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Mon, 20/02/2017 - 03:14
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Categories: LFC NEWS

Flanagan struggles on unrewarding week for loanees – Liverpool FC Loan Watch

Sun, 19/02/2017 - 21:48

A poor performance in a rare outing for Jon Flanagan and an own-goal from Lloyd Jones summed up an unproductive week for most of Liverpool’s 13 loanees.

Flanagan was the only top-flight loanee to play this week, with Lazar Markovic and Mamadou Sakho enjoying a weekend off with Hull and Crystal Palace already out of the FA Cup.

Flanagan had a rare outing in Burnley’s rotated cup team, but it was one to forget as he produced an unimpressive display in the’ Clarets embarrassing cup exit to non-league Lincoln City.

 John Flanagan arrives ahead of Liverpools game against Burnley in the FA Premier League match at Turf Moore. (Pic by Gavin Trafford/Propaganda)

The 24-year-old played all of the shock defeat at left-back but failed to impress as he lacked athleticism and quality on the ball – but he was far from the only underperformer in a dire team showing from Sean Dyche’s men.

With tough-tackling defender clearly suffering from a lack of regular game time, you have to question whether the loan is actually benefitting either club or more importantly, Flanagan himself.

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Flanagan wasn’t the only struggler though, with Jones marking his return to Swindon’s lineup with two winless outings – the first of which saw the defender net an own-goal in a 2-1 loss at Northampton.

Positivity ? pic.twitter.com/pIV64Ie4Ry

— Lloyd Jones (@lloydjones51) February 17, 2017

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With Swindon 1-0 ahead, Jones sliced an attempted clearance when defending the near-post into the far corner of his net, putting the home side 1-0 up and on course for victory which capped off a miserable evening for the 20-year-old.

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Jones enjoyed an improved performance on Saturday however, helping Swindon to a clean sheet in a goalless draw against Oldham.

The young centre-back turned in a much better defensive display, showing impressive bravery to throw his body on the line and make some important blocks in a tight contest.

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With Taiwo Awoniyi and Andre Wisdom unused substitutes at NEC Nijmegen and Red Bull Salzburg, and Allan Rodrigues uninvolved at Hertha Berlin, Pedro Chirivella was the only European loanee to play.

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A post shared by Pedro Chirivella Burgos (@pedroch68) on Feb 16, 2017 at 12:51pm PST

And the Spaniard provided a rare positive as he continued his good form at Go Ahead Eagles, despite being unable to prevent a 1-0 loss to Roda JC.

Chirivella played the full game in a central playmaking role where his passing range caught the eye as he orchestrated play, and he also showed a promising improvement in his competitiveness in defensive work.

Liverpool’s Championship duo enjoyed another positive if unproductive week, with Ryan Kent making an instant return to Barnsley’s starting XI to feature twice.

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 Liverpool's Ryan Kent in action against Wigan Athletic during a pre-season friendly match at the DW Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The left-winger played 85 minutes of an impressive 3-1 win at Aston Villa in midweek, providing a hard-working wide outlet even though he wasn’t able to add to his goals or assists tally.

Kent’s disciplined display saw him start Saturday’s clash with league leaders, Brighton, who beat Barnsley 2-0.

Despite defeat, Kent produced a brighter individual showing, delivering several dangerous balls into the box and featuring in some nice link-up play before he was withdrawn 10 minutes from time.

Danny Ward played only one of Huddersfield’s two fixtures but it proved a rewarding one as he helped the Terriers to another Yorkshire derby success, this time a 3-2 win over Rotherham.

 Wales Danny Ward in action against Northern Ireland during an International Friendly match at the Cardiff City Stadium. (Pic by Ian Cook/Propaganda)

The Welshman was in solid form as his team posted a fifth straight Championship victory, and he could do nothing about the goals conceded – beaten by a close-range header and thunderous strike from distance.

The league game proved Ward’s only action, with manager David Wagner, fielding a rotated lineup for Saturday’s FA Cup draw with Man City which saw Ward drop to the bench – showing that a strong league campaign is the main priority.

Back in the Football League, Cameron Brannagan made his full debut for Fleetwood in midweek, playing an hour of the Cod Army’s 2-1 win over Bradford.

? So it's a full debut for @Cameron246bran. All the best tonight, Cameron! ?? pic.twitter.com/DpN5Iuk9hH

— Fleetwood Town FC (@ftfc) February 14, 2017

Deployed on the left of a three-man centre, the technically-gifted midfielder was in tidy form before being withdrawn after an hour with his team trailing 1-0.

With Fleetwood going on to score twice to come from behind to win after Brannagan’s withdrawal, it seemed the academy product would drop to the bench for Saturday’s clash with MK Dons.

But Brannagan retained his place and played 55 minutes of a 1-0 win which saw the Cod Army extend their unbeaten run to an impressive 16 games.

The 20-year-old started on the right of a midfield trio but moved into the central position mid-way through the first-half, allowing him to enjoy greater influence as he used his passing range to gain control and start attacking moves from deep.

Jack Dunn made his second start for non-league neighbours, Tranmere, in a 2-0 win over Eastleigh on Saturday.

???? pic.twitter.com/MLIolBKN9T

— jack dunn (@Jack_Dunn8) February 19, 2017

The natural striker played again from a wide-left role, but he showed impressive versatility in a sharp performance in which he almost netted his first goal for the club – only to see his well-hit strike fly narrowly over.

Finally, Ryan Fulton missed both of Chesterfield’s games this week, reportedly down to still suffering with a virus.

Liverpool’s Loanees This Week
  • Markovic – Hull – N/A
  • Sakho – Crystal Palace – N/A
  • Flanagan – Burnley – Played 90mins vs. Lincoln
  • Wisdom – Salzburg – Unused sub vs. Ried
  • Ward – Huddersfield – Played 90mins vs. Rotherham & unused sub vs. Man City
  • Kent – Barnsley – Played 85mins vs. Aston Villa & 80mins vs. Brighton
  • Chirivella – Go Ahead Eagles – Played 90mins vs. Roda JC
  • Jones – Swindon – Played 90mins, scoring own-goal vs. Northampton & played 90mins vs. Oldham
  • Brannagan – Fleetwood – Played 60mins vs. Bradford & 55mins vs. MK Dons
  • Dunn – Tranmere – Played 84mins vs. Eastleigh
  • Fulton – Chesterfield – Missed two games due to illness
  • Awoniyi – NEC Nijmegen – Unused sub vs. PSV Eindhoven
  • Allan – Hertha Berlin – Uninvolved after recent return from international duty
Categories: LFC NEWS

Much-changed LFC U23s fall to late defeat against Derby

Sun, 19/02/2017 - 20:19

An inexperienced Liverpool Under-23s lost 2-1 to Derby County at the Kirkby academy on Sunday.

With the likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Connor Randall, Joe Gomez, Sheyi Ojo, Kevin Stewart, Yan Dhanda, Conor Masterson, Harry Wilson and Ben Woodburn all away with the first-team squad in Spain, U23s boss Mike Garrity was without most his regular players.

Liverpool went behind early in the second half but equalised when a Reds’ corner was cleared into Derby’s own net.

It looked like the home side would then go on to get the winner, but a sucker punch arrived in the 90th minute when Derby scored on a breakaway. A not unfamiliar story for the first-team last month.

With so many U23s’ regulars absent, it represented an opportunity for players such as Sam Hart, Kane Lewis, Matty Virtue, Jordan Williams and forwards Rhian Brewster, Toni Gomes and Madger Gomes.

Ultimately, it was a game lacking in quality, but will give invaluable experience to those young scholars on the periphery of the U23s squad.

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Liverpool U23s: Grabara, K Lewis (Johnston, 61), Hart, N Phillips, Whelan, J Williams, M Gomes, Virtue, T Gomes, Brewster, Alves (Brimmer, 46).

Unused subs: Kelleher, A Lewis.

Categories: LFC NEWS

Anfield Redevelopment: What’s still to come

Sun, 19/02/2017 - 19:36

While Anfield’s new Main Stand was officially opened in September, there’s still plenty of work being done on the wider regeneration of the stadium and the area.


New changing Rooms and internal areas

Work continues on the internal areas of the stand, with temporary changing rooms and media facilities in place at present.

