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Steven Gerrard’s new Liverpool deal: What Reds can expect from the skipper

2 часа 24 минуты назад

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard to looks set to earn a new deal at Anfield, as he continues to flourish well into his 30s. Henry Jackson discusses the 34-year-old’s future, and looks at the positives of Gerrard staying on for the foreseeable future.

 Liverpool's captain Steven Gerrard applauds the supporters after the final game of the season, a 2-1 victory over Newcastle United, during the Premiership match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has confirmed that Steven Gerrard will almost certainly be offered a new contract at the club, with his current deal expiring in 11 months time.

Rodgers has said that Gerrard’s decision to retire from international football was “great” for the club and he also feels that it will allow the 34-year-old to play for another “3 or 4 years”.

“A lot has gone on over the summer. I am very happy that Steven is now going to commit to Liverpool and I am sure that (his contract) is something we will look at,” said Rodgers.

“I know he can continue to play beyond this season. I have always said that. Now he doesn’t have international football, he will have that freshness.

“Listen, for his own mind, I’m sure he will want it sorted out, absolutely. You never want to leave players with not too long to go on their contract. It is something I am sure will get sorted.”

New Role

You only have to look at how Gerrard performed in his new deep-lying playmaker role last season to see why Rodgers is so confident about his captain’s future.

Much like Paul Scholes and Andrea Pirlo, the Reds skipper has adapted his game brilliantly, and his new role is built around technique and intelligence rather than speed and fitness.

Liverpool have an abundance of youth in their side, from Raheem Sterling and Philippe Coutinho in attacking areas, to Jordan Henderson, Emre Can and Joe Allen in midfield.

Having Gerrard as the experienced head controlling the game works perfectly, and the endless running of the aforementioned young stars around him means his increasing lack of mobility is not an issue. There is absolutely no reason why he can’t continue to thrive into his late 30s.

Considering the 34-year-old has only spent one season in his new position, he will still feel he has plenty to learn there. At times his defensive expertise in a positional sense has been called into question, and being the perfectionist that he is he will no doubt be working on improving that aspect of his game.


Having Gerrard around the club for the foreseeable future is also huge in terms of the image of Liverpool Football Club.

He is one of the most respected midfielders in world football, and the chance to play alongside him is clearly a huge lure for some players. Being able to train every day with someone you have always looked up to can only be huge in terms of the development of players like Henderson, Allen and new signing Adam Lallana, among others.

Having an English, boyhood Liverpool fan as captain also gives the team that heart and soul that is lacking in so many sides these days. Ryan Giggs became very much a squad player in his latter years at United, but having him around still was of enormous benefit to Man United. The same apples with Gerrard.

The one thing that is impossible to avoid accepting, however, is that Gerrard cannot remain a fixture in the first-team forever.

 Liverpool's captain Steven Gerrard celebrates scoring the third goal against Fulham from the penalty spot during the Premiership match at Craven Cottage. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)


He is now at an age where he has to be managed sensibly. It will be impossible for him to maintain consistently excellent performances at the highest level if he is playing back-to-back Premier League and Champions League games all the time, for example. That will be one of Rodgers’ biggest challenges in 2014/15.

As it stands Gerrard is still very much an integral member of the starting XI- a fairly miserable few months for him make it easy to forget he came well he played last season- but, like his former rivals Scholes and Giggs, his influence will start to wane over the next year or two. That’s only natural.

It’s time for the likes of Henderson and Allen, players who have generally been in Gerrard’s shadow since arriving at Anfield, to step up and take over the mantle. They were both signed for a lot of money, and as potential long-term replacements for the legendary skipper.

Henderson, in particular, looks the most likely to eventually become Liverpool’s midfield lynchpin.

The 24-year-old has come on leaps and bounds over the last 18 months- some are even tipping him to be Liverpool’s next captain once Gerrard steps down- and although not as naturally gifted as his illustrious teammate, you could imagine him being mentored by Gerrard and eased into the role.

There were many who wrote Gerrard off around the start of this decade, with niggling injuries affecting his form and his marauding style no longer at the world-class level it once was.

Some deemed him incapable of altering his style of play, but the way he has reinvented himself has been an absolute joy to watch. Rodgers certainly deserves a huge amount of credit for this.

It has allowed him to remain one of the most important players at the club, and his forthcoming new contract simply highlights how highly he is still regarded.

We’ve all been privileged to witness 15 years of Steven Gerrard at Anfield, and it’s fantastic news that there is no sign of him going away just yet.

Let us know your thoughts on Steven Gerrard’s imminent new deal in the comments section below.

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Win a classic Liverpool retro shirt from Campo Retro

5 часов 53 минуты назад

We have come together with Campo Retro to offer Liverpool fans from all around the world a fantastic opportunity to win a classic Liverpool retro shirt of their choice complete with any name and number on the back.


camponewCampo Retro sell classic retro football clothing from yesteryear and not only do they offer a comprehensive range of ‘classic football shirts’, they tell the stories behind the shirts; the great moments, the near misses, the icons, the nostalgia and have a wide range of classic Liverpool shirts and track jackets ranging back from 1964 to 2000.

All you have to do to win a shirt of your choice is answer the simple question below and email your answer to [email protected]

  • In which year was Liverpool Football Club founded?

The winner will be selected at random and emailed asking for their choice of shirt, their size, and a delivery address. People who enter but don’t win will ALL get an exclusive discount code to use off their next order with them too.

The competition closes at midnight on the 31st August 2014 and is open to people in every country so whether you are in England or Egypt, Scotland or Sweden, you are in with a chance.

Good luck!

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5 Players Who Could Challenge Glen Johnson at Liverpool

7 часов 35 минут назад

With full-backs something that clearly need to be addressed at Liverpool ahead of the new season, Henry Jackson selects five players who could come in as competition for Glen Johnson at right-back.

 Liverpool's Glen Johnson in action against Aston Villa during the Premiership match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

While there has been a lot of attention paid to Liverpool’s left-back problem ahead of next season- it is undeniable that reinforcements need to be made in that area- the right-back situation seems to have gone somewhat under the radar.

Glen Johnson is a player who divides opinion greatly among Reds fans, but even his most devout supporters seem to be losing faith in him now.

The 30-year-old is arguably past his peak, and there are times when he looks a genuine liability to the side. His attacking threat cannot be faulted, in fairness, but defensively he is extremely suspect.

With Jon Flanagan Johnson’s deputy at right-back, it is an area that looks weak, particularly with Champions League looming.

Flanagan enjoyed a superb season last year, and matured greatly, but he is still far from the finished article. Technically he must improve, and there is still a certain naivety in his game. That’s to be expected at 21 though.

The Reds have been linked strongly with Atletico Madrid full-back Javier Manquillo, but at just 20-years-old, is he a realistic challenger to Johnson?

It is not an area of Liverpool’s squad that fills you with confidence, but who could come in to strengthen it? Here are five possible options.


