied by Chelsea in a potentially-explosive Capital One Cup semi-final second leg next week.

 Liverpool's Jordan Henderson looks dejected as Manchester City score the third goal during the Premier League match at the City of Manchester Stadium. (Pic by Chris Brunskill/Propaganda)

A 1-1 draw at Anfield leaves the tie finely-balanced but there will be a number of sub-plots when the teams take to the field at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday.

Jose Mourinho’s side have a number of questions to answer after conceding a 2-0 lead to lose 4-2 to League One Bradford in the FA Cup.

But in addition there will be an edge to the game after Henderson and Chelsea striker Diego Costa had a disagreement on the pitch with more verbal jousting continuing in the tunnel after the whistle.

The England midfielder played down the incident but his actions indicate that Liverpool are prepared to stand toe-to-toe with any opponent. In relation to the headlines which followed his confrontation with Costa, Henderson said: “I was a little bit surprised…but of course I don’t know what you are talking about it.”

Asked if there would be an edge to the game – in which he could be a target for home fans – Henderson added: “Probably. Liverpool, Chelsea – two big teams. I haven’t really thought about it, it doesn’t really bother me. The main thing is I go there and do the best for the team.

“You have to be strong mentally and physically and I think we have been that recently. We have shown we can be physical when we need to be but we just have to keep going.”

Manager Brendan Rodgers has spoken glowingly of the 24-year-old’s growing leadership skills and the player himself feels there is extra onus on him to stand up for his team-mates having been made Steven Gerrard‘s deputy earlier this season.

“I feel I have to take a bit more responsibility on and off the field to especially help the younger players coming through as I’ve been through the same sort of thing – but that goes for all the experienced players in the team,” he added.

“There have been some tough times but we have dug in, stuck together as a team and we have come out the other side in the last month or two and been much better so hopefully we can keep going from strength to strength.”

Liverpool’s scintillating second-half display at home to Chelsea raised expectations they could go to Stamford Bridge and win. There is also the possibility of striker Daniel Sturridge returning to the squad having not played since the end of August.

“Hopefully when Daniel comes back it will give us a cutting edge. He is a big miss for us as he is a fantastic player,” Henderson said. “Hopefully he comes back and gets the goals straightaway.

“We have a lot of confidence after the first leg and we were a little bit disappointed we didn’t win. The confidence has grown over the last month or two, we’ve picked up some really good results and the team spirit has been fantastic so it is a good opportunity for us on Tuesday.

“The game might be a little bit different, they will be coming straight at us from the off and they have some fantastic players but we are a good team so we need to defend like we have been doing and hurt them on the break.

“One of our aims this season is to get a trophy and if we beat Chelsea we are not far away as we will be in a final at Wembley.”

PA

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Liverpool 0-0 Bolton: 5 talking points as replay adds another game to busy February fixtures

Вс, 25/01/2015 - 19:52

Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool were held to a goalless draw on a frustrating afternoon against Neil Lennon’s battling Bolton side at Anfield, and Ben Twelves picks five discussion points from the tie.

 Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho Correia in action against Bolton Wanderers' Dorian Dervite during the FA Cup 4th Round match at Anfield. (Pic by Lindsey Parnaby/Propaganda)

Liverpool avoided an upset on a day of shocks in the FA Cup but Brendan Rodgers watched his side held to a disappointing 0-0 by a resilient Bolton in the fourth round clash.

The Reds produced a dominant display throughout – enjoying 68% of the possession – but it was a lack of spark and composure in the final third that proved their undoing, as they were kept out by a combination of the resolute opposition defence and ‘keeper Adam Bogdan, whose impressive performance earned his side a lucrative replay.

Jordan Henderson, Lucas Leiva, Fabio Borini and Raheem Sterling all saw their efforts saved by the Bolton goalkeeper as the match ended goalless, meaning the Reds now face the prospect of a tricky replay in 10 days’ time in order to progress to the fifth round and here are five discussion topics from the game.

Reds lack ruthlessness in front of goal

In a decent enough performance on the day, it was only the Reds decision making and finishing in the final third that proved the downside on Saturday evening.

9 – Liverpool hit 24 shots vs Bolton, with nine of them being repelled by Adam Bogdan. Peppered.

— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) January 24, 2015

While credit must also go to Bolton goalkeeper Adam Bogdan who made a number of excellent saves, it could be argued that the Trotter’ stopper shouldn’t have been in a position to be able to make a heroic intervention and that it was due to poor finishing that he was allowed to keep the ball out of the net.

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A great opportunity fell to the wrong man in Javi Manquillo as the Spaniard dragged his effort hopelessly wide in front of the Kop before Bogdan thwarted efforts from Sterling, Lucas and Borini – who he denied with an one-handed save at full stretch as the Italian searched for the far corner despite the near post gaping.