Initially, these were due to be completed in January, but a new handover date of May is now pencilled in. So it could be next season until the players get to sample their new changing rooms.

The new changing rooms will feature USB and power points, with personalised, removable name panels. Some of the senior players were involved in the consultation of the design.

New changing rooms at Anfield will feature USB and power points, with personalised, removable name panels. Players gave feedback on designs. pic.twitter.com/n0k2fybCPe

— This Is Anfield (@thisisanfield) January 6, 2017

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Elsewhere, the initial plans were for a new club shop, but that will now be external (see below), meaning a large space is now available. This could possibly be a new car park for players – who currently park behind the Centenary Stand.

New Club Shop

New LFC Club Shop 2016

Rather than locate the new club shop inside the Main Stand, Liverpool have begun work on a new external club shop and cafe – similar to the one at Borussia Dortmund.

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The new store will be four times the size of the current shop, which is located within the Kop, and is due to be open early next season. A decision will then be made on what is done with the existing shop.

Anfield Stones

Anfield Stones, Klopp

Outside of the Main Stand, on 96 Avenue, there is work still to be done on the finishing touches, including the placement of ‘Anfield Stones’ – which fans have been able to purchase.

There’s also plans for granite benches to be added and artwork displaying some of the iconic moments and players from throughout Liverpool’s great history.

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The project is called “The Men who Built Anfield”, with the likes of Steven Gerrard, Kenny Dalglish, Bill Shankly and Bob Paisley to be commemorated, among others.

Walton Breck Road Regeneration

The new Main Stand is part of a wider regeneration plan for the area, and houses on Walton Breck Road continue to be demolished by the council as they work towards a radical transformation of the areas.

New shops, commercial units, homes and apartments are planned, as well as pedestrianised areas and a new vision for the high street itself.

New plans for the area outside the Main Stand / Kop on Walton Breck Road unveiled today. Changing face of Anfield. pic.twitter.com/T14Ar1oVlJ

— This Is Anfield (@thisisanfield) August 31, 2016

It should further transform the local area.

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New Hotel

As part of the regeneration, a “multi-million pound hotel” is planned for the area on the corner of the Kop and the Main Stand. It’s detailed as:

“The 100-bed hotel, once completed, would ensure that Anfield becomes a destination of choice for many visitors, who have the ability to stay in the area and explore the other facilities on offer, reintroducing revenue into the area and enabling it to remain sustainable.

A key part of the hotel will not only serve those people visiting the area but will also offer employment and training opportunities to the people of Anfield and across the wider city region.”

No dates or timescales have yet been announced regarding the hotel’s development.

Potential Anfield Road End Expansion

Anfield Road End Plans

Last, but certainly not least, is phase two of the overall stadium expansion – the redevelopment of the Anfield Road End, which would take the overall capacity to around 59,000.

Phase two has never had a planned start or completion date, but the club currently have outline planning permission, which has been in place since April 2014.

Liverpool always explained that a decision on the expansion of the Anfield Road End would be made once the Main Stand was complete and dependent upon factors at the time. That continues to be the case today.

The expiration date of the outline planning permission is September 2017, which means Liverpool have until then to submit a further application with more details on the design, or the outline approval would expire.

If Liverpool submit the additional application, they then have two years to commence building, meaning construction on the Anfield Road End would be needed to be started by late 2019 or earlier.

It would also see Anfield Road the road itself closed off, and the away fans moved back to the other corner of the stand, nearer to where the away coaches arrive on Arkles Lane.

Categories: LFC NEWS

Weekend rumours: Mario Gotze and Ben Chilwell links return

Sun, 19/02/2017 - 18:05

It’s a difficult time for the weekend newspapers, with no Liverpool action – so the Mirror have turned to two former targets to fill their column inches.

Saturday saw the Mirror’s Adrian Kajumba (no, we’ve no idea who he is either) claim Liverpool “are lining up a summer move for Borussia Dortmund’s World Cup winner Mario Gotze.”

He claims that Jurgen Klopp has had initial talks about a move for the player, who turned down a move to Anfield last summer and instead returned to Dortmund from Bayern Munich.

The 24-year-old has made just 11 league appearances for BVB this season, scoring once.

£20 million is the suggested price.

Whether Klopp is genuinely going to go back in for Gotze remains to be seen. Hopefully this summer he’ll have Champions League football to offer him.

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Not content with recycling the Gotze rumour on Saturday, the Mirror returned to another of Liverpool’s primary targets from last summer on Sunday, linking Leicester City left-back Ben Chilwell.

The Chilwell report comes from the ‘Football Spy’ giving it even less credibility than the Gotze one.

It’s claimed that Liverpool will table a £10 million offer for the 20-year-old Englishman, who has become more involved for Claudio Ranieri’s side this season after signing a new deal last summer.

 Leicester City's Ben Chilwell in action against Liverpool during the Under 21 FA Premier League match at the Deva Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It all sounds a bit like 2016 rather than 2017.

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What this could show, though, is that the leaking of information from Liverpool has reduced under Jurgen Klopp’s tenure – and therefore the papers are recycling old reports instead.

Alternatively, Liverpool could genuinely go back in for two players who were primary targets a year ago. Certainly a left-back and another forward will be on the shopping list this summer, and with European football of some kind next season, new signings are certainly required.

Earlier this week Klopp explained that plans were already in the early stages for transfer targets this summer.

“We are in talks with different people – players, agents, all that stuff,” the manager said.

“Not a lot of decisions have been already made at this point. But we are on the way. At the end I’m sure we will have a really good squad.”

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Categories: LFC NEWS

Jurgen Klopp: A Liverpool player’s boss and mate – but for how long?

Sun, 19/02/2017 - 13:30

Jurgen Klopp has so far mastered the art of being a player’s boss and a mate, but as the Reds’ manager nears 50, how will that difficult balance continue?

The landmark falls in the close season, on the eve of the Confederations Cup. June 16, 2017, the day Jurgen Klopp turns 50.

Age can be just a number, but perhaps not in the German’s case.

Just as his teams need dynamism and vibrancy, the Liverpool manager’s energy is important. He presents a youthful air, whether with his hyperactive presence on the touchline, casual clothing and unshaven look or a winning informality with his players.

It is hard to imagine Klopp as an elder statesman. He projects more enthusiasm than gravitas. That sense of vitality is essential to his management. It contributes to his ability to relate to his charges. It is all the more notable because a communicator has forged bonds in a foreign language.

Klopp was quick to establish a familiarity. A decade ago, Anfield had the strategist Rafa Benitez referring to his skipper, with deliberate coldness, simply as ‘Gerrard’.

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The German had not been in England long before he was referring to his captain and vice-captain as ‘Hendo’ and ‘Milly’. He soon anglicised his most creative player to ‘Phil’ Coutinho.

If he has not yet started talking about ‘Bobby’ Firmino or ‘Si’ Mignolet, it may only be a matter of time.

Crucially from Klopp, it sounds natural whereas, when Steve McClaren used to talk about ‘JT’, ‘Lamps’ and ‘Stevie G’, they felt like cringeworthy attempts to be one of the lads.

 Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp celebrates with captain Jordan Henderson after the 2-1 victory over Chelsea during the FA Premier League match at Stamford Bridge. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

When Sir Alex Ferguson made rare references to ‘Wazza’, it jarred: 70-year-olds generally do not call anyone young enough to be their grandson ‘Wazza’.

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It scarcely mattered for Ferguson; he could rule by fear, respect and a tradition of winning. He did not need to buddy up.

But Klopp’s brand of management is an extension of his personality. It involves belief, unity and a sense of humour. He indulges in mild mockery in public in a way that suggests a strong attachment to his players.

Consider his December comments about James Milner: “He is a very funny person,” he said. “I have no idea where it came from; perhaps it is having the same haircut since Leeds.” Or, when told after the 0-0 draw against Plymouth that he had named the youngest side in Liverpool’s history, he took a swipe at his oldest starter by replying: “With Lucas in?”

Lucas and Milner are two of Liverpool’s wiser souls. Neither was likely to make the mistake Mamadou Sakho did by confusing a relaxed attitude for weakness. Remember the Frenchman’s impromptu interview with his manager at Alcatraz and Klopp’s pointed comments that he could leave the defender there. Now on loan at Crystal Palace, Sakho has suffered as Liverpool have not picked him since; arguably Liverpool have, too.