 Manchester City's captain Micah Richards in action against Liverpool during the Football League Cup Semi-Final 1st Leg at the City of Manchester Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Richards has been a Liverpool target on and off for a while now, and the Daily Mirror report that a loan move to Anfield may be on the cards.

The 26-year-old- it’s easy to forget he’s younger than Adam Lallana because of how long he’s been around- has struggled for first-team action at Manchester City, such is the brilliance of Pablo Zabaleta, and a move would surely give him a new lease of life.

Richard is more solid defensively than Johnson, and although he doesn’t look the most aesthetically pleasing player when going forward, his pace and power can be mighty effective.


Last month the Daily Star reported that Brendan Rodgers was interested in bringing Aurier to Anfield.

The 21-year-old Toulouse and Ivory Coast star is a potent attacking full-back, but one who is also strong in the tackle and solid defensively.

Arsenal’s purchase of Mathieu Debuchy has put them out of the reckoning, but Paris Saint-Germain have been linked with acquiring his services. He is certainly an option Liverpool should look at, and is at an age where he will only get better.


Yedlin was a relative unknown a month or so ago, but his fantastic performance for USA in their World Cup clash with Belgium, having come on for the equally impressive Fabian Johnson, saw a number of top clubs sit up and take notice.

The 20-year-old was reportedly the lowest paid player at the World Cup, but his blistering pace, strength and consistency at right-back impressed many.

There can be no doubting that Yedlin would be a risky signing- there have been many players who have starred at World Cups then failed to replicate that form down the years- but he’d also be a relatively cheap, potentially exciting capture.


Since being linked with a move to Anfield by the Daily Star back in May, interest appears to have cooled in Clyne.

The 23-year-old Southampton man has been a terrific servant to the Saints since joining from Crystal Palace two years ago, and he was one of many impressive English stars at the club.

He is young enough to improve still, and is a player who could definitely challenge Johnson and Flanagan for a place in the starting XI.

Whether Southampton are willing to sell yet another of their players to the Reds seems unlikely, however.


Isla was touted to be on Liverpool’s radar in June, with the Daily Star claiming both them and Arsenal were interested in the 26-year-old.

Isla was part of an excellent Chile team at the World Cup, and his ability to play in a number of roles is something that would clearly appeal to Rodgers.

The Juventus man appears happy at the Serie A champions for now, but he continues to play second fiddle to Stephan Lichtsteiner at right-back which could prove an issue for him.

His all-round quality would be a great addition to Liverpool.

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8 часов 49 минут назад

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Divock Origi heads to Boston to complete Liverpool move

Чт, 24/07/2014 - 20:51

Belgium forward Divock Origi is the latest player to head across to Boston to meet up with Liverpool and undergo a medical, following in the footsteps of Loic Remy earlier this week.

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Remy underwent a medical on Tuesday ahead of his £8 million move, while Origi will cost a reported £9.8 million.

Sky Sports News report that Origi is now heading across to join up with the Liverpool squad in Boston to undergo his medical and complete his move.

The 19-year-old was spotted at Liverpool’s training ground before The Reds flew out to the US last week and will join the club but be loaned back to Lille for the 2014/15 season.

Divock Origi has told Liverpool he wants to join them and could also travel to Boston for a medical later this week.

— Tony Barrett (@TonyBarretTimes) July 20, 2014

Liverpool will remain in Boston until Saturday, they then fly to Chicago where they play Olympiakos on Sunday evening.

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John Henry still expects “very explosive Liverpool offense”

Чт, 24/07/2014 - 20:02

Liverpool principal owner John W. Henry has commented on the £75 million departure of Luis Suarez this summer, saying the timing was right to sell the Uruguayan.

 Liverpool's owner John W. Henry with his wife Linda Pizzuti during the Premiership match against Swansea City at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“It was time for Luis and time for the club to make a break,” Henry is quoted explaining. “He brought so much to the club but we brought a lot to Luis.”

The 31-goal striker departed for Barcelona a fortnight ago but Henry insists that Liverpool’s attack will still be “explosive”.

“I think you will still see a very explosive Liverpool offense,” he commented.

Liverpool have signed two attacking players already in Adam Lallana and Lazar Markovic and more will follow with the signing of Loic Remy this week.

The French forward’s move form QPR should be completed before The Reds play Olympiakos in Chicago on Sunday – a match that will see the club’s World Cup players, and new signing Markovic, feature for the first time this summer.

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Liverpool 0-1 Roma: Reds’ USA Tour starts with late defeat

Чт, 24/07/2014 - 05:34

Daniel Agger‘s last-minute own goal gifted Roma victory in Liverpool’s first game of their USA tour, in a game that Brendan Rodgers‘ side shaded on the whole.

 Liverpool players look dejected after losing 1-0 to AS Roma at Fenway Park on day three of the club's USA Tour. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool 0-1 Roma
Friendly / Fenway Park, Boston / Thursday, 24th July 2014

Goals: Agger OG (89)

By Henry Jackson

Reds boss Brendan Rodgers handed Jose Enrique his first start since Liverpool’s 3-1 win over Crystal Palace last October, with the 28-year-old left-back continuing his recovery from long-term injury.

Sebastian Coates was given a rare starting berth alongside captain Martin Skrtel, while Jordon Ibe started again following an impressive performance against Preston last Saturday.

There was no place in the squad for new signings Lazar Markovic and Adam Lallana, however, with the latter having only returned to training on Monday.

Liverpool got off to a solid start against a strong Roma team, enjoying the better of possession in front of an expectant American crowd at Fenway Park.

Fabio Borini, potentially Sunderland-bound, left the field just 10 minutes into the game after injuring his shoulder. He was replaced by Emre Can.

In truth it was a very forgettable opening 45 minutes, with neither side managing a single shot on target and both seemingly struggling with the trajectory of their passing.

Italian legend Francesco Totti went closest, kneeing the ball wide following good work from new signing Ashley Cole. Ibe looked a threat for Liverpool, while Coates was an assured presence at centre-back.

The two sides went in at half-time all square.

Rodgers made just one change at the interval, with Jack Robinson replacing Enrique at left-back.

Philippe Coutinho twice tried his luck a couple of minutes into the second-half, but saw both attempts sail wide, while Rickie Lambert failed to connect properly with a close-range effort after a fine cross by Martin Kelly.

 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)

Liverpool were stepping it up, and Can’s pace and power made him an increasingly influential figure in midfield. Lambert’s stinging left foot drive in the 57th minute tested Roma goalkeeper Lukasz Skorupski, while another Coutinho effort was blocked following good work by substitute Kristoffer Peterson.

The final 20 minutes of the game drifted somewhat, with Roma’s many substitutions at the midway point of the half doing nothing to help the flow of the game.

Brad Jones made a fine save to deny Antonio Sanabria late on, but just as it looked as though the game was heading for an inevitable draw, Daniel Agger diverted the ball agonisingly past Jones from a Roma corner to gift the Italian side victory.

