Monthly Archives: April 2014

Luis Suarez surprised by Liverpool’s title charge

Luis Suarez has stated that even he is surprised by Liverpool’s title challenge, with the financial firepower of teams like Manchester City and Chelsea.

The Uruguayan, who is likely to be crowned PFA player of the year this Sunday, cannot believe the progress from seventh last season to potential champions this season.

“It would be something that no one would believe,” said Suárez . “We have good players, but if you look at the complete squad, we don’t have the tools to be up there. The truth is that we have surprised ourselves at how well we’re playing. We have good players who are demonstrating why they are at Liverpool and it would be something amazing for the Premier League because of the investment made by Chelsea, City, and Arsenal. Even Tottenham have spent over £100 million and we, with so little investment, are in that position. It would be incredible.”

With Liverpool in a good position to keep hold of their star striker, having Suarez sign a contract extension earlier this season. Liverpool have guaranteed Champions League football and could become English champions, so are in a great position for a non-disruptive summer with Suarez.

Speaking about next seasons Champions League “There is a lot of potential,” he said. “There are young players such as Sturridge, Coutinho, Luis Alberto who hasn’t played much, Joe Allen and Flanagan. All of them are good young players that have played a lot this year and, with a couple of good players that could come into the team with European experience, it could help us.”

 

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Liverpool look to move in for Konoplyanka this summer

KonoplyankaLiverpool look set to approach Dnipro for their star player Yevhen Konoplyanka, who nearly signed in the summer only for the deal to break on the last day of the transfer window.

Last summer Liverpool activated the 16million contract clause in the 24-year-old’s contract, with the player himself keen to join the club.

The move fell apart apart on the last day of the transfer period, with Dnipro’s president Ihor Kolomoyskyi refusing to sanction the transfer.

Rodgers has been a long term admirer of the Ukrainian and said this about the deal just after January “If we feel he can improve us, we are a professional club. There will be a greater market to look at then but it wouldn’t stop us. I’ve heard it mentioned the problem was about the money, but that was not a problem. It just wasn’t to be,” Rodgers explained.

“I feel really sorry for the player because he was obviously desperate to come but it’s gone now and we will review it in the summer,” the Liverpool manager said.

Konoplyanka has played well for Dnipro this season making 18 appearances scoring 6 goals in the process, including a good showing in the Europa League game against Tottenham scoring from the penalty spot in the 1-0 first leg victory.

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Napoli show interest in Daniel Agger, as Liverpool eye up summer move for Papadopoulos

AggerNapoli are preparing to test Liverpool’s resolve to keep hold of Danish defender Daniel Agger, just as Rodgers looks to improve the Reds defence.

Liverpool have been long-term admirers of Kyriakos Papadopoulos, having shown an interest last summer.

The Greek centre-half has made just 4 appearances for Schalke this season, having been struggling with a knee injury, and has made just 61 appearances in 4 seasons for the German side, proving to be a very injury prone defender.

When the 22-year-old does play there is no questioning his ability, he puts his body on the line and is one of the toughest defenders going around.

If Liverpool do push on with the move for Papadopoulos this would push Agger even further down the pecking order at Liverpool.

Rodgers has often opted to play Skrtel and Sakho ahead of Agger, with the Dane struggling for fitness himself this season.

Questions have been asked over the defense of Liverpool all season, with Skrtel being the only mainstay in the team all season. Sakho’s performances have left people wondering, Toure has made calamitous errors, while Agger has had a stop-start season.

Former Reds boss Rafael Benetez is a big admirer of Agger still, having signed the Dane for Liverpool when he was in charge, and he now wants the 29-year-old to join him at Napoli.

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Sturridge declares himself fit for crucial game against Chelsea

Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge has declared himself fit to play in Liverpool’s crunch clash with Chelsea, With possibly Chelsea being knocked out of the Premier League title race.

Sturridge was a doubt for this game after picking up a hamstring injury in the 3-2 victory over Manchester City, missing the 3-2 victory over Norwich City.

In a Q&A session with kids who are given a chance to play football in coaching sessions with LFC foundation. When asked if he will play against Chelsea Sturridge said “Hopefully this weekend I’ll be back.”

Regarding a question as to whether or not Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers will play Sturridge in the critical match he responded “I’m not too sure if he’ll play me or not. We’ll have to see.”

He was then asked as to whether or not he will celebrate if he scored against his former club, Chelsea, this weekend…admitting that it will cause him a few problems.

“I would like to show respect to my former club, but if I were to come on and score in the last minute I’m going to be on a mad one, aren’t I?” he laughed. “I don’t want to – but I don’t know if I could control myself if that happened.”

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Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers set to have 60million war-chest to spend

Rodgers to be rewarded

Rodgers to be rewarded

Brendan Rodgers will be given the biggest war-chest in the history of Liverpool FC as a reward for guaranteeing Liverpool Champions League football, and possibly delivering the Premier League title.

Premier League leaders Liverpool can finish no lower than third place, which automatically places them in the Champions’ League group stages, well before of schedule.

