Interviews

Divock Origi – ‘People forget I’m 20 but I have everything here to become a big player’

Origi celebrates against Dortmund

Origi celebrates against Dortmund

The 20 year old Belgium was preferred to Daniel Sturridge for the first leg with Borussia Dortmund, and he repaid his managers faith by scoring a crucial away goal.

It wasn’t just the fact that he scored but he put in a massive performance emphasising what Klopp wants in a striker, his movement and pace caused Dortmund problems all game but he also showcased the other part of his game which is he has gained a lot, which is his strength that he has gained recently and he used this to bring the midfielders into play.

Origi’s only real problem right now is the fact that he has scored just 6 goals this season in 28 appearances, with three of these coming against Southampton in the Capital One Cup, albeit most of his appearances have come from the bench.

He knows he has to improve but he needs time to develop into a accomplished striker for the Reds.

I have learned a lot, I’ve adapted a lot. I’m still young, only 20 and people sometimes forget that,” he said.

“I’m grateful to be at this big club, where people believe in me and everything is here for me to become a big player, which is my aim.

“I’m happy that I’m making these steps and hopefully that continues.

“It was playing a big team and as the striker I had a big responsibility [against Dortmund] but I felt the support of everybody from the coach to my team-mates and the fans.

“Everyone tried to help me as much as possible and it showed in my performance.

“You can feel the support and it gives me a boost. It does make a difference to experience that.

“Everyone said I should play to my qualities, which is getting in behind the defenders and taking them on one-on-one and of course, importantly, scoring.

“We worked a lot tactically and he (Klopp) knows my qualities and told me just to use them.

“I’m very happy that I could do this.”

Asked about who the favourites are of the tie going into the second leg at Anfield, Origi reiterated what Klopp said in his press conference which was that there are no favourites and the tie is evenly balanced.

“For me, there’s no favourites,” added Origi, who could make way for Sturridge to return against Stoke on Sunday.

“We are a good team and they are a good team. We have to show on the pitch we are capable of doing good things and we have to finish it off at Anfield.

“We have to be confident and if we are at 100 per cent, we will go through.”

 

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Brendan Rodgers praises Liverpool’s attacking display

Liverpool 5-3Liverpool won at the Brittania stadium in an enthralling encounter which finished 5-3 to the Reds.

Rodgers was keen to praise that attacking play that Liverpool produced, but also wanted to address the problems that Liverpool had at the back.

Liverpool cruised to a 2-0 lead thanks for a own goal from Stoke defender Ryan Shawcross and Luis Suarez latching onto a loose back header from Shawcross, but Liverpool were pulled back to 2-2 before half-time thanks to goals from former Reds Peter Crouch and Charlie Adam.

Liverpool then took the 4-2 lead through a penalty from Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez’s 22 goal of the season, Stoke then pulled the game back to 4-3 through Jonathon Walters to make for a agonising finish but Daniel Sturridge on his return scored the goal to finish Stoke off.

The Reds boss told Sky Sports: “I thought they were brilliant. To come here and get five goals and put in the work and the effort is fantastic. I’m delighted for the players.

“We went out in the second half and we went again. That shows the character of the team.

“We spoke briefly afterwards, we made mistakes without being cut open and we need to tidy that up. But we were really exciting going forward.”

Liverpool’s third goal at the Britannia came from the penalty spot, after a contentious decision as Raheem Sterling went down under light contact from Marc Wilson.

Rodgers accepts that his side were slightly fortunate to be given the decision, which infuriated Stoke boss Mark Hughes.

He added: “I thought it was soft. It was one where, if you’re the attacking team, you’re happy to get it.

“I’d call it a ‘Spanish penalty’, one where the attacker goes into the defender – the defender obviously doesn’t get the ball – but the contact puts him over.

“Everyone around us won yesterday. We just have to control our own destiny.”

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Rodgers lavishes praise on goalkeeper Simon Mignolet

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers lavished praise on new Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, after he saved a last minute Liverpool to help Liverpool to a deserving 1-0 victory over Stoke City.

The Reds took a first half lead with a stunning 25 yard strike from Daniel Sturridge and looked on course to comfortably pick up the victory until Daniel Agger handled the ball in the penalty area to give Stoke a penalty.