The performance was adequate, if a little lacking in intensity, and Rodgers will want to see an improvement ahead of Sunday’s clash with Olympiakos.

Man of the Match: Lucas Leiva

Tactical Overview

The Reds were deployed in a 4-3-3 formation at the start of proceedings, rather than the 4-4-2 diamond Rodgers is occasionally fond of, with Coutinho at the top a midfield three, and Ibe and Borini start either side of Lambert.

Borini’s injury caused the Northern Irishman to push Coutinho out to the right, with Can slotting into the centre of midfield and Joe Allen playing a more advanced role.

Can, in particular, showed exactly what he will add to the Liverpool midfield, with speed, strength and mobility in abundance.

Liverpool: Jones, Kelly, Skrtel, Coates (Agger 60), Enrique (Robinson 46), Lucas, Allen (Henderson 77), Coutinho (Phillips 85), Borini (Can 12), Lambert (Peterson 60), Ibe (Suso 77).

Subs not used: Ward, Coady.

Roma starting XI: Skorupski, Somma, Benatia, Castan, Cole, Florenzi, Keita, Nainggolan, Iturbe, Totti, Ljajic.

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Liverpool Line Up vs Roma

Чт, 24/07/2014 - 02:33

Liverpool play Italian side Roma in their third pre-season friendly, the first of their US tour, on Wednesday evening in Boston.

 Liverpool players during a training session at Fenway Park in Boston on two one of the club's USA Tour. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Martin Skrtel captains the side, starting alongside Sebastian Coates in defence. Jose Enrique makes his first start on his return from injury. Emre Can is named among the subs.

Those players who only began pre-season training on Monday aren’t involved – aside from marathon man Jordan Henderson who is named on the bench – which means Adam Lallana’s first appearance in a Liverpool shirt will be in Chicago on Sunday against Olympiakos.

Rickie Lambert starts up front alongside Jordon Ibe and Fabio Borini.

Kick off is at 00.30am (UK) – live on BT Sport. Local time is 7.30pm (EST) kick off – live on NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra in USA.

Liverpool: Jones, Kelly, Skrtel, Coates, Enrique, Lucas, Allen, Coutinho, Borini, Lambert, Ibe.

Subs: Ward, Agger, Henderson, Can, Suso, Coady, Phillips, Robinson, Peterson.

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Dejan Lovren to be a Liverpool player ‘by the weekend’

Ср, 23/07/2014 - 20:50

Croatian defender Dejan Lovren will be a Liverpool player by the weekend, according to Sky Sports reporter Jim White.

 Liverpool's Raheem Sterling and Southampton's Dejan Lovren during the Premiership match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

White tweeted on Wednesday afternoon that he had heard “on good authority” that Lovren would be a Liverpool player “by the weekend”:

Just heard on good authority that Dejan Lovren will be a #LFC player by the weekend.

— Jim White (@JimWhite) July 23, 2014

Reports earlier this week had suggested that a deal had finally been agreed with Southampton for the 25-year-old, believed to be worth £20 million.

With Loic Remy having already flown to Boston to undergo his medical ahead of a £8 million move from QPR, Lovren looks like also taking the trip across the Atlantic to join his new team mates.

That means that both players could be unveiled before The Reds’ second tour match against Olympiakos in Chicago on Sunday.

Lovren will become the third player Liverpool have signed from Southampton this summer, following Rickie Lambert and Adam Lallana north.

Brendan Rodgers side play AS Roma at Fenway Park on Wednesday evening in Boston (00.30am UK).

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The Kids are all Sh**e

Ср, 23/07/2014 - 14:41

Neil Poole is encouraged by the potential of Liverpool’s latest batch of up-and-coming youngsters. However, he explains how the pedestals built for such blossoming talents have a tendency to simply fade away.

 Brad Smith, 'Suso' Jesus Joaquin Fernandez Saenz De La Torre, Lucas Leiva, Fabio Borini, Philippe Coutinho Correia, Joao Carlos Teixeira. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Despite the title, the kids are not all shite. It’s just a coping mechanism to keep wicked hope at bay because I’m mentally weak. The fact is some of the kids look very, very good.

Only the most curmudgeon of souls couldn’t have failed to have had their spirits lifted by the enthusiasm and endeavour of the young whippersnappers against Preston North End at the weekend. They charged around, they injected energy; they metaphorically waved their hands in the air and shouted, “Look at me Brendan, look at me!” I love those little try-hard scamps. They changed the game and they looked good.

But the kids have always looked good haven’t they? And particularly in pre-season.

Whether you are 14 or 84 there has always been at least one name bandied around; a kid on the fringes who could make it. Even in recent lean times, everyone believed in someone.  In the 15 or so years between the emergence of the teenage Gerrard and the teenage Sterling though, the wheat has defiantly clung to the chaff, no cream has rose to the top and the floor of the Mersey is littered with sunken teenage boys who forgot to swim.

Take a random sample of the young players from Saturday’s game and the cruel reality made is that if even one ‘makes it’ this will be something exceptional, not the rule. Names like Ibe, Peterson, Adorjan, Rossiter, Jones and Phillips no matter how promising you may think them will barely be footnotes in our history. Add them to Welsh, Darby, Nemeth and Hammill.

Surely Ibe will make it though…

 Liverpool's Kristoffer Peterson looks dejected after missing a late chance against Manchester United during the Under 21 FA Premier League Semi-Final match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It’s a very subjective and unscientific business when concluding if a player who has come through the ranks or has been bought relatively young ‘made it’ or has been a ‘success’. You have to draw your line in the sand somewhere. I sense the comments section angrily being populated with the name of successes between the emergence of Gerrard and Sterling I’ve failed to mention. You might count Stephen Warnock. I don’t.

For me, my minimum benchmark would be the peanut headed and likeable man-child known as Danny Murphy. Not an academy player and still one who divides opinion among Liverpool fans. He was, however, a young player who undeniably sustained a career and had an impact. He established himself in the first team at Liverpool, significantly contributed to a period of success in the treble winning season and when he left Liverpool he continued to carve out a career in the Premier League with Tottenham Hotspurs and Fulham. He wasn’t simply a journeyman and was fundamental to Fulham escaping the drop under Hughes in 2012.

Any more like that in recent years? Not that I can recall.

It seems that the writing is on wall when it’s been there long enough that the weeds can grow around it. For me, Suso, Coady, Robinson and Kelly need to do something very drastic, very quickly if they’re to have a future at Liverpool. For young lads they’ve been round an awful long time and there’s more than just a whiff of the Daniel Pachecos about them all. Look up Pachecoitis in the dictionary and it says:

‘an infliction resulting in the unwavering belief that this could be the year for a young player who has had more pre-seasons than you have had hot dinners, who multiple managers haven’t fancied and who isn’t actually 17 anymore but is 42. When the name is applied to writing it is always followed by the word loan. Always.’

 David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

There is of course the rare antidote to Pachecoitis called Flanagan’s Brew.