As Sterling struggles for consistency in front of goal in his striking position, the lack of a genuine striker was evident again and Daniel Sturridge’s return can’t come quickly enough.

First day of training today with the boys. I'm a happy man ????

— Daniel Sturridge (@D_Sturridge) January 25, 2015

Unneeded draw adds to fixture congestion

The week commencing February 2nd will see the Reds head to the Macron Stadium for the fourth round replay but the unwanted fixture adds to an already congested schedule for Liverpool.

A busy 5 weeks coming up for #LFC, not a lot of coaching time – and there could be another Cup tie to fit in there. pic.twitter.com/AH6kbr8fJD

— Jim Boardman (@JimBoardman) January 24, 2015

It means Rodgers’ side will now face six games in what will be a hectic month which includes the opening of the Europa League campaign with two matches against Besiktas, as well as tough Premier League fixtures in the Goodison Derby, Tottenham at Anfield and a trip to Champions League chasing Southampton.

Replays at Bolton means #LFC will now play in midweek in the build up to the Merseyside derby at Goodison

— James Pearce (@JamesPearceEcho) January 24, 2015

Those six fixtures – with the added possibility of the League Cup final should Liverpool make it – finish just in time for the beginning of March where Rodgers’ men then host title-chasing Manchester City and United in the same month, plus the prospect of more European fixtures depending on the outcome from February’s matches.

An extra game that we didn't need. #LFC

— Jay Riley (@Jay_78_) January 24, 2015

It really will be a testing time for Rodgers and his squad as the business end of the season draws closer and the replay certainly helps no-one.

Rusty Returnees: Johnson, Enrique, Manquillo, Allen & Lallana fail to impress

 Liverpool's Joe Allen in action against Bolton Wanderers during the FA Cup 4th Round match at Anfield. (Pic by Lindsey Parnaby/Propaganda)

As Rodgers confirmed would be the case in his pre-match press conference, the Liverpool boss made five changes to his side from the XI that started against Chelsea last time out, but the alterations didn’t work as planned.

Occupying the wing-back positions, Jose Enrique and Javi Manquillo produced uninspiring performances epitomised by the pair being withdrawn at different stages of the game and Johnson showed why he mustn’t be considered for a role in the back three.

HT: poor games from the incoming Johnson, Enrique and Allen. Lallana hasn't been too impressive either

— Tom McMahon (@TomMc_Sports) January 24, 2015

Joe Allen, after a duration out injured, displayed a real rustiness in the midfield where the Welshman failed to have an impact, but the biggest disappointment of those entering the side was Lallana as the £25million man put in a poor performance in a game in which he really should be making more of an impression in.

The summer arrival endured a poor afternoon as he was too slow in possession a number of times, struggled to provide the link between midfield and attack, and his touch and weight of pass in the final third often led to the breakdown of attacks.

It was a chance for the returning players to force their way into the Liverpool manager’s thoughts, but none of them took the opportunity presented.

Difficulty breaking down deep defences

Not for the first time this season Rodgers’ Reds failed to find the break through against a side set up to defend deep and close the space for the Liverpool attack to operate.

 Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho Correia in action against Bolton Wanderers' Dorian Dervite during the FA Cup 4th Round match at Anfield. (Pic by Lindsey Parnaby/Propaganda)

Lennon’s Bolton joined Aston Villa, Sunderland and Hull in the list of clubs to leave Anfield with a clean sheet having kept the Reds at bay and while Liverpool did make Bogdan work in the Wanderers goal, Rodgers side were heavily restricted to speculative efforts from outside the box as they struggled to conjure up anything clear cut.

Liverpool recorded 24 shots to the away sides seven – registering nine on target to Bolton’s zero – but of the nine on target attempts, only two were from inside the 18 yard box from Sterling and Borini who watched his header flash agonisingly wide in the dying moments of the game.

@LFCTS Don't think that's a good enough excuse. It's more to do with teams sitting back more. Next step to overcome that. DS back will help.

— Joseph Musker (@Musker_LFC) January 24, 2015

The Liverpool attack has improved immeasurably since the formation switch but it’s evident that against certain types of defence that the Reds still have problems to overcome.

Captain Henderson drives the Reds

One positive from the stalemate was undoubtedly the performance from the ever-improving Jordan Henderson, and the current vice-captain demonstrated once again his suitability to take the armband in the not too distant future.

 Liverpool's Jordan Henderson in action against Bolton Wanderers during the FA Cup 4th Round match at Anfield. (Pic by Lindsey Parnaby/Propaganda)

Henderson drove the Reds on in the game – constantly finding incisive forward passes throughout to set the attack on their way – and alongside his excellent use of the ball and ability to quicken the tempo of the Reds play from the middle of the park, it was the 24-year-olds desire to drive the team forward that caught the eye.