Rodgers will be given at least 60million to spend, plus any made from sales.

Ian Ayre confirmed on Tuesday that Liverpool will be spending in the summer to help Liverpool challenge in more competitions.

Ayre said “What we achieved on Sunday was massive. This isn’t just about getting in the qualifiers [by finishing fourth] – we are guaranteed Champions League football. It is an unbelievable achievement from where we were.

“There is no question we always expected that the squad we need for next season will be very different to the squad that we have needed for this year when we were not playing in Europe. That has always been on the cards.

“We set out with an ambition to get into the Champions League, and now we are guaranteed third and we are determined to push on. It is all important for what we are trying to achieve.”

“It will cost what it costs when we decide who the manager wants to buy, but it has always been tougher in the transfer market when you are not competing at the highest level,” he added.

“We had the issue with Luis (Suarez, who was chased by Arsenal) last summer because he wanted to play in the best games against the best players. That is always a factor.

“There is no question it opens up a few doors for us and makes it a little bit easier.

“Even when you step through that door though, there are still a lot of others trying to get the same players. You can’t trade on a name, absolutely. You get a little bit of that, but there is definitely a challenge. That’s the reality.”

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Chelsea due Petr Cech and John Terry out for rest of the season

Terry injuryChelsea have been handed a double blow for the conclusion of the Premier League run in with star due John Terry and Petr Cech out for the rest of the campaign.

Chelsea have been without Hazard and Eto before their crucial Champions League tie against Atletico Madrid, and now look to miss another two players.

Terry suffered an injury to his foot while Petr Cech has picked up a dislocated shoulder, with Mourinho guaranteeing that they won’t be back in the near future.

Manager Jose Mourinho said: “Petr Cech’s season is over. Don’t ask me technically, but season over.

“And John – we have to play the final for him to play with us.”

“We had problems before the game, we had problems during the game, we lost four players during the game, two with injuries, two with yellow cards, but we will fight,” added Mourinho.

“Ivanovic is back, Schwarzer showed clearly that we can trust him. People that are not playing a lot, like for example Ashley Cole, put in an amazing performance.”

Chelsea go to Anfield in a crucial game that they need to win to stay in the title race, with this news Liverpool and Man City have a massive advantage over their title rivals.

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Barcelona look to sell Liverpool target for 8million

TelloBarcelona are prepared to sell 22-year-old winger Christian Tello this summer for 8million, with Liverpool and AC Milan vying for his services.

Liverpool have been long term admirers of Tello, who came through the Barcelona youth academy. The Merseyside club made a failed attempt to sign Tello on loan in the summer.

Tello has made 19 league appearances this season for the Catalan club, 17 of those coming off the bench.

It is believed that Tello has scheduled a meeting with Barcelona’s Sporting Director Andoni Zubizarreta for the end of the season, but it is believed that Barcelona will look to sell Tello for any bids in excess of 8million.

With Liverpool being in the Champions League next season they are looking at options to further improve the depth of the squad to compete in cup competitions as well as the league.

 

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Skrtel praises Reds collective effort

Martin Skrtel praised Liverpool’s collective effort to pick up all three points in a hard thought 3-2 victory over Norwich City.

Liverpool raced into a two goal lead thanks for goals from Luis Suarez and Raheem Sterling, Gary Hooper pulled a goal back for the Canaries before Sterling scored his second to give Liverpool their two goal advantage back.

Robert Snodgrass scored in the 77th minute to set up a tense finish to the match, but Liverpool came through the game and went 5 points clear at the top of the table.

Speaking to his official website, Skrtel reflected: “We have three very precious points.

“The first half was really good, we were dominant, scored two goals and also kept them at bay, but the second half was different.

“They played really well and never gave up. We didn’t play that well in the second half but we fought very hard and we won. It was a collective effort.

“Now we have one week to get ready for Chelsea and obviously everyone knows what a game that is.”

 

 

 

 

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Sterling: We go again next week

Liverpool’s young starlet Raheem Sterling says Liverpool are still focusing on one game at a time, with title rivals Chelsea to play at Anfield on Sunday.

Sterling has scored 10 goals this season for the Reds, with a real chance of being on the plane with England for the World up.

“We are taking it step by step,” insisted Sterling. “We know what a big part of the season this is. We will just go into Chelsea and try and do what we did against Norwich. We go again next weekend.

“We come in every day, we see each other and we know what the dream is. We are keeping each other modest. If we keep working hard, there is a real goal at the end of it. We just have to keep our head down, keep working hard and concentrate on the weekend.”

Sterling scored two vital goals for Liverpool at the weekend in the vital 3-2 victory over Norwich City, also claiming the man of the match award.

The 19-year-old dedicated his stunning opener to manager Brendan Rodgers and the faith that the Reds boss has had in him.

“He has had belief in me, he has put me in different positions and had the faith to try me there,” the 19-year-old told the Liverpool Echo.