 Liverpool's Adam Lallana celebrates scoring the fifth, and winning, goal against Norwich City to seal a late 5-4 victory with manager Jürgen Klopp during the Premiership match at Carrow Road. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

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Otherwise, however, Klopp seems to have pulled off the trick David Brent thought he had mastered, of being both boss and mate. He has avoided some of Brendan Rodgers’ missteps – there were times the Northern Irishman showed too much of a desperation to be liked – partly because of an air of authenticity.

As he gets older, the guarantee is that Klopp will continue being Klopp. Yet his style of management is harder to sustain as the age difference between him and his players grows. A case in point can be found at the other end of the East Lancs Road.

Only four years separate them, but it feels that Klopp and Jose Mourinho belong to different generations. The Portuguese’s early success owed much to his connection with his players. They could relate to him.

If his Porto and Chelsea teams (in his first spell at Stamford Bridge, anyway), were bands of brothers, Mourinho seemed the cool older sibling, blessed with looks, wit, charm and money, his anti-authority posturing marking him out as a charismatic rebel with a cause.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp (right) and Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho on the touchline during the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester.

Yet there is a theory that Mourinho related best to those born in the 1970s or the early 1980s. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is the last of his true disciples and he turns 36 this year. Now the man acting as Paul Pogba’s cool older brother is Ibrahimovic, not Mourinho. No wonder: the midfielder is 30 years younger than the Manchester United manager.

So Mourinho is in search of a new identity; the sense is he long envied Ferguson’s persona as the managerial Godfather. He is trying to graduate from being Sonny to Vito Corleone.

Klopp seems to harbour few such aspirations. Nor is it easy to envisage him becoming a martinet manager, as impersonal as Fabio Capello or Louis van Gaal, a distant, aged authoritarian. If his is a dictatorship, it is a more benevolent one than theirs.

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Age may seem irrelevant to Benitez, with his timeless interest in tactics, but he has always kept more distance from most of his players than Klopp. Carlo Ancelotti is eight years the current Liverpool manager’s senior and continues to excel as a man-manager in a variety of jobs, but he is more laid-back than Klopp.

Urgency and intensity help account for the success the German has enjoyed so far. Klopp has prospered because of force of personality and psychology, accounting for his ability and capacity to galvanise other, younger personalities.

But as the years go by, it will become a greater challenge. He will be playing the generation game.

Categories: LFC NEWS

5 things on the to-do list for Liverpool’s new CEO

Sun, 19/02/2017 - 13:12

Liverpool will appoint a new chief executive this summer, but what will Ian Ayre’s successor have on his immediate to-do list?

Ayre has stepped aside as CEO of Liverpool in order to take a break before assuming a similar role at Bundesliga 2 side 1860 Munich.

Under Ayre’s guidance, the restructuring of the club’s executive leadership and the gradual transfer of his responsibilities to others at the club has been completed earlier than planned.

Michael Edwards was appointed Sporting Director in November last year, taking over Ayre’s job as chief transfer negotiator.

FSG have always wanted this type of role to exist at the club, and it’s one which the manager Jurgen Klopp will be used to from his time working with Michael Zorc, who held the same role at Borussia Dortmund.

Elsewhere, Chief Commercial Officer Billy Hogan will also undertake the job of Managing Director, and Andy Hughes is promoted from Chief Financial Operator to Chief Operating Officer.

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Ayre’s successor is yet to be named, but FSG have said that they will have someone in place by the summer of 2017, while the incoming CEO will reportedly have fewer footballing responsibilities and be more business-focussed.

It’s likely to be a busy first year for the new CEO, and there are quite a few decisions needing to be made which will affect both the long and short-term future of the club.

How to combine Liverpool’s training facilities

 Liverpool players warm-up before the FA Premier Academy League match against Manchester City at the Kirkby Academy. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It’s not a question of will Liverpool combine their first team and academy training facilities, it’s a case of when and how.

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Brendan Rodgers wanted to do it, Klopp does too, and it’s been a long-term goal of FSG to bring the youth team closer to the senior side.

The first-team training base at Melwood faces similar problems to Anfield when it comes to expansion. In a built-up area surrounded by houses, it’s nigh impossible to develop further.

It would be a big decision to announce that the team are leaving a training base which has been their home since 1950 and was used throughout the club’s most successful periods.

But, nostalgia aside, the bigger decision would be whether to combine the first team and academy at Kirkby or move to an entirely new facility elsewhere.

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Selling Melwood and naming rights

 Melwood Training Ground ahead of Liverpool's UEFA Europa League Group Stage Group B match against FC Sion. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

On the back of this come two more important decisions. What to do with Melwood when they leave, and whether to sell naming rights for the new training ground complex.

Again, these decisions could be considered to be going against tradition, but other clubs have realised that having a sponsored training base can bring in a good chunk of extra revenue.

The history of Melwood could make its sale a touchy subject, and the new CEO will have to try to get the best deal for the club on both these issues while also retaining some respectability.

Everton’s training ground is now sponsored by a company owned by Arsenal shareholder Alisher Usmanov, while Man United’s Carrington complex brings in £160 million over the course of an 8-year deal with Aon, struck in 2013.

Hogan and a new CEO will need to work together in order to get the right deal on both fronts, and at least one of these decisions could be unpopular among fans.

Anfield Road redevelopment

 A general view of Liverpool's Anfield stadium an new Main Stand before the Football League Cup 4th Round match between Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

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The outline planning permission for an expanded Anfield Road end expires in September 2017, having been in place since April 2014.

The new Main Stand has revitalised the match-day experience at Anfield (albeit with the unfortunate side-effect of long queues for toilets and food in the concourse), but while this new structure had a big focus on corporate and hospitality areas, a new Anfield Road stand would prioritise general admission seats.

Failing to see through this phase of Anfield’s redevelopment would be seen as ignoring the fans and focusing solely on the corporate side of the new-look stadium.

The Anfield Road End in its current state is cramped and awkward, as seats have been forced into every available space. It has some obstructed views, especially at the back of the lower tier when those in front stand – particularly an issue in the away section.

Cowering below the new stand it looks out of date and out of place, and if a new CEO pushed through the work on this part of the ground then it would give something back to supporters, and might even give them leeway to incorporate naming rights…

Main Stand naming rights

 A general view of Liverpool's new Main Stand during the FA Premier League match against Leicester City at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

If naming rights for the training ground will be a thorny issue, then selling sponsorship for the new stands could cause even more controversy.

As mentioned, if the redevelopment of the stadium is seen through at the Anfield Road end, then the CEO would have more of a case when it comes to giving these stands the name of a sponsor.

That Main Stand naming rights weren’t already sold is somewhat surprising, given that the stand got most media attention when being first unveiled last year. Liverpool are reportedly looking for £90 million over 10 years, but no deal has been announced as yet.

Failing to finish the redevelopment of Anfield, with the Anfield Road End being phase two of the overall expansion, while also looking to change the names of stands would get the new CEO off to a bad start with fans.

Selling a stake in the club

 Liverpool's co-owner and NESV Chairman Tom Werner, Director Michael Gordon and owner John W. Henry before the UEFA Europa League Group Stage Group B match against Rubin Kazan at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The issue of naming rights brings us to the ongoing saga that another party are looking to buy a stake in the club.

One of the rumoured reasons for the lack of sponsorship for the Main Stand is that a new investor might want to buy that along with their stake.

The latest group linked was the Chinese financial group Everbright, who would look to buy a minority stake in-fitting with FSG’s stance that they wouldn’t relinquish their majority ownership of the club.

While this is a wider decision to be made at board level, a new CEO would have to take this into account and would be involved in such a decision.

Categories: LFC NEWS

How Saturday’s FA Cup results affect Liverpool

Sat, 18/02/2017 - 20:10

There was no action for Liverpool in the FA Cup on Saturday, but the results of several of the matches does affect the Reds.

Burnley 0-1 Lincoln City

Quite the upset at Turf Moor, as Burnley lost to non-league side Lincoln City – meaning a non-league side will be in the quarter-finals for the first time since 1925.

Had this match been won by the Premier League side, Liverpool’s game against Burnley due to be played on Sunday, 12 March, would have had to be rearranged – which would have meant just two games for Liverpool in March and a much more congested April.