What a pass that is from Jordan Henderson. He's been excellent again so far. So important for this #LFC side

— James Pearce (@JamesPearceEcho) January 24, 2015

The skipper took responsibility to try and make the difference, and his driving force was epitomised by his shout for a penalty as the clock ticked down in the second half – where after playing a one-two and bursting into the Kop end box – former red Jay Spearing nudged the marauding midfielder to the floor for what looked a certain penalty just as he appeared certain to nick a late winner.

Up next for Liverpool is the much anticipated League Cup second leg against Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday night.

LIVERPOOL 0-0 BOLTON

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Photos: Daniel Sturridge celebrates long-awaited return to full training

Вс, 25/01/2015 - 19:45

Daniel Sturridge celebrated his first day back in full training at Liverpool on Sunday, having not played for the club since August due to calf and thigh injuries.

The England forward could make his return to action for the League Cup semi-final second leg against Chelsea on Tuesday night. Boss Brendan Rodgers said if not, then he will definitely return to the squad for the Premier League game at home to West Ham next Saturday.

It’s great news for Liverpool who have struggled for goals in Sturridge’s continued absence. Hopefully he can return and provide the finishing touch up front in Rodgers’ new system.

Sturridge said he was a “happy man” after his return to training.

LIVERPOOL 0-0 BOLTON

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Jordan Henderson disappointed not to win but happy to remain in the draw

Вс, 25/01/2015 - 17:32

Liverpool vice-captain Jordan Henderson insisted it was vital the Merseyside club do not become another shock FA Cup fourth-round victim.

 Liverpool's Jordan Henderson in action against Bolton Wanderers during the FA Cup 4th Round match at Anfield. (Pic by Lindsey Parnaby/Propaganda)

Having seen the Premier League’s top three of Chelsea, Manchester City and Southampton plus sixth-placed Tottenham all lose at home to lower-placed opposition, the Reds were then held to a goalless draw at Anfield by Sky Bet Championship side Bolton on Saturday evening.

While Henderson said knowledge of those upsets had not affected the way they approached the match, they were still grateful to be in Monday’s draw for the next round.

“It was obviously a big shock for City, Chelsea and Tottenham to go out but the main thing is we are still in the competition,” said the England midfielder, leading the side in the absence of Steven Gerrard who was rested with the Capital One Cup semi-final second leg at Chelsea coming up on Tuesday.

“To be honest we were pretty focused on what we were doing but the results came on the tannoy and one or two players might have heard but at the same time we just focused on what we needed to do.

“We’ve seen it for many years, lower league teams have beaten Premier League teams and Saturday was no different but we have shown good character to not lose the game and that is the main thing.

“We are a bit disappointed we didn’t win but we are still in the draw and are looking forward to the game on Tuesday.”

While Liverpool created a number of chances they were not clinical enough and also found goalkeeper Adam Bogdan in top form. The 27-year-old is out of contract at the end of the season and – having lost his place as first choice early in the campaign because of injury – Wanderers may struggle to keep hold of him.

However, manager Neil Lennon is hopeful a deal can be done and will have a meeting with Bogdan’s representatives in the next week in an attempt to get him to sign a new contract.

“It was a fantastic performance from our goalkeeper, which is what you need when you come away from home,” said the former Celtic boss. “We know Adam’s quality and I like his temperament. He had a great presence and he will have done his reputation no harm at all.

“We are very lucky in that we have two exceptional goalkeepers: Adam had a broken finger when I came through the door (in October) and Andy Lonergan has played sensationally.

“We want to keep him (Bogdan) – his contract is up in the summer – and we will sit down with his agent this week hopefully and try to resolve it.

PA

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Watch: Match highlights of Liverpool 0-0 Bolton [HQ]

Вс, 25/01/2015 - 17:29

Watch official match highlights from Liverpool’s goalless draw with Bolton in the FA Cup fourth round at Anfield on Saturday.

[embedded content]

Footage from FA TV.

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“Careless”, “too cute”, “no urgency” – How the media responded to Liverpool’s 0-0 draw with Bolton

Вс, 25/01/2015 - 16:29

Liverpool were held to a goalless draw by Championship side Bolton in the FA Cup fourth round at Anfield on Saturday. Here’s how the media reacted to the game and result.

 Liverpool's manager Brendan Rodgers before the FA Cup 4th Round match against Bolton Wanderers at Anfield. (Pic by Lindsey Parnaby/Propaganda)

Andy Hunter of The Guardian has praise for Bolton’s goalkeeper Adam Bogdan:

“Bolton’s goalkeeper was in commanding form and produced inspired saves from Philippe Coutinho and Fabio Borini, although Liverpool rarely threatened to take control of the tie until laying siege to Bogdan’s goal in the closing minutes.”

Of Liverpool’s play, Hunter comments:

“Liverpool did produce 24 shots but there was a carelessness about their play that was absent from the Capital One Cup semi-final against Chelsea.”