It’s hard to accept that such players won’t make the grade because we’ve invested emotionally in them. Plenty of us have pinned our hopes on a young player only to take the blindfold off and see we’ve simply pinned a tail on the donkey.

Everyone enjoys putting all their shiny LFC credential-eggs in a slightly gangly adolescent basket. Why wouldn’t we? It’s a low risk, high return game to play. Stick your neck on the line and proclaim without a hint of doubt that Rossiter will be the one who makes it.

Get it right and you can call your self the next Geoff Twentyman and get ‘I told you so’ tattooed across your chest. Get it wrong and you take your pick of excuses: he ‘did’ have the potential but wasted it, the club let him down or he wasn’t given a chance. Much more likely though is no one will remember the player, no one will remember what you said, and you can brush it under the carpet. Ssshhh.

I’m still convinced Stephen Wright can make it. Half of you don’t even know who he is. Honestly, he could have. Many of you don’t remember him. Point proven.

When these young players leave there is always the nagging feeling that we might have missed a trick and we’ll regret the decision. Most recently, this has been the case as players like Tom Ince and Alex Kacaniklic put in a string of decent performances at Blackpool and Fulham respectively.

But again, the reality is they don’t go on to great things. They might fashion a respectable lower league career for themselves. They may score the odd revenge goal. But they never end up with one of our peers as a resounding success.

But this batch. There’s some really good ones in there. Better than we’ve had previously? Maybe it’s all about to change.

This is dangerous talk. The kids rarely make it. They are rarely are good enough. It’s easier to cope by pretending the kids are all shite…

…except Ibe.

And Peterson has scored two in two…

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Kop season ticket holder and editor of @WeAre_Liverpool Fanzine. Born into a family of Reds. Married into another family of Reds. Have spawned more Reds. Writing entirely from a fan's persepective about all aspects of LFC. Love a good metaphor. Follow on Twitter:

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Roma Players Liverpool Could Look to Sign this Summer

Ср, 23/07/2014 - 14:32

Liverpool’s first opponents on their US tour are Serie A club AS Roma. Jack Lusby selects three players to keep an eye out for.

 Liverpool take on AS Roma during a pre-season friendly match at Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox, the second match of the Reds' North American tour. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

With Liverpool’s USA pre-season tour set to commence on Thursday morning (00.30am UK time) with a mouth-watering tie against Italian side AS Roma, Reds manager Brendan Rodgers could do worse than turning transfer attentions towards some of the talents on show.

Under new manager Rudi Garcia, the Serie A side followed a similar trajectory as Rodgers’ side—with no European competition, Roma stormed to second in the Italian top division.

This was despite losing arguably their brightest talent in Erik Lamela, who departed in an ill-fated £30 million move to Premier League also-rans Spurs.

Garcia has brought together an impressive squad, and here are three targets Liverpool should look at signing during this contest.

Medhi Benatia

Moroccan centre-back Medhi Benatia moved to Roma from fellow Serie A side Udinese last summer, and proved one of the signings of the season, Europe-wide.

The 27-year-old made 32 starts under Garcia last season, scoring five goals and helping keep 18 clean sheets—a phenomenal return for any defensive player, and the main reason behind Roma’s success in 2013/14.

According to Squawka, the Moroccan international made on average 10 defensive actions per game last season, including a total of 219 clearances, 90 interceptions and 20 blocks.

Furthermore, an average passing accuracy of 89 per cent shows the defender’s composure in possession—a vital trait within Rodgers’ side.

Comfortable on the ball, and adept both in reading the game and in defensive situations, Benatia is a complete central defender.

Prising the defender from Garcia’s hands, however, may prove a tough task.

Reports, via the Daily Express, quote the Frenchman as claiming “Mehdi is under contract and will play with Roma this season. Tomorrow Benatia will play against Liverpool,” following interest from Spurs, Manchester United and Chelsea.

However, a player of the calibre of Benatia—a right-footed centre-back, no less—should demand no stone be left unturned this transfer window.

Kevin Strootman

Another player central to Garcia’s success with Roma last season is fellow summer acquisition Kevin Strootman, who joined the Serie A side from PSV Eindhoven.

The Dutchman was unfortunate to miss his country’s World Cup contention through injury, and would have provided a much-needed resource in the centre of midfield for Louis van Gaal’s side.

With Steven Gerrard likely to play a reduced role this season, Emre Can still developing and Lucas Leiva set to depart if the offer arises, 24-year-old Strootman could fill any void for Rodgers.

Last season, the midfielder made 25 Serie A appearances for Roma, scoring five goals and making six assists.

Primarily a defensive midfielder, the Dutchman is hugely adept with the ball at his feet, and Squawka show that the midfielder boasted an average passing accuracy of 88 per cent last season, and Strootman’s 47 chances created were the fourth highest of Garcia’s squad.

Furthermore, according to WhoScored, the midfielder made on average 3.3 tackles per game in 2013/14, acting as a solid defensive base for Roma.

Another player tempting the Premier League, with The Guardian reporting Manchester United’s interest, Strootman would be a difficult transfer to engineer, but one very much worth it.

Miralem Pjanic

 AS Roma's Miralem Pjanic in action against Liverpool during a pre-season friendly match at Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox, the second match of the Reds' North American tour. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Despite Bosnia and Herzegovina’s dismal World Cup, Roma playmaker Miralem Pjanic stood out as one of the top performers of the group stages at this year’s tournament.

According to the Daily Mail, against Argentina the midfielder “was the only Bosnian to complete more than 90 per cent of his passes and he created four chances for his team-mates, the most in his team.”

“Only Lionel Messi was able to match that amount of creativity.”

Joining Roma in 2011, the 24-year-old has become central to the Serie A side’s success in recent years, operating as the primary creative outlet.

In 35 league appearances last season, Pjanic scored six goals and made a further six assists.

Pjanic was Roma’s most creative player last season, with Squawka showing the midfielder as having created 72 chances for his teammates—only Luis Suarez (87) made more for Liverpool in 2013/14.

What’s more, an average of 2.1 tackles per game—from a No. 10 position, no less—proves that the midfielder is happy to help with defensive work, an important facet of Rodgers’ Liverpool system.

The Reds may be heavily-loaded in the midfield, with a plethora of creative options, but Pjanic is a talent worth keeping an eye on.

Which Roma players would you like to see at Liverpool next season? Let us know in the comments below.

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Preview: Liverpool vs AS Roma

Втр, 22/07/2014 - 22:00

Liverpool play the first match of their USA tour in the early hours of Thursday morning (00.30 UK) when they take on Italian side AS Roma at Fenway Park.


Brendan Rodgers’ men visit Boston, home of club owners Fenway Sports Group, for the second time in three seasons where they’ll play Roma in the first of four games on their USA trip, which also includes matches against AC Milan, Manchester City and Olympiakos.