So all, a good result from a Liverpool perspective.

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Huddersfield 0-0 Man City

There was no involvement for Danny Ward in this one, as David Wagner used his backup keeper in the FA Cup, but the Yorkshire side still did enough to hold Pep Guardiola’s men to a replay.

Another match for City helps to provide more distractions for them, which can only be good news for their top six rivals, such as Liverpool.

Millwall 1-0 Leicester City

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This was one of the more predictable upsets of the day, with another late winner seeing a Premier League side defeated.

Had this been drawn, the timing of the replay would have meant Liverpool’s next game against Leicester would have been brought forward to next Saturday lunchtime, rather than Monday evening.

That would have been nice as it would have saved us from waiting for another game, and really caused an issue for Leicester, who play at Sevilla on Wednesday night and so would have had a lot less preparation to face us.

Middlesbrough 3-2 Oxford United

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An unlucky result for the League One side, who came from 2-0 down to 2-2 with two goals in quick succession. But it’s a result that doesn’t really affect Liverpool.

Categories: LFC NEWS

Liverpool’s big-match performances need to be followed up by beating the lesser teams

Sat, 18/02/2017 - 15:04

Liverpool’s record against the Premier League’s top seven sides this season is impressive – but they’ve failed to follow up these results in the next match.

When Liverpool finally return to action at Leicester the Reds will arrive in the best shape of 2017.

Following the blitz of Tottenham and with a reenergising “mini pre-season” in La Manga, Jurgen Klopp’s men will be champing at the bit to reconvene the top-four fight after a 16-day break.

That positive form and fitness will have been rediscovered for the meeting with Claudio Ranieri’s relegation-threatened title-holders should provide huge belief for the game.

Instead, a feeling of nervousness will mostly grip the Reds’ fan base, due to Liverpool’s increasing tendency to undo big-game positivity with an immediate collapse against strugglers.

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Jekyll and Hyde FC

Hull City's Alfred N'Diaye (centre) celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game during the Premier League match at the KCOM Stadium (Picture by Danny Lawson PA Wire/PA Images)

Liverpool’s inconsistency against lesser teams has been the most frustrating feature of the season.

The way Klopp’s side have followed positive results against rivals with dire displays against lesser teams has contributed to the season unravelling from title hopes to a top-four battle.

The problem first arose in August, when the Reds’ opening 4-3 win at Arsenal preceded a humbling 2-0 loss at Burnley.

But it didn’t properly take hold until turn of the year when a poor 2-2 draw at Sunderland trailed the win over Man City – though admittedly this was arguably a consequence of the 46-hour gap between games.

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From then the slump set in though, and each time Liverpool looked set to reverse the decline after a positive big game performance, only another miserable outing materialised.

After the depleted Reds battled to a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford they went down 3-2 to bottom-of-the-table Swansea, before repeating the act with the worst example of all.

A 1-1 draw certainly wasn’t quite the result wanted, but Liverpool’s performance against Chelsea was hugely positive and left all believing that the upturn needed would finally transpire.

But all the pride restored against Antonio Conte’s men was instantly lost as not even Sadio Mane’s comeback could prevent a woeful 2-0 loss at Hull.

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The Reds’ general inconsistency has frustrated, but these recent dire follow-up results have proven even more costly, contributing heavily to the 18 points dropped with lesser teams – a staggering 10 more than with top-six rivals.

With the rejuvenated Reds to face strugglers again after another demolition of top-six rivals, a fresh opportunity presents.

Improving Post Big Game Fortunes

 Liverpool's Sadio Mane celebrates scoring the second goal against Leicester City during the FA Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

With the top-four battle hotting up and increasingly little margin for error, addressing post big-game struggles is a major priority for Liverpool.

The Reds have an immediate chance to spark an improvement when they face Leicester, who have lost their last five league games and are yet to score in the top-flight in 2017.

Klopp’s men know how to, as evidenced by the success enjoyed earlier this season. Indeed, while victory at Arsenal preceded the shock Burnley loss, it was very much the exception.

A respectable draw next time out at Tottenham was perfectly built on as the Reds thrashed the Foxes 4-1 at Anfield in September.

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Liverpool later followed the brilliant win at Chelsea with a 5-1 hammering of Hull, and also a respectable if frustrating goalless draw with Man United by beating West Brom.

Even a week before the Sunderland downturn, the Reds followed Merseyside derby success with a 4-1 win over Stoke – meaning Klopp’s men won four of five matches directly after rival clashes in 2016 compared to none of three since the turn of the year.

The timing of such results suggest the fixture list, which became more congested than the deep-sitting defences Liverpool encountered, proved costly – evidenced further by the impressive scores gained before the unrelenting schedule kicked in.

But now with a manageable run again, Klopp’s refreshed team must use this to our advantage over the coming months.

 Leicester City's manager Claudio Ranieri during the FA Premier League match against Everton at Filbert Way. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Leicester present the first test, and Liverpool must use their freshened state to replicate the intensity displayed against rivals, hounding the confidence-stricken Foxes who will have played twice in a week by the time Klopp’s team arrive.

Games against Arsenal, Man City and Everton are all to come for Liverpool, with the former and latter matches followed by Anfield clashes with Burnley (FA Cup involvement permitting) and Bournemouth.

These fixtures will be equally as vital in shaping whether a top four finish is achieved, and crucial for Liverpool to be successful will be finding a better way of dealing with playing as favourites.

The Reds have excelled as underdogs but struggled at times when required to take the initiative, and this must change to ensure no more costly points are dropped.

No Room For Repeats

 Liverpool's manager J¸rgen Klopp reacts during the FA Premier League match against Manchester City at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

As Liverpool challenge for Champions League football, struggles after positive big game results must be confined to the past – along with the 2017 slump once and for all.

Given the impressive record Klopp’s side boast in taking points off rivals, results against the rest could hold the key to securing a top-four place.

Liverpool struggled to achieve such results as the season has unravelled but it’s vital they restore this ability as they chase a much-coveted top-four spot.

An upturn must start at Leicester, where the Reds must produce the fearlessness and work-rate of big game performances in routine fixtures once again.

Bringing this approach to such occasions will go some way to ensuring no further points are unnecessarily dropped after big-match successes and a top four place is secured.

Categories: LFC NEWS

‘I’m hanging up my boots!’ – LFC academy coach jokes about leaving demonstrations to Steven Gerrard

Sat, 18/02/2017 - 15:03

Steven Gerrard began his new role at Liverpool’s academy recently, working alongside academy staff from the under-6s through to the under-23s.

The iconic midfielder’s presence at the Kirkby academy base is an inspirational one for young players and for the coaching staff – but it must also be pretty daunting for coaches when they’re demonstrating drills!

Liverpool’s under-16s coach Barry Lewtas jokes: “When it comes to shooting and ball striking demonstrations, I’m definitely going to hang up my boots and leave those to Steven because you can’t get any better than him!”

Of course, Gerrard’s goals from outside the box, especially during his earlier years at Anfield, became his trademark and made him the iconic midfielder he is.

It must be a brilliant experience for a young player to have a player of Gerrard’s calibre detail how to strike a ball for a shot or a driven pass out wide.

Lewtas describes having Gerrard around the academy as “absolutely brilliant for the young lads and for us as coaches.

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“Where all of these boys want to be and want to get to, Steven has been.

“He is a fantastic role model and it’s valuable for us all to be able to learn from his journey and experiences.”

Gerrard isn’t the only former player seen frequently at the academy, with Rob Jones, Steve McManamanan and Robbie Fowler also giving up their time in voluntary mentor roles in recent years.

 Liverpool's coach Alex Inglethorpe [C] with former players Rob Jones [L] and Steve McManaman [R] during the Under 21 FA Premier League match against Manchester United at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“There is a special environment and atmosphere here at the Academy, which I believe is extremely healthy for coaches and players,” says Lewtas.

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Speaking to This Is Anfield recently, former Reds’ Under-23s coach Michael Beale praised academy director Alex Inglethorpe for bringing the trio back to the club.

“Their work at the academy is very important,” praised Beale.

“Alex Inglethorpe has been fantastic at bringing these people back and I think it takes a very intelligent man and confident man to bring these icons back into the club with no worry and the only thing he is worried about is the development of the players.