Jason Burt of The Telegraph notes how Liverpool should have been playing against 10-men for most of the second half when Matt Mills brought down Lazar Markovic but referee Kevin Friend failed to even give a free kick – something Brendan Rodgers was unhappy about post-match.

“Lazar Markovic, then ran onto Henderson’s raking pass, pushed the ball past Mills and went down, caught by the defender’s trailing leg,” explains Burt. “No red card. There could – should – have been one, however.”

Burt also notes the standing ovation former Red Emile Heskey received as he was substituted.

Matt Ladson, writing for Bleacher Report, notes:

“On a day of huge upsets in the FA Cup fourth round, it probably shouldn’t have come as much of a surprise that Neil Lennon’s resolute Bolton Wanderers left Anfield having forced a replay.”

“Liverpool were made to pay for their lack of prolificacy in front of goal — too often failing to convert their chances or being too cute in the final third.”

David Maddock of the Mirror was more scathing with his assessment, suggesting:

“Never can Liverpool under Brendan Rodgers have passed the ball so poorly, and even worse, so lazily. There was no urgency to the tempo of their game, and absolutely none of the fizz which typified the brilliant midweek performance against Chelsea.”

Perhaps, that’s a little over exaggerated.

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Liverpool 0-0 Bolton: Player Ratings

Вс, 25/01/2015 - 11:00

After Liverpool’s 0-0 draw at home to Bolton Wanderers in the FA Cup, Jack Lusby assesses each Reds’ contribution on the night.

 Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho Correia in action against Bolton Wanderers' Dorian Dervite during the FA Cup 4th Round match at Anfield. (Pic by Lindsey Parnaby/Propaganda)

LIVERPOOL 0-0 BOLTON
FA Cup Fourth Round – Anfield – Saturday, 24th January 2015

Simon Mignolet (out of 10) – 6

With Bolton primarily focussed on defending their keep, Simon Mignolet had little to do in goal on Saturday. The Trotters had no shots on target at Anfield.

Barring one hairy moment, when the No. 22 chested the ball out from his box and dawdled in possession with Eidur Gudjohnson bearing down on him, Mignolet coped excellently.

Glen Johnson – 5

Rodgers had hinted at a right centre-back role for Glen Johnson prior to the game, but if Saturday’s performance is anything to go by the England international may fare better in his natural right-back role.

While not wholly troubled by Bolton’s attack, Johnson’s failure to perform the role required—create play from the back and bring the ball into midfield—underlined his misery.

To his credit Johnson grew into the game as Liverpool threw everything at Bolton towards the end of the game, but his conservative display arguably helped the Reds into that desperate position.

Emre Can – 7

Johnson’s involvement saw Emre Can take the rested Martin Skrtel’s place in the centre of the defensive three, and saw his attributes stymied in a limited defensive role.

Nevertheless, on the whole Can completed his duties with ease and distinction.

Vitally, the 21-year-old was consistently available as an outlet for Mignolet, Johnson, Joe Allen and Mamadou Sakho when any of Liverpool’s other defensive players were under pressure.

Mamadou Sakho – 8

Sakho was interestingly targeted by Lennon’s side, with former Red Emile Heskey persistently challenging the French centre-back in the air and in possession.

A defensive behemoth, Sakho dealt with the threat of Heskey and, barring one sloppy back-pas s—cruelly latched onto as a “nervous prod” by BT Sport’s co-commentator Gary McAllister — was an ensured presence at the back for the Reds.

Javier Manquillo – 4.5

Brought into the side in place of Lazar Markovic, on-loan right-back Javier Manquillo faced a difficult challenge in replicating the majestic Serb’s attacking thrust, and duly faded.

The 20-year-old’s failure to consistently support Adam Lallana on the right flank saw Liverpool’s attack limited to the tandem of Jose Enrique and Philippe Coutinho, who struggled to dovetail.

Manquillo should be limited to a defensive role at full-back.

Substituted on 67 minutes.

Football - FA Cup - 4th Round - Liverpool FC v Bolton Wanderers FC

Joe Allen – 5

With Lucas Leiva relegated to the bench for this tie, returning midfielder Allen could have made a statement against Bolton as a contender for Liverpool’s defensive midfield role in the future.

Unfortunately, so soon after recovering from injury, Allen struggled to grasp the occasion and, while his pressing play in midfield did add intensity, the midfielder managed to produce little of note.

Substituted on 67 minutes.

Jordan Henderson – 7

Alongside Allen in midfield, Jordan Henderson was stuck in a piggyback role much like when supporting Steven Gerrard in central midfield earlier this season.

This stymied the Liverpool vice-captain’s ability to support the attack, and the side notably struggled.

With the introduction of Lucas Leiva, Henderson blossomed, with his passing crisp, while he came close to providing a winner late on after a neat one-two with Lallana inside the Bolton penalty area.