Liverpool faced Roma two years ago as the Reds embarked on a first pre-season trip to the United States under FSG, a game in which the Italians ran out 2-1 winners at Fenway Park, the same venue in which the fixture will be played on Thursday morning.

Charlie Adam scored for Liverpool ten minutes from time that day for Rodgers’ side, grabbing a consolation goal after Michael Bradley and Alessandro Florenzi handed Roma a 2-0 lead.

Team News

Brendan Rodgers has named a large but highly talented 33-man squad for the pre-season trip which features all of the returning World Cup participants except Mamadou Sakho and Simon Mignolet, who will join the tour at a slightly later date instead due to a prolonged World Cup campaign.

The Reds will depart for the United States on Sunday afternoon (July 20). They’ll later be joined by Sakho and Mignolet in Chicago. #lfc

— Total LFC (@TheTotalLFC) July 17, 2014

All of the current new signings are included and will feature for Liverpool on the tour which will see Adam Lallana commence his Liverpool duties along with fellow newcomer Lazar Markovic, who was present at the Reds last outing at Preston but didn’t feature in the match.

The opening tour fixture is set to come too early for transfer targets Loic Remy and Dejan Lovren, even though reports continue to indicate that deals for both players are close to being finalised, with French striker Remy flying out to join up with the Liverpool party to undergo a medical.

With the fixture being the first of the trip and senior players back in the fold, the match is once again likely to see Rodgers utilise the depth of the squad available and use a whole host of players throughout the 90 minutes, as he eases the international players and new signings into the set-up.

However, while the senior players settle back in to proceedings, the exciting Jordon Ibe and Kristoffer Peterson will be looking to carry on their impressive early pre-season form as they hope to force their way into the managers’ immediate thoughts for the season ahead.

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

All of the squad appear injury free and at Rodgers’ disposal for the friendly but new midfield enforcer Emre Can, who has missed training in Boston, is set to miss the game after being withdrawn just 20 minutes into his first Liverpool outing at Deepdale last Saturday.

Plus, I was of course talking absolute cobblers when I said earlier Emre Can wasn’t on the tour. He just didn’t train this morning. — James Pearce (@JamesPearceEcho) July 21, 2014

It’s unlikely that any of the World Cup players will be involved in the match, definitely not from the start, given that they only started training on Monday.

The Opposition

Manager Rudi Garcia, who joined the club in June 2013, guided Roma to their best league season in four years in his debut season in charge, setting a new record points total for the club and finishing runners-up in Serie A, therefore qualifying automatically for the oncoming Champions League group stage.

The Giallorossi squad features house-hold names throughout such as Francesco Totti and Danielle De Rossi and also boasts a number of familiar names to Premier League followers including ex-Arsenal man, Gervinho, former Man City right back, Maicon, ex-Fulham full back, Urby Emanuelson as well as two previously linked and reported Liverpool targets Kevin Strootman and recently signed ex-Chelsea left back, Ashley Cole.

 AS Roma's Miralem Pjanic in action against Liverpool during a pre-season friendly match at Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox, the second match of the Reds' North American tour. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Garcia’s team also consists of some top European talent alongside the senior squad figures, including Adam Ljajic, Miralem Pjanic and exciting new signing Juan Manuel Iturbe, who joined last week from Verona for a reported £17.4million and the Argentine could make his first appearance in a Roma shirt in the match.

The game, which will be shown live on BT Sport, also represents the first of four pre-season tour fixtures for Roma, who also take on Manchester United, Inter Milan and Real Madrid.

Match Details

Wednesday, 23rd July, 7.30pm (Eastern Time, USA) / Thursday, 24th July 00.30am (BST, UK)

TV: BT Sport (UK) / NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra (USA)

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Why Gerrard’s England retirement is good news for Liverpool

Втр, 22/07/2014 - 21:05

Steven Gerrard announced his international retirement on Monday, following 14 years in an England shirt. Henry Jackson explains exactly why this decision is great news for Liverpool next season.

Jamie Carragher reacts to Steven Gerrard’s international retirement

Since the turn of the century, Steven Gerrard has been an England player. That was until Monday, when the 34-year-old decided to hang up his boots at international level and concentrate solely on Liverpool.

He may never quite have hit the consistent heights that he has produced in a Reds shirt, but there hasn’t been a more committed, passionate performer in a Three Lions shirt over the last 14 years.

Gerrard’s decision is an extremely positive one for Liverpool, as it allows the skipper a number of crucial rest periods throughout the season now. At his age that is crucial.

He no longer has to deal with the strain and expectation of being England captain- he looked extremely jaded in Brazil- and with Champions League football returning to Anfield he has enough on his plate with Liverpool.

Steven Gerrard no longer has to play for fans who routinely take the piss out of him during the season. Good.

— Sachin Nakrani (@SachinNakrani) July 21, 2014

With age not on his side, it would have been mad for Gerrard to lead Roy Hodgson’s side into another assault on a major tournament. It was the perfect time to call it a day.

You only have to look at several other truly great England players who retired from international duty in order to prolong their club careers.

Reds legend Jamie Carragher called it a day at the age of 32, following the 2010 World Cup, deciding that it was pointless sitting on the England bench when he could be at home preparing for Liverpool matches.

You have to wonder whether Carragher would have enjoyed such a terrific resurgence in form in his final season at Anfield had he carried on playing for England.

Alan Shearer and Paul Scholes, unquestionably two of the finest English players of their generation, weren’t even 30 when they played their final game for the Three Lions in 2000 and 2004, respectively.

Both went on to play Premier League football for years, remaining key players during that time. It seems highly unlikely that they would have been as effective for so long had they kept playing internationally.

The same applies to Ryan Giggs, although admittedly playing for Wales wasn’t nearly as stressful or frequent as representing England.

Good decision by Steven Gerrard, 114 caps great servant for England.

— Jamie Carragher (@Carra23) July 21, 2014

2014/15 Fixtures

You only have to look at England’s 2014/15 fixture schedule to see how full-on Gerrard’s campaign would have been had he stayed on as England captain.

The Premier League season will be just a couple of weeks old when England start their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign.

A friendly with Norway (3rd September) and then their opening qualifier away to Switzerland (8th September) would have represented a needless distraction for Gerrard, who will instead have two weeks off between Liverpool’s trip to Tottenham (31st August) and the visit of Aston Villa (13th September).

The Champions League group stage also starts three days after the Villa match, which Gerrard is sure to play a pivotal part in.

The Three Lions then reconvene a month later for clashes with San Marino (9th October) and Estonia (12th October), which are sandwiched between a visit to West Brom (4th October) and a home game against newly-promoted QPR (19th October) for the Reds. The third group game of the Champions League will take place a few days later too.

A qualifier against Slovenia (15th November) at Wembley and a friendly away to Scotland (18th November) follow, and if Gerrard were still playing for England he would have to tackle a very tricky schedule around that time.

Prior to those two England games Liverpool entertain Chelsea (8th November) in a huge game that holds unhappy memories for the Reds skipper, before an equally haunting trip to Crystal Palace (23rd November) awaits following the Scotland game.