“It’s been a pleasure for me to know them, I was delighted to be involved with the idea of asking Steven [Gerrard] to come back and something I was greatly excited about and I wanted him to work closely with me because I know what he can offer.

“I repeat that Alex deserves big praise for that, there’s too many people in football and other industries that are happy to not do things like that and keeping themselves as king. All he wants is to develop the players and these guys come in and they don’t coach, Steven is going to coach, but they are around the session adding some support and I think that’s fantastic.”

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* Read our full interview with Michael Beale here.

Categories: LFC NEWS

Liverpool beat Man United to signing of French youth star

Sat, 18/02/2017 - 15:03
on 18 February 2017

Liverpool are reportedly close to signing French youngster Yasser Larouci, beating Man United to his signature in the process.

Larouci is an under-16 attacking midfielder at Le Havre, described as “pacy, strong in the dribble and a constant threat in the final third.”

According to Goal’s Melissa Reddy, Liverpool are close to completing the deal for the wide player – who has had a trial at Southampton and attracted attention of Man United scouts.

Le Havre is the club from which Liverpool famously signed French duo Antony Le Tallec and Florent Sinama Pongolle during Gerard Houllier’s reign at Anfield – hopefully Larouci can prove a better signing than the duo.

In more recent years, Le Havre have produced the trio of Paul Pogba, Dimitri Payet and Riyad Mahrez.

SEE ALSO: ‘I’m hanging up my boots!’ – LFC academy coach jokes about leaving demonstrations to Steven Gerrard

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Categories: LFC NEWS

10 players Liverpool will inevitably be linked with in the summer

Fri, 17/02/2017 - 19:00

When it comes to rumours this summer, the media can be pretty predictable. There’s a fair few players who will inevitably be linked with Liverpool in the coming months.

The next transfer window may still be several months away, but that doesn’t stop the endless talk of who will go where at the end of the season.

Although it was a quiet January at Liverpool, with Jurgen Klopp choosing to bring in no reinforcements, this summer will be very different.

The Reds’ squad will need strengthening in several areas of the pitch, especially with European commitments almost guaranteed in 2017/18.

You can almost predict which players will be tipped to move to Merseyside – here are 10 that immediately spring to mind.

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Joe Hart

 Manchester City's goalkeeper Joe Hart celebrates after the 1-0 (3-2 on aggregate) victory over Paris Saint-Germain during the UEFA Champions League Quarter-Final 2nd Leg match at the City of Manchester Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Even though Joe Hart couldn’t be further from what Jurgen Klopp looks for in a goalkeeper, that won’t stop the endless links with him heading back to the Premier League to join the Reds.

He struggles with the ball at his feet, he makes mistakes and there is an argument to say his best days are behind him. Other than that…

It remains to be seen whether Klopp decides to improve on Simon Mignolet and Loris Karius, but if a new stopper comes in, it won’t be Hart.

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Virgil van Dijk

 Southampton's Virgil Van Dijk in action against Liverpool during the Football League Cup Quarter-Final match at St. Mary's Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Other than playing for Southampton, Virgil Van Dijk actually makes sense for Liverpool – who desperately need a good, solid centre-back to partner Joel Matip.

The Dutch centre-back would be the perfect signing for many this summer, but he would likely cost a lot – which means we’re in for getting our hopes up only for him to end at Man City or Chelsea.

Andrew Robertson

 Hull City's Andrew Robertson in action against Manchester City during the Football League Cup Quarter-Final match at the City of Manchester Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

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A cheap left-back – available on a Bosman free transfer even!

With James Milner an effective but short-term fix, and Alberto Moreno still hugely unconvincing, talk of a new left-back is bound to return in the summer.

Klopp’s preference for youth, and not necessarily bringing in household names, makes Hull City’s Andrew Robertson a likely target.

The 22-year-old Scot is enjoying an impressive season and should Hull go down he’ll almost certainly stay in the Premier League with a move elsewhere.

William Carvalho

 Sporting Clube de Portugal's William Carvalho in action against Chelsea during the final UEFA Champions League Group G match at Stamford Bridge. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Placating the ‘sign a DM’ crew, William Carvalho is one of many players who seems to be tipped for a move to Merseyside in almost every transfer window.

The Sporting Lisbon man may feel that a new challenge is required in the summer, and there is expected to be a scramble to purchase him.

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Quite whether he suits the Reds’ style of play is debatable, but as media outlets look to fill column inches, he is sure to be Liverpool-bound in the rumour mill.

It would be a surprise if there was no mention of Carvalho to Liverpool at some point.

Alexandre Lacazette

Alexandre Lacazette during the French Ligue 1 match between Lyon and Lille at the Stade de Gerland in France on October 05, 2014  (Picture by JEAN PAUL THOMAS Sportimage/PA Images)

A transfer window wouldn’t be a transfer window without Alexandre Lacazette being tipped to join a Premier League club.

The Frenchman was heavily linked to both Liverpool and Arsenal last summer, among others, but he decided to stay at Lyon for another year.

Lacazette’s relentless form in front of goal has seen him score 23 goals in 27 appearances this season, and an exit looks likely in the summer.

Daniel Sturridge is expected to move on to pastures new and Lacazatte would be a superb replacement.

You can’t bank on him becoming a Liverpool player, but you can bank on him being linked.

Piotr Zielinski

 Nick Potts / EMPICS Sport)

When a player is linked with Liverpool, some fans love to claim they have watched every minute of his career. Piotr Zielinski was one of those.

The Poland international almost signed last summer, but a move never materialised and he went to Napoli from Udinese instead.

Like so many transfer rumours, we may see the reports resurface at the end of the campaign, even though Zielinski is in the first year at a Champions League side.

Quite whether Liverpool need him, or can do better than him, is up for debate.

Christian Pulisic

Borussia Dortmund's Christian Pulisic

Liverpool signing Christian Pulisic seems far too good to be true – how often do they really get their main transfer target? – but it shouldn’t be completely ruled out.

The prodigiously-gifted Borussia Dortmund man is one of Europe’s most highly-rated young attackers, and he would be exactly what the Reds need next season and beyond.

Dortmund will be very keen to keep hold of one of their prized assets, but Klopp is a big admirer and reportedly attempted to sign him in January.

We will hear about him lots in the summer – let’s hope the reports come from reputable sources!

Demarai Gray

 Nigel French/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.

It has only taken a handful of eye-catching showings for Liverpool to be linked with Leicester City youngster Demarai Gray.

The tricky winger fits perfectly into Klopp’s footballing philosophy, with his pace, versatility and long-term potential all standing out.

Gray is a work in progress – those types of signings can infuriate the fanbase – but he is exactly the kind of player you could see them taking a punt on, especially if Leicester get related…

Finally, signing proven quality – a Premier League winner no less!

Nathan Redmond

 Liverpool's Joel Matip in action against Southampton's Nathan Redmond during the Football League Cup Semi-Final 2nd Leg match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

He plays for Southampton, he played well against Liverpool. In recent years that’s been enough to not only get you linked with a move to Anfield but actually sign for the Reds!

Nathan Redmond was Sadio Mane’s replacement at Southampton last summer, and with Liverpool wanting more like Mane, it’s pretty inevitable that Mane’s direct replacement at Liverpool’s feeder club will be linked.

Hopefully though, with Klopp now firmly established at the club, he won’t be following the previous formula that saw Dejan Lovren, Christian Benteke and Adam Bogdan earn their moves to Merseyside!

Inaki Williams

Athletic Bilbao's Inaki Williams, right, chase the ball with Rapid Wien's Thomas Schrammel during the Europa League Group F soccer match between Athletic Bilbao and Rapid Wien, at San Mames stadium, in Bilbao, northern Spain, Thursday, Sept. 29, 2016. Athletic Bilbao won 1-0.(AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos)

This feels like a rumour that has legs in it, especially in comparison to some of those listed.

Athletic Bilbao youngster Inaki Williams has “Klopp player” written all over him, and if Liverpool could get a deal over the line, it would be a significant piece of business.

The 22-year Spaniard is quick, creative, a present and future investment and would add an extra dimension to the Reds’ attack.

There is already plenty being written about Williams heading to Anfield – you will only hear more about it once the summer arrives.

Categories: LFC NEWS

Jurgen Klopp believes change of scenery in La Manga will benefit Liverpool

Fri, 17/02/2017 - 14:30

Jurgen Klopp has explained his reasoning behind taking his Liverpool squad to La Manga, with a change of scenery a key factor.