Jose Enrique – 5

Much like Manquillo, Jose Enrique failed to replicate the devastating attacking forays of Liverpool’s regular left wing-back, Alberto Moreno.

While Enrique was a useful outlet moving forward, and supplied some dangerous crosses, his overall output left a lot to be desired—his tactical ability let him down on this occasion.

Substituted at half-time.

Adam Lallana – 5

Returning to the side in place of Steven Gerrard, after a spell out with injury, Lallana failed to grasp the pace of the encounter, often slowing down moves when on the ball—although his ability in possession was useful.

It was a surprise that the former Southampton man lasted the full 90 minutes.

Philippe Coutinho – 6.5

After achieving such impressive consistency as Liverpool’s primary playmaker in recent weeks, Philippe Coutinho failed to hit the heights against Bolton.

Closed down swiftly and starved of time in possession, Coutinho was continually frustrated by a committed Trotters back line.

He remained Liverpool’s most dangerous creative outlet however, with six key passes.

Raheem Sterling – 5.5

Operating again in a lone striker role, Raheem Sterling—like Coutinho—struggled to find space between a solid Bolton back three.

He endeavoured to twist away from the clutches of centre-back Matt Mills, but with just one shot on target Sterling failed to trouble Bolton’s goal.

A switch to a right wing-back role on further marginalised a player who would have benefited from a rest at some point during this tie.

Substitutes:

Lazar Markovic, on for Enrique, 45’ – 7
Arguably Liverpool’s most effective attacker, Markovic made a significant impact on the game in his 45-minute display, but lack a vital end-product.

Lucas Leiva, on for Allen, 67’ – 6
Helped to steady the ship and provide Henderson with more license to support the attack, came close with a long-range effort that soared too close to goalkeeper Adam Bogdan.

Fabio Borini, on for Manquillo, 67’ – 5.5
Made little improvement on Sterling’s contribution in the lone striker role, and his glancing headed effort should have tested Bogdan.

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Mario Balotelli told to shape up to save his Liverpool career

Вс, 25/01/2015 - 02:23

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has told striker Mario Balotelli he will not get picked for the squad unless he improves in training.

 Liverpool's manager Brendan Rodgers and Mario Balotelli against Hull City during the Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The £16million summer signing did not make the matchday 18 for the goalless FA Cup fourth round draw at home to Bolton despite being fit after illness.

Rodgers said he spent an hour on Friday telling the Italy international exactly what he had to do in order to be considered.

"I am judging it every day in training – Mario is exactly the same as every other player, there is no special treatment for anyone," said the Reds boss.

"Fabio Borini and Rickie Lambert are working tirelessly in training and when they go on they have contributed and young Jordan Rossiter, on the bench today, has been brilliant in training and I have to judge it on that.

"If you want to contribute you have to be at it every single day in training in order to be in the squad on match day.

"We had an hour or so yesterday chatting and he understands where he is at.

"He knows exactly what is required to be in this squad before he can be in the team.

"It is difficult for him but he knows the level of what this team is at – you see the aggression in our pressing and if you can't do that you are not going to be a part of what this team is trying to achieve.

"He was fully understanding. He saw the level of performance against Chelsea (in Tuesday's Capital One Cup) and in fairness to him he actually said it would be a struggle for him in terms of how he would play the game because he is a box player really.

 Liverpool's captain Steven Gerrard and Mario Balotelli during the Premier League match against Hull City at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

"But there is much more asked of this team and he saw it clearly on the field the other night. I am confident he will respond well."

Another striker, Daniel Sturridge, returns to training tomorrow having not featured for the Reds since August 31 because of a thigh injury and could make the squad for the second leg against Chelsea on Tuesday.

"Now it is just about getting that condition with football fitness and game fitness," said Rodgers.

"We will see how he is for Tuesday but if he is not ready for Tuesday he will be back for sure against West Ham next weekend."

Liverpool lacked a cutting edge against their SkyBet Championship visitors, although goalkeeper Adam Bogdan did his part to earn a replay with some good saves.

However, Rodgers felt Matt Mills should have been dismissed for pulling down Lazar Markovic early in the second half.

"We did everything but put the ball in the net," he added.

"Creative-wise we were excellent and were defensively solid against a form team in the Championship.

 Liverpool's manager Brendan Rodgers before the FA Cup 4th Round match against Bolton Wanderers at Anfield. (Pic by Lindsey Parnaby/Propaganda)

"The one (decision) which would have changed the game was Matt Mills should have been sent off – either a second yellow or a straight red – for bringing down Markovic.

"If you are playing 35 minutes against 10 men you'd hope that advantage would count." PA

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Reports: Raheem Sterling turns down new Liverpool deal as Glen Johnson accepts his

Вс, 25/01/2015 - 02:00

Raheem Sterling has rejected a second new contract offer from Liverpool, whilst Glen Johnson will agree a new deal, according to some admittedly dubious reports in Sunday’s papers.