Selhurst Park is an extremely tough place to visit, as Liverpool found out all too painfully last season, and the last thing Brendan Rodgers would want for a physical game like this is a jaded Gerrard following two weeks of gruelling England duty.

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

It’s also worth noting that the penultimate group game of the Champions League is just a few days after the Palace game as well, which has every chance of being crucial for Liverpool.

England don’t play again until March, when they entertain Lithuania (27th March), and by this point the domestic season really will be at its business end.

On the Saturday before that game at Wembley, the Reds host Manchester United (21st March) in what is historically Liverpool’s biggest game of the season.

Then, the weekend after, Rodgers’ men travel to the Emirates to face an Arsenal side likely to be battling with Liverpool somewhere near the top of the table by that point in the campaign.

Whereas Gerrard would have had to report for international duty previously, between two huge league games, he will now have two weeks to recharge his batteries.

In total, the 34-year-old will avoid seven England games during the 2014/15 season, allowing himself four different sets of two-week breaks. That makes a huge difference for any 34-year-old at the top level.

The 114-time capped midfielder’s decision to end his international career should ensure he remains an integral part of Rodgers’ plans well into his 30s, emulating the likes of Carragher, Shearer, Scholes and Giggs in the process.

It’s terrific news for everyone associated with Liverpool Football Club.

How long do you think Steven Gerrard will remain a Liverpool player for? Let us know in the comments section.

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Scout Report: Javier Manquillo

Втр, 22/07/2014 - 20:52

Liverpool are reportedly pursuing a deal for another transfer target – this time Javier Manquillo of Atletico Madrid. Ben Twelves takes a look at the Spanish defender. 

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Reports on Tuesday afternoon claimed that Liverpool are in talks over the possibility of completing a deal to sign Spanish right-back Javier Manquillo from Atletico Madrid from under the noses of fellow suitors, Arsenal.

Liverpool had previously been reported to have attempted to sign Manquillo back in the January transfer window.

As reported in the Spanish media today, Liverpool are in for Atletico Madrid’s Javier Manquillo. Hoping to get him on a season long loan.

— Tony Barrett (@TonyBarretTimes) July 22, 2014

The Liverpool Echo revealed that talks are at an early stage, suggesting that a reported ‘try before you buy’ deal isn’t as close as some national media and reports from Spain propose however.

Several reports say that the potential signing of the Spaniard is on a possible year-long loan deal with an option to purchase the player permanently if all goes to plan. Spanish media claim that future fee for a permanent transfer is around €6 million.

#LFC & Atletico Madrid have agreed a 2 year loan for #Manquillo. Option to buy for €6m –

— LFCZA (@LFCZA) July 22, 2014

Brendan Rodgers has already added offensive quality to his squad this transfer window bringing in four players, but much needed defensive reinforcements are yet to arrive at Anfield. However, it seems that the 20-year-old right back could well be a new addition in the defensive shake up and one of the next players in the door at Anfield.

Footballing Background

Born in 1994, Manquillo started his football career at the academy set-up of giants Real Madrid, but he then later signed for city rivals and current Spanish champions, Atletico. The full back has represented Spain at all ages from under 16s to under 20s but is yet to feature for either the under 21s or national team. He was part of the Spanish under 19s squad that won the European Under19 Championship in 2012.

Manquillo has featured primarily for Atletico Madrid’s ‘B’ side while at the club, where he has racked up 42 appearances but he’s also played 17 times for the Atletico first team. The Madrid born prospect made his La Liga debut in November 2012 at the age of 18, where he came on as a second half substitute for Chelsea new-boy, Felipe Luis.

In what was a magnificent season for Atletico last campaign, as they were crowned Champions of Spain, Manquillo made three league appearances as manager Diego Simeone nurtured a tightly-knitted squad, and one Champions League outing against Porto in the group stage of the competition.

Style of Play

Manquillo is a natural right back – a position that has become a problem area at Liverpool in recent seasons.

The 20-year-old is noted for his defensive stability that coincides with his attacking prowess and marauding forward runs. The under 20 international possesses great athleticism and is quick across the ground as well as being noted for his tackling ability – key attributes for defenders in modern football and especially in 1v1 situations.

@LFCZA Manquillo: fairly tough, quick, real quality on ball. Has played in midfield before too. Good recovery speed, delivers ball well.

— David (@davidjaca) July 22, 2014

He is a brave defender, who closes his opponents’ space extremely sharply and looks to win the ball back quickly, hunting and chasing the ball down when in the right areas to regain possession. This is reflected in his making of 4.7 tackles and winning of 3.7 ariel duels per game, which outshines Glen Johnson, who last season made only 2.2 tackles and won only 1.4 of his ariel duels per game in the Premier League.

As with modern full-backs, Manquillo is extremely capable of bursting forward and attacking space – carrying the ball by dribbling – and he marauds forward from deep to get in behind opposition defensive lines. This is best displayed in an assist that the pacey right-back claimed against Levante  – arriving from deep and getting in behind – before rolling a teasing ball across the face of goal which was knocked home by teammate Adrian at the back post.

 Liverpool tried to sign Atletico Madrid’s Javier Manquillo on deadline day

The 5’10 defender is a composed player who looks to keep possession off the ball. He likes to play short and into his teammates feet, but his pass completion rate per game of 72.6% needs improving and compares considerably worse off than Johnson’s of 84.1%. However, with the work of our manager that can be improved and the youngster certainly has characteristics that would undoubtedly appeal to Brendan Rodgers.

Joining Liverpool

The right-back slot in the Liverpool team is a position that has seen frustration increase over time with sustained periods of sloppy form from Glen Johnson, with his contract expiring next summer, Manquillo could be the future for The Reds.

A deal for the Atletico Madrid man is likely to prove a fairly cheap one for the club and it makes perfect to sense to bring him in for the little cost reported, in a position where Liverpool have everything to gain.

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Win the new Liverpool home shirt!

Втр, 22/07/2014 - 19:28

We’ve teamed up with new interactive football mobile app Gliff to offer one lucky winner the brand new Liverpool home shirt.

Football - Liverpool FC Preseason Tour 2014 - Preston North End FC v Liverpool FC

The Reds have been donning the new shirt this pre-season, and now here’s your chance to own one too.

Screen Shot 2014-07-22 at 14.01.47A little about Gliff first of all. Let’s talk football – The funniest footy pics, chat and rumours you can find.

This great app takes what you want to say and lets you set the background to a relevant pic. It gets creative and funny pretty quickly, and there’s plenty to chat about.

The guys at Gliff have put up a Liverpool shirt for one lucky Reds fan to start the new season with.

To win you just need to tell them, us and the world “What makes LFC the best club in the world?” via the Gliff app.

Download the app, hit create, and tell us what makes LFC the greatest by using #LFC.

Download Gliff: applegoogle

The best reason is the winner!