Mignolet saved the resulting penalty from Jonathon Walters, in the process rescuing all three points for Liverpool in their first game of the season.

Rodgers told his post-match press conference: “He made three terrific saves in the game. He had one in the first half when Jonathan Walters had a great turn and shot and Simon stretched and got a strong arm to the corner on the left side.

“Obviously when you don’t take your chances – and we created numerous chances and didn’t do that – and then get a penalty against you at the end, there’s sometimes that sinking feeling.

“But he’d done his homework and knows exactly where all the penalty takers are going. It was a good first save and then obviously the reaction to get up and make the second save was impressive.

“I think from that, you also saw the spirit in the team, what we’re trying to cultivate here as well and the energy and attitude of the players.

“It was terrific performance all round – but of course, the goalkeeper gets the plaudits when he saves a penalty right at the end.”

Mignolet’s save prompted joyous scenes of celebration as Liverpool got the new season up and running with a victory.

Rodgers added: “I’m delighted – I’m just delighted for the players. The work they put in over the course of pre-season and their focus and concentration amid everything that was thrown at them at the club, to come out and play like that, create as many chances as they did and get the win was excellent.

“There was a great atmosphere, it was a wonderful day and it’s the first three points of hopefully many more.”

Mignolet was not the only debutant in the match, as Kolo Toure and Iago Aspas both made their Premier League debuts for Liverpool.

“Kolo introduced himself to the crowd when he jumped about seven foot five in the first couple of minutes of the game – it was a wonderful leap and I think you could see his energy and enthusiasm,” said the boss.

“When we lost Jamie Carragher last year, we were losing real experience – but Kolo comes in and offers that. He was excellent.

“Mignolet was very good and Iago Aspas is a real bright and clever player. In and around the edge of the box, he wants to shoot, he wants to combine with people and that’s something that’s important for us. I thought for 70 minutes he was excellent.

“Tactically he understands the game and what we’re trying to do here. All across the board, it was very good.”

Rodgers also praised Daniel Sturridge, who has only been training for two weeks and was rated at being eighty per cent fit for the match and played 90 minutes.

“Considering he’s only been back just over two weeks from his injury, I think he’s a great credit,” said the manager.

“He played 90 minutes in midweek in a game behind closed doors, so to come out and play another 90 today was really putting himself out there.

“Just at the point before he scored, I’d made a note for him to maybe take more shots because our combination play was great.

“It was a really good move, we showed great patience to pass and to probe to get the space. You saw Daniel’s power, he’s got a wonderful left foot and it was a terrific finish.

“He’s disappointed he never got a few more, but he continues to score and that’s why he’s here. That’s his job.”

He replied: “At the minute, the concentration is on the players who are available to play. Luis is doing his work and there’s nothing to be said there. For us, it’s about continuing with the momentum coming through from last season and winning games, which is what we’re here for.

“He’s a part of our team and a part of the club. The supporters are a class act here – the classic Liverpool Way is to always support the players and the manager. That’s what they always do.”

Rodgers continued: “I won’t be saying anything on Luis Suarez and it’s only purely out of respect for the players that are working hard at the minute.

“All I will say is I am very satisfied with how everything has been resolved and we as a club are now looking to the future and moving on.”

Meanwhile, on the prospect of adding his squad before the close of transfer window, Rodgers said: “We’re confident of having one or two in before the window shuts, but there are no names, just speculation.”

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Rodgers: Suarez worth close to 100million if Bale is worth that

Brendan Rodgers has stated that Suarez and Bale are not that far apart in terms of quality, and has revealed that if Madrid are willing to pay 100million for Bale then that is what it is going to take to prize away Suarez from Anfield.

“Every single player in the world will be open to that, but it’s not something we’re thinking about, to be honest,” he said.

“I was on the phone to the owners last night and they know what we’re trying to do here. We’re trying to build the group up and we’re in no hurry to sell Luis or any other player.

“Throughout the world, every player has a value and worth. You look at the market and £40,000,001 – when Gareth Bale they are talking about [a lot more than that].

“Gareth Bale and Luis Suarez were arguably the two best players in the Premier League last year and you can’t say Gareth Bale is valued at 100 per cent more!

“We as a club are very strong in what we’re doing and there won’t be anyone moving out of here in a hurry.”