 Liverpool's Raheem Sterling looks dejected against FC Basel during the final UEFA Champions League Group B match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Soriebah Kajue (who?) of the Mirror suggests Sterling is demanding upwards of £100,000 a week to commit to Liverpool.

The 20-year-old has two years running on his current deal, but the Reds are keen to secure his future after losing Luis Suarez to Barcelona last summer and Steven Gerrard set to move to LA Galaxy this summer.

This latest piece of speculation comes just days after Brendan Rodgers told press he expected negotiations with Sterling to conclude imminently.

BR: The club are speaking to Raheem’s representatives over a new contract. He’s very happy, he wants to be here.

— This Is Anfield (@thisisanfield) January 22, 2015

Brendan Rodgers says he expects Raheem Sterling's contract negotiations to be concluded "imminently".

— Tony Barrett (@TonyBarretTimes) January 22, 2015

Meanwhile Liverpool are claimed to have agreed a new deal with Glen Johnson – who will turn down a move to Roma to stay at Anfield, according to Simon Jones of the Daily Mail.

The 30-year-old England international will reportedly sign a new three-year contract on Merseyside, with his current deal due to expire at the end of the season.

 Liverpool's Glen Johnson in action against Borussia Dortmund during a preseason friendly match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Jones claims:

Inter and AC Milan also showed interest but Roma were most keen and Johnson was interested after hearing good reports back from former England teammate Ashley Cole.

Liverpool had looked unlikely to return to the negotiating table until manager Brendan Rodgers intervened. He called in Johnson for a chat about his future and insisted he still had a role to play.

Brendan Rodgers spoke earlier this week of his worry about losing too many senior players too quickly, keen to agree new contracts for Johnson and Lucas Leiva.

“We can’t have three or four leaving next season,” said Rodgers.

“The intention will be to keep everyone, partly because of the mix in the group.

“Steven will obviously be a loss, when you are losing someone of that calibre of man and player it would be a loss to any club, but you move on.

“For the younger players to develop their potential they are going to need that seniority around them. You can’t just have a whole group of young players.

“Glen Johnson we want to keep, Lucas we want to keep.

“I know the club and his (Johnson’s) agents spoke towards the beginning of the season but I am hopeful he will stay and we can find a solution so he can be here.

 Liverpool's Glen Johnson injured during the Premier League match against Manchester City at the City of Manchester Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“Obviously, like every player, you want that security and it sorted earlier than it is now.

“But when he looks at it he realises he is at one of the biggest clubs in the world with a team which is developing and growing that he would want to be a part of.

“I think he will try to find a solution with the club to stay here. He loves being here, he enjoys working with the way we are playing.

“His game will adapt over the next couple of years. He is not the maurading full-back of six or seven years ago but he is still a quality player and he has a lot to offer with his experience and football.

“He is one we would look to keep.”

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Liverpool 0-0 Bolton Post-Match Analysis: Johnson, Enrique, Manquillo and Allen leave Reds disjointed

Вс, 25/01/2015 - 01:07

Liverpool drew 0-0 with Bolton Wanderers in Saturday’s FA Cup tie, and rotation was behind a disjointed attacking display, writes Jack Lusby.

 Liverpool's manager Brendan Rodgers before the FA Cup 4th Round match against Bolton Wanderers at Anfield. (Pic by Lindsey Parnaby/Propaganda)

After seeing Manchester City, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur all lose out in their FA Cup games earlier in the day, and Manchester United play out a drab 0-0 away to Cambridge United the previous night, the pressure was on Liverpool to perform against Bolton Wanderers on Saturday.

Unfortunately, a strong Trotters back line, deployed by a ruthless Neil Lennon, kept the Reds at bay and salvaged a 0-0 draw which will see a Macron Stadium replay.

Liverpool, four days after a season-high performance against Chelsea in the League Cup, were disjointed in attack, and manager Brendan Rodgers will rue his rotational approach.

Prior to the game, Rodgers stressed that “we’ll look to make changes, but not too many,” with half an eye clearly on Tuesday’s return leg at Stamford Bridge.

Liverpool XI vs. Bolton: Mignolet; Johnson, Can, Sakho; Manquillo, Allen, Henderson, Enrique; Coutinho, Lallana, Sterling.

Keeping things fairly similar to Tuesday’s 1-1 draw, in came Glen Johnson, Javier Manquillo, Joe Allen, Jose Enrique and Adam Lallana, replacing Martin Skrtel, Lazar Markovic, Lucas Leiva, Alberto Moreno and Steven Gerrard.

Unfortunately, the momentum Liverpool had at Chelsea was lost in this rotation, and the Reds struggled to gain advantage through three key areas.