Competition closes on Tuesday, 5th August 2014. Good luck!

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Report: Liverpool set to beat Arsenal to Spanish ace

Втр, 22/07/2014 - 19:23

Liverpool will beat Arsenal to the signing of Spanish left-back Javier Manquillo, according to reports on Tuesday.

The 20-year-old defender look set to leave Atletico Madrid after making just three appearances in La Liga last season.

Nevertheless Manquillo is highly rated in his homeland, having recently become a regular for Spain’s under-20 national side.

Sky Sports report that Manquillo could cost Liverpool around £10 million and that Brendan Rodgers hopes to have the deal tied up soon.

However, the Liverpool Echo “understands a deal to take Manquillo to Anfield remains some way off with talks still an early stage.”

Manquillo had been a target of Arsenal’s recently, with the North London side reportedly keen on a season-long loan deal with a view for a permanent move next summer.

Liverpool are looking to provide more strength in their left-back area with doubts over the fitness of Jose Enrique, who spent most of last season out injured.

The Reds do hope to complete three new signings this week however, bringing this summer’s transfer tally up to seven.

French striker Loic Remy, Croatian defender Dejan Lovren and Belgian forward Divock Origi are all expected to join the club’s training camp in Boston to complete their moves.

Liverpool take on Roma in a friendly at Fenway Park on Wednesday (12.30 am Thursday UK).

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Watch: Liverpool Ladies beat Bristol Academy

Втр, 22/07/2014 - 15:37

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Rush and Fowler join LFC Foundation at Boston Camp

Втр, 22/07/2014 - 13:14

Reds legends Ian Rush and Robbie Fowler joined LFC’s charity, Liverpool FC Foundation, on a visit to a summer camp in Boston on Monday.

Image courtesy of Liverpool FC.

The Club Ambassadors were on hand to help coaches from the Foundation deliver a series of football coaching sessions to 400 local children at Camp Harbor View.

This is a return visit for Liverpool FC Foundation, who originally visited the camp in 2012 as part of the Club’s 2012 pre-season tour of North America.

Camp Harbor View, which has been operating for seven years, offers children aged 11-14 living in Boston’s at-risk neighbourhoods the opportunity to leave the city during the day and participate in a four-week summer camp programme.

The coaching sessions are part of the Foundations’ International Programme, which provides unique opportunities to a diverse range of individuals and community groups across the world. With support from Global partners the programme aims to establish a legacy in every country it visits by providing professional coaching clinics and educational workshops.

Once again the sessions were a big success with campers eager to learn how to play ‘The Liverpool Way.’

The Club’s mascot, Mighty Red joined in with the fun alongside Foundation trustee Linda Pizzuti Henry.

Image courtesy of Liverpool FC.

Mark Haig, Head of Operations at Liverpool FC Foundation said “The Foundation is proud to support Camp Harbor View, which is a fantastic facility that delivers great initiatives for local young people in Boston.

“Their ethos mirrors ours and I hope that we will work together again in the near future.”

Cara Gould, Camp Director, added: “The kids think they are so special because this amazing team that is world renowned came to spend time with them. It’s fabulous.

“The kids come here and we try to expose them to new opportunities. Some things are a hard sell. But when you bring Liverpool out, everyone is like: ‘OK, I’ll try soccer today’.

“Some of the kids find that they actually love it, that they are better at it than they thought or the coaches teach them some skills they didn’t know they had. All of a sudden, it’s a new opportunity that they may end up pursuing.”

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A tale of three summers: It’s all about the science

Втр, 22/07/2014 - 13:02

Jeff Goulding recalls the nightmares of pre-season past – but you don’t know how good or bad it will be until the season is in full swing.

 The Paisley Gateway outside the Spion Kop at Liverpool Football Club's Anfield home. The gates are a tribute to the most successful manager in English football history, Bob Paisley OBE, who managed the Merseyside club from 1974-1983. (Pic by Dan Istitene/Propaganda)

I love science me. I get excited by the unexpected and bizarre avenues it can take me down. I love the fact that apparently random and chaotic symbols on a chalk board can describe the world and everything in it; even though they are like hieroglyphs to me.

I am often perplexed and amazed by them. Rumour has it the Liverpool squad felt the same way, about Roy Hodgson’s tactical scribbles.

Science also tells us that when we gaze at star light, we are often looking at celestial objects that are no longer there. It takes the light so long to reach us from these distant bodies that the source has often winked out before it hits our eyes. Amazing huh?

Our players’ Brazilian odyssey felt a bit like that for me. By the time I got round to watching them, their hopes had already vanished from view. Never mind.

The problem for me though, is that my brain isn’t really equipped for the heavy mathematics that goes into working all of this stuff out.  I might know that E=MC2, but I couldn’t tell you how Einstein got there. It’s the weird theoretical stuff that really floats my boat.

I love those crazy thought experiments that just blow your mind, like if a player falls down in the box and he’s not a foreigner; is it really a dive? We may never know the answer, but doesn’t it make you think?

Then there’s the Daddy of them all, the ‘Schrödinger’s Cat Paradox.’ Stick with me here; you’ll see what I mean soon honest.

Erwin Schrödinger suggested that if you trap a cat in a box with some poison, you can’t know if it’s alive or dead until you open the lid. In fact he went further and said that it is the act of opening that lid that forces the cat into one of the two states.

It’s actually far more complicated than that and I’m hoping no actual scientists are reading this. Anyway, the point is that it’s because of the musings of this Austrian physicist in the 1930’s that I love this part of pre–season.

You see, to me, Liverpool right now are just like that moggy trapped with the poison. It’s only when we open the lid and get a look at them in action; that our season becomes either alive or dead.

Until then there is just as much chance that we will be champions come May, as there is of us enduring another trophy less ‘lap of honour’.

To be honest though, this summer’s optimism feels a little less theoretical. Even for me, one of footballs eternal optimists, this is the first time in 20 years that I can see some evidence that we might actually push on.

Of course we have been here before. Three times in the last fourteen years to be precise. In terms of how we managed that important ‘next step,’ history doesn’t bode well. We begin our analysis in the summer of 2002.

This was a world cup year. Kopites had gone into the summer basking in a second place finish. It represented yet more progress under Gerard Houllier, who had followed up the treble season by finishing just seven points adrift of Arsenal and pushing United into third. We were standing on the brink of history, or so it seemed.

 Liverpool's (l-r) Djimi Traore, Bruno Cheyrou and Anthony Le Tallec line up to face Thailand before a preseason friendly match at the Rajamangala National Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

When it comes to transfer windows, Liverpool has had its share of turkeys. However this one, for me, was the mother of them all. This was the window that brought us Bruno Cheyrou. He was heralded as the new Zidane. He wasn’t.

Liverpool signed six players in total that summer. Between them they managed 178 appearance and just 10 goals. This included Alou Diarra. Remember him? If you don’t, you can be forgiven because he didn’t manage a single appearance in a Liverpool shirt.