The Reds flew out to Spain for a mid-season training camp on Wednesday, and will remain there until Sunday.

With no FA Cup commitments to worry about this weekend, it has allowed Klopp to mix things up and allow his players to train in a different environment.

The 49-year-old explained that the squad had two sessions on Thursday, with one on Friday, then one on Saturday followed by an “internal game” later in the day, before a final session on Sunday.

Klopp believes a change of venue helps keep things fresh within the squad, and didn’t hide the fact that his players have plenty to work on.

“You might think it’s a bit cold for a ‘warm-weather’ training camp, but that’s a good thing because we didn’t want to go somewhere where it’s completely different to England in this moment, we only wanted to change the circumstances a little bit,” Klopp told explained.

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“We want to be focused on the work we do on the pitch especially, and of course we’ll use the opportunity to talk about a few things, how you always do in pre-season.

“But I think you can always talk about things you need to fix, or you can create the situation where you can work on it and that’s what we’re trying to do here.

“Melwood is a fantastic training ground but we are there for the whole year – since June, since we were in America, we’ve been there every day, so to come out and do a few different things I thought made absolute sense.”

 Liverpool's Ragnar Klavan, captain Jordan Henderson and Dejan Lovren with manager J¸rgen Klopp during a training session in the Laird Q. Cagan Stadium at Stanford University on day one of the club's USA Pre-season Tour. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Klopp also spoke about the remainder of Liverpool’s season, admitting he was hopeful about them building on the Spurs win and securing the best finish possible.

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“I spoke a few days ago, after the Hull game, that we lost kind of the flow, but actually we have it. We’ve played fantastic football in this season already and obviously people are in a good mood here,” he added.

“It was all about getting the confidence in training, and doing the things we want to be good in and were good in and I thought the Tottenham game showed already that we are still capable of doing things like this, but now we have to bring consistency – we know this.

“[There are] a lot of things you could already say about this season, a lot of good things and a few not so good things, but at the end we have the chance in 13 games to really reach something special, and that’s what we are working on.

“Coming back then and having another week to prepare for the Leicester game and the rest of the games, Arsenal and all that stuff, that’s good and hopefully everyone can see after this.”

It still feels like an eternity until the trip to Leicester City on February 27, but Liverpool should be perfectly prepared for it.

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They should return from La Manga as fit and refreshed as they have been in months, which points towards a strong end to the campaign.

These final 13 Premier League should be treated as 13 cup finals – if they can go on a winning run they are more than capable of securing a top-four finish.

Categories: LFC NEWS

Jordan Henderson discusses Liverpool’s “refreshing” players-only meeting

Fri, 17/02/2017 - 14:01

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson has spoken about the players-only meeting he organised with his teammates prior to last Saturday’s win over Tottenham.

After a disastrous start to 2017, Henderson took it upon himself to sit down with the Liverpool squad and discuss where things had to improve.

It clearly did the trick, with the Reds performing superbly against Spurs, and getting their stuttering season back on track in the process.

Speaking from Liverpool’s training camp in La Manga, Spain, Henderson believes the meeting has paid dividends, echoing Adam Lallana’s positive words words about it last weekend.

“It wasn’t just me – there are a lot of leaders in the group and we all decided to get together and anyone could speak on what we needed to improve on,” Henderson explained.

“I felt it was good and refreshing, as Adam said, and it’s good for us to be together 24/7, get to know each other even more and I think it’ll help us going forward.

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“The Spurs win gives us a little bit of confidence, getting back to the way we know we can play – and have played for the majority of the season.

“It’s definitely a bonus coming here, working on one or two things and hopefully we can play like we did against Spurs for the rest of the season.”

The 26-year-old also spoke about the Reds’ trip to Spain, saying he firmly believes it will stand them in good stead for the remainder of the season.

“Everything has gone smoothly so far. There was a light session on Thursday morning because we’d had a few days off, so it was to get our legs going again, and then it was a tough session in the afternoon,” he added.

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“We’re looking forward to the next few days, spending time together as a team properly, training and doing one or two other things as well. It’ll be good for us going into the last part of the season.

“It’s a different environment and you’re with each other non-stop because you’re not going home; you’re with each other 24/7, so I think that’ll only benefit us as a team going into the last part of the season. We can get a lot of work in on the training pitch on what we need to improve on, and everyone is looking forward to it.

“There have been a lot of games, but coming in here the training will still be intense. There is still a lot more from us to come in the last part of the season and we can still show a lot more.

“Hopefully the sun will help and we’ll be feeling refreshed in the training, so hopefully when we go back home we’re recharged and ready to go.”

Henderson really seems to have grown into his role as captain, after being doubted by so many when he replaced Steven Gerrard in 2015.

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At 26, the midfielder is still relatively young in terms of being a skipper, so he should only improve as he enters the peak years of his career.

His decision to organise that team meeting was a good one, and if the Spurs performance is anything to go by, it will look an even more inspired piece of captaincy come May.

Categories: LFC NEWS

Daniel Sturridge leaves La Manga training camp due to illness

Fri, 17/02/2017 - 13:28

Liverpool forward Daniel Sturridge has flown back from the Reds’ training camp in Spain due to illness.

The England international missed Thursday’s double session of training due to a virus – which he had prior to the squad flying out to La Manga on Wednesday but wanted to try to take part.

The official website announced the news on Friday morning, saying: “The striker joined his teammates on the trip to Spain earlier this week eager to participate in the daily double sessions, despite feeling unwell.

However, Sturridge’s condition hasn’t improved and he will fly back to Merseyside today before resuming training at Melwood as soon as he is well enough.”

But the club’s medical staff have now decided to send the player home to avoid the illness being passed on to other members of the squad.

Liverpool will expect that Sturridge will be well enough to return to training back on Merseyside next week, with the rest of the squad back on Sunday.

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It means Sturridge shouldn’t miss any games and would be available for the trip to Leicester City a week on Monday.

Dejan Lovren and Marko Grujic are also expected to return to full training next week, which would mean a fully fit squad other than long-term absentee Danny Ings.

Categories: LFC NEWS

Jurgen Klopp explains what he learned from Liverpool’s winter slump

Fri, 17/02/2017 - 12:39

Jurgen Klopp says the biggest lesson he learned during Liverpool’s January slump was how much the winter schedule affected his squad.

The Liverpool boss opted to make just one change, that being enforced, for the game against Sunderland on January 2 – less than 48 hours after the win over Man City at Anfield on New Year’s Eve.

“From 31 December to 2 January you could see the difference physically,” said Klopp this week.

“Oh, my God – what have we done?

“It was not that we had all the players to change it at Sunderland. It was a few things. On a few things we had an influence and on others we did not have an influence – we conceded goals, offside against us, penalty against us.”

To make, effectively, no changes for the Sunderland game was clearly a mistake – and Liverpool spent the rest of January looking jaded, being out-muscled and out-paced by Wolves, Southampton and Swansea City as their title challenge faded into top-four hopes and they exited two cup competitions.

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When asked what he learned most during the run of one win in 10 games, Klopp said: “December-January. Not even Chelsea came through without no problems but they were able to play the same team all the time. They left the EFL Cup when, before it started? [It was the fourth round] I don’t remember them playing one game in that competition. ‘Get rid of this.’

“I spoke to Antonio [Conte] for a long time at Anfield, maybe 25 minutes, and he mentioned it [the fixture schedule] but said they could play the same 13-14 players all the time. That is the big difference.”

 Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp embraces Chelsea's manager Antonio Conte after the 1-1 draw during the FA Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

While Liverpool did indeed have a busier schedule, and suffer with injuries, Chelsea have barely had any major injuries to any of their first-team this season.

Interestingly, Klopp pointed to Chelsea’s ability to see out a game and have the winning know-how, something Liverpool demonstrated for the first time in a long time against Tottenham last weekend.

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“We are not used to being a top team, maybe we have to be,” said Klopp. “We are not clever like Chelsea who will be 2-0 up and just finish a game.”

Klopp says he has learnt about his players from the month: “They are all human beings and of course they are influenced by the things they see every day.

“Did I learn anything new about them in the last few weeks? Yes. A lot of what I wanted to learn? No. But that is how it is.