Asked if there was any update on Suarez’s future, Rodgers added: “There are lots of stories that are going on around Luis but there’s no change in it.

“We’ve had two bids from one club. That was nowhere near the valuation in the market now for a top, top player.

“Until there’s anything dramatic that changes he’s still in working. We’ve got to get him up to speed.

“It’s very, very simple. We don’t want to sell him. He’s a top player and we’re trying to build something here.

“There’s nothing new to report other than he’s working well and he got a great reception today.”

Rodgers has today reiterated the clubs desire to keep Suarez and was not surprised by the standing ovation Suarez received when coming onto the pitch.

“It was probably not the reception that you guys thought!” the boss told journalists after the 2-0 victory over Olympiacos.

“It just shows you the class of the Liverpool supporters. Maybe people wondered what kind of reception he would get but that’s the type of supporters Liverpool are. They love their own, and Luis is still very much part of the group and the team.

“They’ve given him everything, the supporters here.

“He was probably humbled by the reception. There might have been that wee bit of trepidation about the reaction he might have got, but people who’ve been at this club a lot longer than me and know the Liverpool way, they know the fans always respect their people and respect their own.

“Today was another message from them that they love him here. We all love him, as a manager, players and supporters. We’re trying to keep our best players.

“We only want players who are totally, 100 per cent committed to being here. I’ve spoken to Luis countless times over the summer and, of course, speculation can always be difficult for players, but he’s back training and playing.

“The more he’s around the group, the more he’s around the great support here… And days like today, and during the tour –  if ever anyone wanted to know the status of Liverpool Football Club they did while we were on tour and today.

“This is a remarkable football club and I don’t think you want to leave one of the biggest clubs in world football in a hurry. He knows that.”

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Rodgers: Not many teams can pull off what our fans did

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has stated that not many teams in world football can pull off what Liverpool have done after traveling to Indonesia and Australia.

Liverpool pulled off a sell out 83,000 in the 2-0 victory over Indonesia XI and pulled of a incredible 95,000 sell out at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in the 2-0 victory over Melbourne Victory.

Rodgers watched from the sidelines as Steven Gerrard and Iago Aspas both scored in a comfortable 2-0 victory on Wednesday.

Rodgers told reporters: “It’d be disrespectful to start with anything other than the crowd. It was a huge honour. I want to put on record a huge thank-you to the people of Melbourne and Australia.

“They can be very proud of what they put on here tonight. The ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ at the beginning was a real tear-jerker.

“There are not many clubs who could do what we’ve done in the past week – 83,000 in Indonesia and a sell-out at the MCG. It was our first time here and I’m sure we’ll be back again.

“The hotel has been mobbed every day since we’ve been here. And the sheer passion and intensity that the people have is amazing.

“Throughout today, I’d been getting messages from family members who are out here for the game, and they were saying that Melbourne has just been a sea of red all day.

“I knew it was going to be a special night, but it’s not until you go out there and you really see how vocal the supporters were and the incredible ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ [that you realise].

“It’s a day that hopefully many of the supporters over here in Australia will never forget.”

The support of Liverpool is still one of the best in world football, despite not being in the Champions League for the last couple of seasons. The sheer numbers that have come out to see Liverpool play in Indonesia and now Melbourne is incredible.

Rodgers insists he is relishing the prospect of taking Liverpool back up in the league table, where they deserve to be.

“We’re trying to build something here,” said the boss. “But when you’re at a club of this size, you expect there to be pressure to succeed and that comes with being the manager of Liverpool.

“It was the reason I came here; the challenge of coming to Liverpool and trying to restore the club to where it was at. We knew it was going to take a bit of time. We’re certainly making progress and hopefully we can have a real good season this season.”

The obvious question was then directed Rodgers way in regards to Suarez’s future at Liverpool. The Uruguayan came on late in the second half and set up Iago Aspas for a tap-in to make it 2-0 Liverpool.

The boss said: “There’s nothing new to report. He’s very much a Liverpool player and over the course of the next couple of weeks we’ve got to get him up to speed.

“The support he has received from the supporters and the people of the city of Liverpool has been unrivalled. In this period of time he’s missed a lot of games for the club through various reasons. The people have stood by him, like a son and really looked after him.

“Whatever happens in the coming weeks that will be in his mind because it’s something you can never forget.”