The following season was sadly the beginning of the end for Gerard. Despite defeating the ‘Mancs’ to lift the League Cup, there was familiar gloom in the league. From finishing 7 point s short the ear before we now languished in 5th, 19 points adrift of champions United.

You can’t keep us down for long though. You don’t need to be a scientist to recognise where the cream always ends up and in 2009 we came dam close again. What a season of contrasts that was, full of Infuriating draws and sublime victories. Two draws and four points dropped against Stoke robbed us of number nineteen.

The football we played in the second half of that season meant that, once again, we jetted into the summer with high hopes. What we couldn’t have legislated for was ruinous effect of the ownership problems and political infighting. There was to be no silver linings.

This was the summer of Alonso and Aquilani. It was also the transfer window that saw our central defensive lynchpin leave. Of all the players that joined that summer, only Glen Johnson remains. Aquilani managed only 1 goal and 18 appearances.

 Liverpool's new signing Alberto Aquilani, who joins the club from Italian side AS Roma, with manager Rafael Benitez during a photo-call at Melwood Training Ground. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The following season our fall from grace was astonishing in the context of the highs we had experienced under Rafa. With the team in 7th place and 23 points adrift, the writing was on the wall for our Spanish manager.

So here we are again. After a season in which the title came so close we could taste it, we are once again riding a wave of optimism. Is history about to repeat its self? Or are we on the thresh-hold of a momentous breakthrough?

For me the club seems to have learned from the mistakes of the past. Einstein said madness was doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

This summer I am genuinely excited that the club are finally ‘going for it.’ They seem to recognise what a golden opportunity this is for us to crack on. Our activity in the transfer window has been swift, decisive and for once successful. One by one the targets have been hit and there are more to come. Finally all seems harmonious off the field too.

 Liverpool's manager Brendan Rodgers during a preseason friendly match against Brøndby at Brøndby Stadion. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The fact that I feel so optimistic, even in the face of losing our star player, tells its own story. The progress the club is making is far from theoretical. There is hard evidence all around for me.

Of course we won’t know if I am right until we lift the lid on the 2014-15 season. That’s the beauty of the now, according to Schrödinger anyway.

Yes the detractors will paint this as yet another Liverpool fan saying “next year is going to be our year.” Our rivals may seem like immovable objects but I’ll quote another scientist in reply.

Archimedes said there was no such thing as an immovable object. You just need a good place to stand and you can move the earth. This summer we look to be in a very favourable position to me and we don’t need to move a world, only Manchester City.

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I am a proud Scouser, who has been following the Reds and living the dream for over forty years. I write fiction and non fiction, and I am working on my first novel.

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Steven Gerrard’s Top 10 England Goals

Втр, 22/07/2014 - 12:12

Steven Gerrard has decided to focus his attention solely on Liverpool for the rest of his career, following his retirement from England duty on Monday. Henry Jackson selects the 34-year-old’s 10 greatest goals for his country.

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

Steven Gerrard has brought the curtain down on his international career, retiring from England duty having given 14 years of great service in a Three Lions shirt.

The 34-year-old Liverpool legend made his England debut in 2000, against Ukraine, and went on to make 114 appearances. Only Peter Shilton and David Beckham have more.

Although Gerrard never quite hit the staggering heights he has in a Reds shirt for England, he still produced some memorable moments. Here are his top 10 England goals; what would be your number one?

10. ENGLAND vs Poland- 2013

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It may not have been the prettiest goal of Gerrard’s England career, but this strike ensured the Three Lions qualified for the 2014 World Cup.

Having played the whole game in defensive midfield, his one foray forward resulted in a goal, with the captain forcing his way through before lifting the ball over Arsenal’s Wojciech Szczesny.

9. Andorra vs ENGLAND (First goal)- 2007

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With England embarrassingly failing to break down minnows Andorra, Gerrard’s perfectly executed strike eased the nerves to put his side into the lead.

He would score an even better effort shortly after.

8. ENGLAND vs Moldova- 2013

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A routine victory for Roy Hodgson’s side over Moldova at Wembley last year saw the captain give England the lead with a trademark long-range effort.

Frank Lampard’s lay-off found Gerrard, who drilled a terrific shot into the bottom corner from 30 yards.

7. ENGLAND vs Hungary (1st goal)- 2010

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Not for the first time in his long England career, Gerrard came to his country’s rescue with them struggling against inferior opposition.

With Hungary leading 1-0 at Wembley, the then 30-year-old fired home an unstoppable shot to bring the Three Lions level. More was to come.

6. Andorra vs ENGLAND (2nd goal)- 2007

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Gerrard had already given England the lead early in the second-half against a stubborn Andorra side, and this fabulously worked effort doubled their lead.

The Reds hero played two one-twos in and around the penalty area, before calmly stroking the ball home to finish off a brilliant move.


5. ENGLAND vs Trinidad & Tobago- 2006

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Gerrard’s first ever World Cup goal, back in 2006, was a screamer, and came just a month or so after his match-winning performance in the FA Cup final triumph over West Ham.

With England 1-0 up thanks to fellow Red Peter Crouch’s goal, Gerrard thundered a left-footed shot into the top corner to seal victory for Sven-Goran Eriksson’s side.

4. ENGLAND vs Macedonia- 2002

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With Gerrard’s England career still in its infancy back in 2002, he continued to enhance his reputation as the most talented midfielder in the country with a great strike.

The young Gerrard, then 22, took the ball down on his chest before firing a superb volley straight past Macedonia’s helpless goalkeeper.

3. Austria vs ENGLAND- 2004

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This goal has real echoes of a goal Gerrard would score four years later for Liverpool against Marsielle in a Champions League clash.

Gerrard saw the ball laid back into his path by former Liverpool striker Michael Owen, and he whipped a magnificent effort into the back of the net.

2.Germany vs ENGLAND- 2001

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Perhaps Gerrard’s most famous ever goal in an England shirt, this was also his first for his country on an unforgettable evening.

With the scores level at 1-1, 21-year-old Gerrard rifled a stunning effort past Oliver Kahn to put Eriksson’s men 2-1 up at the home of great rivals Germany.

It was to prove the pivotal goal of the night, and a Liverpool-inspired England went on to win 5-1.

1. ENGLAND vs Hungary (Second goal)- 2010

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This goal may not be a marauding, inspirational effort or a long-range stunner that we have become so used to seeing from Gerrard over the years, but the technical brilliance shown makes it his best ever for England in my book.

Having been found by Ashley Young inside the area, a superb ‘Cruyff Turn’ and quick feet in a tight area saw him evade several Hungary players before poking the ball home.

It proved to be the winning goal, having already dragged his side level earlier on in proceedings.

Gerrard is not always praised as much for his natural ability as he should be, and this goal perfectly summed up the genius in his boots.

What is your favourite Steven Gerrard goal for England? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Freelance football writer with an enormous passion and knowledge for the game. More importantly, LFC fanatic.

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