“I am not one bit in doubt about the character of these players but of course we have to create mentality. We had a few moments when we didn’t deliver, didn’t perform, although not too often in the Premier League otherwise we couldn’t be where we are now.”

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Categories: LFC NEWS

No Australia on Liverpool’s pre-season plans this summer

Fri, 17/02/2017 - 12:25

Liverpool will not head to Australia this summer as part of their pre-season tour, with Jurgen Klopp influencing a decision not to travel as much and instead remain in Europe for much of the summer.

Liverpool alternate each summer where their pre-season takes place – heading west to North America one year, then east to Asia and Australia the next.

This summer though, the decision has reportedly been made to only make a short trip to Asia – Shanghai and Hong Kong – and hold a training camp in Europe instead.

It’s a wise move, and one clearly influenced by Jurgen Klopp – who is said to not want to burden his players with too much travel ahead of the new season.

Last summer Klopp implemented a training camp in northern California, at Stanford University, in America. This summer, with no World Cup or Euros, will be a real opportunity to have the whole squad together for a good pre-season.

The games in Shanghai and Hong Kong are pencilled in for July 20 and 22.

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The training camp in Europe could take place in Klopp’s native Germany, with a pre-season friendly against Hertha Berlin a potential to celebrate each team’s 125-year anniversary.

Liverpool are also likely to play some local friendlies before they head to Europe and Asia, while a return to holding one pre-season game at Anfield is expected now that the Main Stand is complete.

There could also be a testimonial for Lucas Leiva somewhere in the Reds’ summer plans.

The new Premier League season will begin on August 12.

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Categories: LFC NEWS

S*n-sponsored Sutton to get smashed, Leicester’s misery to continue – FA Cup Fifth Round Preview

Fri, 17/02/2017 - 11:00

There may be no Liverpool in the FA Cup fifth round this season, but there are still eight ties to look forward to in the coming days.

The Reds were dispatched of by Wolves in round four, following a wretched performance at Anfield, leaving them with just the Premier League to focus on in 2016/17.

Fellow top-six rivals all remain in the tournament, and the longer they stay in it, the more it should improve the Reds’ top-four chances. The more games and distractions for them, the better.

There are eight ties this weekend, with 16 clubs vying for a place in the quarter-finals. It’s the first time two non-league sides have been in the fifth round since the 19th century.

S*n-sponsored Sutton to Get Smashed by Arsenal

 Arsenal's manager Arsène Wenger before the Premiership match against Manchester City at the City of Manchester Stadium. (Pic by Vegard Grott/Propaganda)

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Under normal circumstances, we would all love lowly Sutton United to pull off one of the great FA Cup shocks against Arsenal on Monday. This is different, though.

The non-league outfit have struck a one-off sponsorship deal with The S*n for their fifth round tie – something that hasn’t exactly endeared themselves to Liverpool fans or the rest of the footballing community.

For that reason, we should all be hoping Arsenal beat Sutton into submission, booking a place in the last-eight in the process.

Arsene Wenger could do with something to smile about, following Wednesday’s harrowing 5-1 defeat at Bayern Munich in the Champions League. Maybe he can deliver another FA Cup success as his parting gift at the Emirates?

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Can Klopp’s Mate Stun Guardiola?

 Richard Sellers/PA Wire.

Much was made about the friendship between Jurgen Klopp and David Wagner when the latter was appointed Huddersfield Town manager last summer.

The German is working wonders with the Championship club, incorporating fresh, modern ideas and guiding the Terriers to within four points of the automatic promotion places.

On Saturday, Wagner’s men welcome Man City to the John Smith’s Stadium, in what looks like one of the most attractive ties of the round.

A lot will depend on how many key players are rested on either side, but if Wagner respects the competition, they could easily spring a surprise.

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A good test for Liverpool loanee Danny Ward in goal for the Yorkshire side too.

Another Defeat For The Champions?

 Leicester City's goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel in action against Liverpool during the FA Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Leicester City’s post-title-winning season has gone from average to bad to disastrous, and relegation is now a genuine possibility.

They are still in three competitions, however, and prior to their Champions League clash with Sevilla next week, they visit Millwall.

This feels like a nasty fixture for the Foxes, and with big names sure to be saved for Sevilla, picking up a win will not be easy.

Millwall have already knocked out Premier League duo Bournemouth and Watford, and you wouldn’t bet against them doing the same to Leicester.

In truth, the FA Cup will be bottom of Claudio Ranieri’s priorities and he’ll rotate heavily – another defeat would further crank up the pressure on the likeable Italian.

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Note that a draw here, forcing a replay, would mean Liverpool’s Premier League match at Leicester would be postponed – meaning three weeks without a Reds’ match!

1990s Rivalry Rekindled At Ewood Park

 A general view of Blackburn Rovers' Ewood Park Stadium before the FA Cup 6th Round Quarter-Final Replay match against Liverpool. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Man United and Blackburn Rovers were big rivals in the 1990s, but while United ended up dominating the English game, Blackburn faded into obscurity.

Rovers have seesawed between the Premier League and Championship over the last 20 years, but there has been very little to shout about of late under their controversial owners, Venkys.

On Sunday, the two teams do battle at Ewood Park, as the hosts look to see off a side improving all the time under Jose Mourinho.

It is difficult to see anything other than a United victory, considering Blackburn are currently flirting with relegation, but we can all dream of a cup shock.

At least United staying in gives them more games to contend with in the latter end of the season.

London Derby Between Fulham & Spurs

 Tottenham Hotspur's goalkeeper Hugo Lloris in action against Liverpool during the FA Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

These are the kind of games that have the potential to be very interesting, as long as both teams don’t treat the FA Cup as a chore.

Both Fulham and Tottenham are enjoying strong seasons in their respective leagues, and the added spice of it being a London derby makes it an inviting game on paper.

Spurs’ Europa League commitments on Thursday mean that a second-string lineup is likely, and it is times like these where their squad depth is tested.

The north Londoners have won just one trophy this century, but this current crop are good enough to end that drought. A piece of silverware would be huge for them, in terms of creating a winning mentality.

Fulham won’t make life easy for the visitors, but at best, you would expect them to take Spurs to a replay at White Hart Lane.

Fixtures, UK TV Info & Predictions

 Chelsea's manager Antonio Conte during the FA Premier League match against Liverpool at Stamford Bridge. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Saturday

Burnley vs. Lincoln – 12:30pm, BT Sport 2
Prediction: 2-0

Huddersfield vs. Man City – 3pm
Prediction: 1-3

Middlesbrough vs. Oxford – 3pm
Prediction: 2-0

Millwall vs. Leicester – 3pm
Prediction: 1-1

Wolves vs. Chelsea – 5:30pm, BT Sport 2
Prediction: 0-2

Sunday

Fulham vs. Tottenham – 2pm, BBC One
Prediction: 1-2

Blackburn vs. Man United – 4:15pm, BT Sport 2
Prediction: 0-2

Monday

Sutton vs. Arsenal – 19:55, BBC One
Prediction: 0-3

Categories: LFC NEWS

QUIZ: Can you name the match from the Liverpool starting lineup?

Fri, 17/02/2017 - 10:00
on 17 February 2017

Try your hand at naming the correct match to go with the Liverpool starting XI, with some interest lineups fielded in recent years – can you get all 10 correct?

Take our latest Reds quiz and let us know how you got on!

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Please only discuss the article above. General chat can be made on our forums at forums.thisisanfield.com

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Categories: LFC NEWS

City of Liverpool FC: Liverpool’s new noisy neighbours aiming for promotion in debut season

Thu, 16/02/2017 - 20:00

We spoke to Paul Manning, chairman of City of Liverpool FC, about how the city’s new team are making waves at the bottom of the football pyramid and converting a few LFC fans along the way.

City of Liverpool FC, who were founded in 2015, currently lie second in the Hallmark Security League Division 1 on the tenth and lowest rung of England’s football league pyramid.

That they’re challenging for promotion in their first season is an achievement in itself, but the club wouldn’t have expected anything less.

They’re an organisation whose aim is to be successful on the football field, and give something back to the less fortunate people in the city of Liverpool.

As well as the Purple Partisan supporters group which is mentioned below, the club also encourage international support through their Brigade Internacional.