“He has had great faith and I am just glad I got a goal for him and a goal for the team. I knew there was a lot more to come from me. I just needed to have confidence and right now my confidence is sky high.

“It was a great win against Norwich. We knew there was pressure on us but we just took it as another game. The last 10 minutes were a bit nerve-racking but I thought everyone did collectively well. We fought for our lives, and we got the result in the end.

“The manager told us to make sure a result like the Chelsea one [against Sunderland] didn’t happen to us. He told us Norwich are fighting to stay up and we knew what to expect. We did really well to stay together when it was tough late on. We got the three points, and that’s all that matters.”

 

 

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Opinion: Player of the year ordered

6. Adam Lallana

Not to many people knew what this lad was capable of at the start of the season, people are aware now. He has played in every one of Southampton’s 35 Premier league games so far this season, racking up an impressive 9 goals from midfield. He has burst on the international scene with England and is a dead cert to be on the plane to Brazil for England. The 25-year-old has more tactical ability that most England players lack and has a great creative ability to set other players up. The best clubs in the Premier League have put Lallana on their wanted list with Manchester United and Liverpool showing strong interest. Southampton have had a good season and have produced a number of good players with Lallana being the stand out performer, he doesn’t quite match up to the seasons that other players have had but does thoroughly deserve his place in the top six.

5. Daniel Sturridge

The first of three Liverpool players listed for the Player of the Year award is Daniel Sturridge who has had a great season at the Merseyside club. Sturridge has scored an impressive 20 goals in just 26 league appearances, with a further 7 assists to add to that. Sturridge is another certainty to be on the plane to Brazil for England and will most likely be in the starting eleven. Sturridge could have been higher on the list but his season has been derailed by a number of injuries, although none to serious. Sturridge is a striker that will drift in and out of games but give the lad one chance and he will punish you with his finishing ability. Liverpool picked up a real bargain in signing Sturridge for just 12million from Chelsea and has proved his doubters wrong this season playing a key role in Liverpool’s title bid.

 

4. Eden Hazard

It took Hazard a while to adjust to English football after his 32million move from Lille to Chelsea, but this season he has been a revelation for Chelsea. Chelsea often play three attacking midfielders behind the striker and Hazard is always one of them. Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho likes to swap and change with the team resting key players but with Hazard he knows he has to play the Belgium winger. Hazard has scored a total of 14 goals in 33 league appearances, and is still at the tender age of just 23 years of age. Hazard has all the qualities to be potentially one of the best footballers in the world in a couple of years, he has pace, can finish and can dribble with the ball past the best defenders in the world.

 

3. Yaya Toure

Yaya Toure has revelled in the fact that new Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini has given the three time African player of the year more licence to go further up the field. The manager has been rewarded in his decision with Toure, 30, scoring 18 goals in 31 league appearances. His best goal tally previously was 6 league goals in Man City’s previous three seasons, tripling his previous goal tally for City. Toure is has got raw power and very surprising speed for a man of his size. Yaya Toure has led Man City on a title charge, but whenever he has been missing, not surprising, Man City have not played as well. Often at times this season he has switched between attack and defence depending on the game, but usually has licence to be a box-to-box midfield and roam the field.

 

2. Steven Gerrard

Nobody thought Steven Gerrard could have a season like he has at the age of 33,but Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers decision to play Gerrard in a deeper role for the Reds has worked a treat. Gerrard does not need to run as much as he used to and he can sit back and supply the balls for players of the calibre of Suarez, Sturridge, Sterling etc. The Liverpool skipper has scored 13 goals this season, his second best total in the Premier League. With 10 assists this season he has been a creative force for Liverpool in their overall game. When Liverpool have needed a cool head to convert vital penalties in big games Gerrard has stepped up to the park to convert them. It’s not just his overall game as the reason he is this high on the list it’s his leadership on and off pitch. Liverpool have a relatively young and inexperienced team and need to have a leader on the pitch to get them through the games, this was emphasised most in the emotion and the team huddle led by Gerrard at the end of the critical Manchester City win telling the other players to go into the next game exactly the same. The skipper has had a great influence in Liverpool’s title bid and even non-Liverpool fans want Gerrard to finally claim a Premier League winners medal.

1. Luis Suarez

Surely this is the year that Luis Suarez can win the player of the year award after having a remarkable season at Liverpool. Suarez was well on course to possibly winning it last season, but the now infamous moment of madness with Ivanovic caused Suarez to be banned for 10 games. Suarez has scored an incredible 30 goals in 30 league appearances, having missed the first five games of the season due to the ban. Suarez is currently regarded by many as the third best player in world football, behind Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. The Uruguayan deserves credit for turning his career around with dazzling performances on the pitch, having been looking like Suarez would Leave Liverpool in the summer. But, recently he has signed a new contract at Anfield and he couldn’t look happier as Liverpool lead the league currently by five points. The 27-year-old has notched 12 assists this season to top both the scorers and the assists charts currently. Suarez has earned peoples respect on the pitch and deservedly deserves to win the player of the year award.

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