1) Johnson at RCB

 Liverpool's Glen Johnson in action against Borussia Dortmund during a preseason friendly match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Rodgers disappointed the entire red half of Merseyside by announcing in midweek that he was eager to agree a deal with Johnson to extend his contract beyond the end of the season.

In announcing this intention, Rodgers conceded that “[Johnson] will maybe adapt over the coming years. He is not the marauding full-back of six, seven years ago but he is still a quality player with experience.”

Not by any stretch an effective marauding full-back, Johnson proved even more abortive replacing Can in the right- centre-back role.

Much of Liverpool’s threat in the 3-4-2-1 has come from the deep-lying creative abilities of Can and Mamadou Sakho on the central defensive flanks.

 Liverpool's Emre Can in action against AS Roma at Fenway Park on day three of the club's USA Tour. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Can has outlined his ability to play long raking passes as well as he can bring the ball out from defence on the ground, and this has helped open up Liverpool’s opposition.

Disappointingly, Johnson failed to do so.

At 30 years old, it is no surprise that Johnson is losing the ability to probe forward with consistency, but this lack of incision from this area was stark on Saturday.

As too was Johnson’s predilection to turn back towards the Liverpool goal when in possession.

Johnson vs Can

Naturally, moving Can inside hampered the 21-year-old’s ability to perform the duties that have made him so effective of late—instead, Can was reduced to a limited defensive role.

Can made 12 clearances against Bolton, compared to just two against Chelsea.

Using Johnson as a right centre-back points depressingly towards how Liverpool may operate in the future, if Rodgers gets his wish and the defender signs a new deal, and Saturday’s performance showed just how ineffective he will be in this role.

2) Enrique and Manquillo as Wing-Backs

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

Like Can, Moreno and Markovic have been central to Liverpool’s success in the 3-4-2-1, but their omission on Saturday was half expected—the pair arguably needed the rest, given the amount of work they are required to get through as wing-backs.

Unfortunately their replacements, Enrique and Manquillo, failed to provide anywhere near the support that they have in recent weeks.

Enrique, eager to impress, duly patrolled the left flank, and the positions that he was taking up were encouraging but, as ever with the former Newcastle United man, a tactical intelligence was consistently absent.

Coutinho touches vs. Bolton (97), too often dragged wide, particularly in first half alongside Enrique. #LFC pic.twitter.com/e6JQca4j8m

— Jack Lusby (@LusbyLatest) January 24, 2015

This drew Philippe Coutinho out into these wide areas, stifling his creativity.

When Markovic was introduced after the interval in Enrique’s place, the difference was remarkable.

Liverpool finally had impetus on the left flank, and the 20-year-old should have earned the Reds a penalty after his persistent burst was halted by Matt Mills on 50 minutes.

Refereeing is becoming beyond a joke. That was as clear a penalty as you’ll see, ever since the Markovic one at Sunderland

— Paul Tomkins (@paul_tomkins) January 24, 2015

Referee Kevin Friend opted out of a contentious decision—Mills would have taken a red card if a foul was awarded, and the fabled “magic of the cup” would have been tarnished.

Markovic made two dribbles and two key passes in his 45 minute display, more than Enrique and Manquillo put together.

Replacing Manquillo with Borini and moving Sterling out to the wide role said it all—the 20-year-old did not have the best of evenings.

It is clear that Manquillo is a wholly defensive full-back, and this will be useful in Liverpool’s testing upcoming run, but deploying the Spaniard along with his barrel-chested compatriot failed to provide an effective balance for Liverpool.

3) Allen as CDM

Football - FA Cup - 4th Round - Liverpool FC v Bolton Wanderers FC

Like Coutinho, another player who failed to support Liverpool’s attack as well as he has done recently, due to Rodgers’ fixture-enforced changes, was Jordan Henderson.

Henderson has been a focal, playmaking figure in a blossoming attacking line of late, and his contribution in supplying for the likes of Sterling has helped Liverpool despatch their opposition.

The midfielder enjoyed the freedom that Lucas Leiva provided as a defensive midfielder.

Against Bolton, Allen partnered Henderson, and produced an insipid midfield display that will no doubt fuel those who question his place in Rodgers’ first team.

After a long spell with injury, like Johnson, Allen was thrust into the starting line-up and understandably struggle as a result.

Attempting to support defence and attack, Allen was caught in between too often and failed to make any recognisable contribution in either sector.

 Liverpool's Jordan Henderson looks dejected as Manchester City score the third goal during the Premier League match at the City of Manchester Stadium. (Pic by Chris Brunskill/Propaganda)

This, in turn, affected Henderson’s performance, with the Reds captain forced to sit back.

With Lucas replacing Allen on 67 minutes, Henderson was immediately given more license to probe, and almost produced a winner after a great one-two with Lallana in the box just over 10 minutes later.