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The Brigade already has supporters from all around the world, as far away as the USA, Canada, and Australia, as well as from the Scandiavian countries — Norway, Denmark, and Sweden — which have historic ties with the city of Liverpool.

We interviewed Paul back in October 2015 when the club was still in its embryonic stages, and now, with the club’s first season reaching an exciting finale, he gives us the lowdown on the fans, the club, and plans to move to their own ground in the city centre.

Spectators gather in front of the club house at the Delta Taxis Stadium, Bootle, Merseyside before City of Liverpool hosted Holker Old Boys in a North West Counties League division one match. Founded in 2015, and aiming to be the premier non-League club in Liverpool, City were admitted to the League at the start of the 2016-17 season and were using Bootle FC's ground for home matches. A 6-1 victory over their visitors took 'the Purps' to the top of the division, in a match watched by 483 spectators.

Even though you’re barely one season in, would you say City of Liverpool FC supporters have already found their own identity, and do the fans have any unique traits, songs, or customs?

There is no doubt that The Purple Partisans have found their own identity!

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From the first game at Prestatyn right through pre-season, our merry band of men, women, and children has solidified and grown into an homogeneous group of people roughly 350 strong.

Some of this has been moulded by the club (such as the creation of the Partisan List – think the Match Credits scheme at LFC but in reverse!), but so much more of it has come naturally and been instigated by the supporters themselves.

For example in an early game, one of the Partisans John Joynt was just shouting out “Purple Partisans” repeatedly, I latched on to that and named the Partisan list after it, another club Director drew a “Purple Partisans” logo and the rest was history.

The Purple Partisans were born and now have several sticker designs that get plastered all over the place.

There are flags, banners, and songs, and because it’s all organically done, not forced or manufactured, it feels fresh and fun and people are just enjoying it for what it is — making the match funny again.

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In our first home league game, we scored two injury time goals to win the match, and just by pure luck another Partisan, Jason Morland, captured both the goals and the reaction on video. Those two videos went viral and people quickly realised that something was happening at COLFC.

It encouraged other people to come along and enjoy the football again and the rest, as they say, is history!

Are there any instances of disillusioned fans of the city’s Premier League clubs adopting City of Liverpool FC as their new club, or do fans tend to support the club as a second team?

Home supporters celebrating their team's fourth goal at the Delta Taxis Stadium, Bootle, Merseyside as City of Liverpool hosted Holker Old Boys in a North West Counties League division one match. Founded in 2015, and aiming to be the premier non-League club in Liverpool, City were admitted to the League at the start of the 2016-17 season and were using Bootle FC's ground for home matches. A 6-1 victory over their visitors took 'the Purps' to the top of the division, in a match watched by 483 spectators.

There are loads of people who have completely ditched both LFC and EFC now that a viable and cost effective alternative is available. People have become completely addicted to football in the Hallmark Security League Division One!

Exotic but mostly unheard of places like Whitchurch, Eccleshall, Prestwich, Hanley, Chadderton, Bacup, & Silsden are suddenly front and centre of people’s plans – it’s astounding – and it’s not just when we are playing them either.

People are genuinely engrossed by thought of Charnock Richard playing Sandbach United on a Tuesday night in February and what it means to the league table!

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On occasions when COLFC have no game or have a game postponed due to weather, Purple Partisans frequently pop up at the matches of other teams.

Against that I’d say that for a large minority of our supporters Liverpool FC and to a lesser extent Everton FC are still the priority and COLFC is happy alternative when fixtures don’t clash.

We lose about 75-100 off our gate on the occasions that we have directly clashed with LFC (twice so far) and about 40-50 when we clash with Everton (four times).

We’ve done our best to accommodate people where we can. For example, putting a coach on to Anfield immediately after our game v Alsager at home, so people could get up to LFC for a 5.30 kick-off.

In reverse we put a coach on from Anfield to get people down to the Delta Taxis Stadium for a 3pm kick-off, after LFC kicked off at 12.30 recently against Wolves in the FA Cup.

So overall, it’s a bit of both really!

The club’s COLlective scheme aims to help local organisations improve, harnessing the spirit of City of Liverpool FC’s community owned ethos. Would you say the results of this scheme are as important as those on the pitch?


The whole project: City of Liverpool FC is a massive balancing act, where several pieces of the jigsaw are all in play at once and all as equally important as the other.

I think in all honestly, the results on the football pitch in this, our first season, have taken priority so far. In order to keep attracting people to come and watch us we have to have the match-day experience being enjoyable – the football has got to be good, the atmosphere engrossing, the beer nice, and the food enjoyable. All of those things have to be good, otherwise the whole thing is a bit pointless.

If people come once or twice and it’s all a bit dull and crap and they don’t come back again. Our attendances buck the trend which usually sees a new club have big initial attendances and then people don’t come back and the attendances fall away.

Our attendances held steady over the winter months and we are hoping (expecting!) that with the team pushing for the title / automatic promotion / play-offs, and the better weather that the Spring brings, that our crowds will go up.

Running a club at this level of football is an all-consuming task and with us being new to it, relatively speaking. It took all of our attention and we haven’t done as much with COLLective as we would have liked, but we recently made good on our commitment to sponsor the Edge Hill JFL and that is a big step forward for us.

We will be supporting over 400 kids who play in that league with a range of things from coaching to gifts and having our players and committee members on hand every Sunday morning to help out with anything that needs doing, and to just give something back for the community.

We expect to sponsor other leagues as we move forward as well to support as many junior footballers as we can.

Our sponsorship of the league will help them update their kitchen facilities at Botanic Park, which in turn will help them become more self-sufficient and we think that is great.

Though the club have been playing their home games in Bootle, at the Delta Taxis Stadium, is there a long term aim to have a home ground in the Liverpool city area?

Never mind long term aims! There is a short term aim to build our own ground in the City, and work is well underway on the project to locate and secure land that can house a stadium we can play on “now”, but that can also be developed as we hopefully grow.

There is a page on our website dedicated to this project which contains a lot of information and also features videos of project lead Peter Furmedge discussing our aims in a series of videos.

Creating a community stadium in our own City is a key strategic target of ours and one that we fully expect to make a reality.

We are estimating that ground sharing is costing us something along the lines of £100,000 per season in lost revenues, mostly from the Purple Partisans love for drinking beer, and we are keen to get them drinking our beer as soon as possible.

What have been the highlights from the first season, and what do you hope to achieve as a club in the next year or so?

Home players celebrating their team's second goal at the Delta Taxis Stadium, Bootle, Merseyside as City of Liverpool hosted Holker Old Boys in a North West Counties League division one match. Founded in 2015, and aiming to be the premier non-League club in Liverpool, City were admitted to the League at the start of the 2016-17 season and were using Bootle FC's ground for home matches. A 6-1 victory over their visitors took 'the Purps' to the top of the division, in a match watched by 483 spectators.

There are literally too many to mention but I’ll have a go in chronological order:

  • Playing our first ever game at Prestatyn. The culmination of 2 years work.
  • The equalising goal at Prescot Cables in pre-season. A proper match let off!
  • Coming from 2 goals down in injury time to beat Bacup Borough 3-2 in our first home league game — another mad let off.
  • Beating Litherland Remyca 3-2 at their ground. Always nice to win your derby.
  • Prestwich Heys away in the cup and two late goals see us through.
  • Beating Whitchurch Alport 2-1 away in November in a game billed as a title decider — in November!
  • Beating Holker 6-1 in front of the Sky Cameras and learning we had gone top of the league after the game. The bar that night was amazing.

Just generally seeing people marching up to the gatehouse to watch us play. I love seeing the crowds arrive and seeing so many familiar faces from 20-30 years of watching LFC as they bring their sons, daughters, granddads or whoever into a COLFC match with them.

This season we hope to win promotion to the Premier Division and maybe win a cup (or two) then next season, to have a season of stability at least as we adapt to the higher division.

We also hope to add a ladies team to our 1st team and reserves and perhaps an U18 team too.

We also definitely want to be a lot closer to our dream of playing in our own ground.

Maintaining and growing our attendances would be brilliant too!

* City of Liverpool FC play at the Delta Taxis Stadium in Bootle. Tickets are just £5 for adults and under-15s are free. Find the latest ticket info here, and give them a follow on Twitter @CityofLpoolFC.

Categories: LFC NEWS

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