Former Liverpool man Jay Spearing blocked Henderson in what was a stonewall penalty decision—another poor contribution from Friend.

Allen may be a capable defensive midfielder in the future, but this was the wrong clash to introduce him in that role.

In truth, it was wrong to introduce Joe Allen, Glen Johnson, Jose Enrique and Javier Manquillo in their respective roles against Bolton Wanderers on Saturday. But a draw is far from the end of the world for Brendan Rodgers’ side, and this rotation could prove vital on Tuesday.

Statistics via WhoScored.com.

Was Brendan Rodgers’ squad rotation an unavoidable failure? Let us know in the comments below.

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Video: Rodgers claims Bolton should have been down to 10 men, but praises “outstanding” Liverpool

Вс, 25/01/2015 - 00:08

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has claimed Bolton defender Matt Mills should have seen red for bringing down Lazar Markovic on the edge of the area, but declared himself pleased with Saturday’s goalless draw in the FA Cup 4th Round.

[embedded content]

Video: YouTube user nhlsarok

The Reds couldn’t find a way through a strong Bolton defence and were forced to a replay, which will take place at the Macron Stadium on the week commencing 2nd February 2015.

"It was always going to be tough," he said. "Neil has done a great job and in 16 games they've lost three. We knew it would be physically demanding and I thought the players were outstanding positionally and getting the ball into the final third. We give them credit, their goalkeeper was oustanding.

"You've seen what it's like (with results elsewhere) and if you can't win, it's important that you don't lose."

Markovic tumbled under a challenge from Mills five minutes after a restart when there was only the goalkeeper to beat, but the referee waved play on.

"That was a poor decision," Rodgers said. "Matt Mills should have been sent off. You can see it clearly. Sometimes they go for you, sometimes it doesn't."

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Daniel Sturridge to return for Liverpool THIS WEEK, confirms Brendan Rodgers

Вс, 25/01/2015 - 00:02

Brendan Rodgers hasn’t ruled out Daniel Sturridge playing a part in Liverpool’s League Cup tie against Chelsea on Tuesday, but says he will certainly be back for next Saturday’s Premier League clash at home to West Ham.

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

Speaking after Liverpool’s goalless draw at home to Bolton in the FA Cup 4th Round on Saturday evening, Rodgers revealed that Sturridge will return to full training on Sunday.

The England international striker hasn’t played since August after a series of thigh muscle problems, but after strengthening and conditioning with experts in the USA, the 25-year-old is set to return to action imminently.

“Daniel’s at a really good level of fitness,” Rodgers told BT Sport. “He’ll only have a couple of day’s training before the Chelsea game, but he’ll be ready for West Ham.”

“He’s working really hard and that will be a huge boost for us.”

Speaking in his post-match press conference, Rodgers said similarly: “We’ll see how he is for Tuesday, if not, definitely for West Ham.”

Liverpool face West Ham at Anfield next Saturday, 31st January after the mid-week League Cup clash against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

The FA Cup 4th Round replay against Bolton will take place in the week beginning 2nd February, with full details and ticket selling arrangements to be confirmed.

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Confirmed Liverpool lineup vs Bolton: Johnson, Allen, Enrique start

Сб, 24/01/2015 - 20:29

Brendan Rodgers rests key players for today’s FA Cup fourth round tie against Bolton at Anfield, with Tuesday’s League Cup semi-final second leg in mind.

 A general view of Liverpool's Anfield stadium. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)


Liverpool Live: 88'
0 - 0
Bolton Popular scores

3-0 17%

2-0 17%

3-1 17%

Lazar Markovic, Steven Gerrard, Martin Skrtel, Alberto Moreno and Lucas Leiva are rested, with Glen Johnson, Joe Allen, Adam Lallana, Javi Manquillo and Jose Enrique coming into the side.

Those five changes will see Liverpool lineup with Johnson, Emre Can and Mamadou Sakho in defence, with a midfield four of Manquillo, Allen, Jordan Henderson and Enrique.

Raheem Sterling continues up front, assisted by returning Lallana and Philippe Coutinho.

Youngster Jordan Rossiter is among the LFC subs, but there’s no Mario Balotelli in the squad.

For Bolton, former Liverpool forward Emile Heksey starts up front alongside Eidur Gudjohnsen.

Kick off at Anfield is 5.30pm, live on BT Sport in the UK.

Liverpool: Mignolet, Johnson, Can, Sakho, Manquillo, Allen, Hendo, Enrique, Coutinho, Lallana, Sterling.

Substitutes: Ward, Lovren, Lambert, Lucas, Borini, Rossiter, Markovic.

Bolton: Bogdan, Moxey, Mills, Ream, Dervite, Vela, Danns, Pratley, Feeney, Gudjohnsen, Heskey.

Substitutes: Lonergan, McNaughton, Spearing, Hall, Trotter, Wheater, Wilkinson.

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