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Gerrard: It’s great to be back

Steven Gerrard completed his first 45 minutes of football since having a shoulder operation in the 2-0 victory over Indonesia XI on Saturday.

Goals from Coutinho and Raheem Sterling sealed the win for Liverpool and Steven Gerrard was replaced at the half-time interval for Joe Allen, the 33-year-old declared after the match that ‘it was great to be back.’

“It’s nice to play football again in front of our all our supporters,” the skipper told LFC TV.

“My shoulder felt fantastic, so it was nice to get the first 45 minutes under my belt and hopefully I’ll get slightly more time in Australia.

“It’s been feeling fine now for a few weeks in training, there have been absolutely no problems. The surgeon gave me the go-ahead to play tonight and the manager was sensible in giving me 45 minutes. I’m really happy with how I feel.

“It was a difficult game. There’s no air out there to breathe and recover after long runs and the training has been very tough, so the legs are heavy. But we won the game and we got the fitness in.

“At the moment, it’s all about the fitness and getting the physical condition back. The results are not really too important, but we’re happy with the win and we move on to the next game. Hopefully we’ll feel better physically.”

New signings Simon Mignolet, Kolo Toure, Luis Alberto and Iago Aspas all started the match at the Gelora Bung Karno National Stadium.

In the time they played Alberto rattled the crossbar and looked lively throughout, Aspas was dangerous throughout and Mignolet and Toure both looked solid.

“I thought that all the new lads did well tonight,” said Gerrard. “I thought [Mignolet] was fantastic with his feet and he did everything well.

“Toure looked assured at the back and was very vocal. People are talking about missing Jamie [Carragher] and Jamie’s voice, but I thought Kolo led from the back tonight.

“The two Spanish lads, as I said earlier in the week, are wonderful technicians on the ball. Aspas works his socks off for the team and you can see Alberto’s quality. That’s what we bought him for – to play against sides where it’s difficult and you need someone to unlock the door.

“They’re the magicians who are going to unlock the defence. I’m really pleased with all the newcomers tonight.”

Gerrard reserved his final praises to the support they were given buy the Indonesian fans.

It was a night to remember for Gerrard who has played in a Champions League final and FA Cup finals but this will be remembered by Gerrard.

“It was unique,” he said. “It’s difficult to put it into words when talking to people back home on the phone. But I think the game was live, so I think they saw it for themselves.

“There was close to 60,000 people in here tonight, which is mind-blowing. There are very few sides in the world – never mind Europe – who can match that support and we’re very lucky to have that support.”

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Ibe: I was so relieved at scoring my first goal I did not have a celebration

Liverpool youngster Jordan Ibe struck his fist goal for Liverpool during the 4-0 friendly win over Preston on Saturday and later revealed he was so relieved the ball crossed the line to score his first senior goal for the Reds he did not have a celebration.

The 17-year-old made his debut in the last game of the previous season where he impressed after setting up Coutinho for a 1-0 win over QPR. Ibe buried a low strike from the edge of the box into the back of the net ten minutes from halftime at Deepdale.

“It felt really good, especially scoring and playing with the first team. I enjoyed it a lot,” he told LFC TV post-match.

“I was waiting for the ball to cross the line; I didn’t have a celebration so I just put my hands in front of my face. I was so relieved, and I looked at Brendan.

“I’ve always wanted to score in an important match, especially playing with the first team, so once that went over the line I felt so happy.”

Ibe has been training with the first team since pre-season started in July and the 17-year-old is eager to continue his progress at Liverpool this year, with Rodgers willing to give Ibe a chance for the up-coming season.

The No.44 added: “The pre-season has been going well. We have been doing some hard work – running and whatnot.

“I’m just learning from the first-team players and trying to show that until the season starts. Hopefully I can do well.

“I’m learning a lot, especially with defending. The gaffer is helping me a lot with when I haven’t got the ball, coming to tuck in and watching the full-back and centre-back; knowing what to do when I haven’t got the ball.

“Hopefully I can be consistent and play well, so hopefully I can get a chance again in the first team. When I play, hopefully I can get a goal and help the squad do well this season.”

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Rodgers impressed by debutants

Liverpool introduced four new signings to the fray in Liverpool’s 4-0 win over Preston at Deepdale and Rodgers was highly impressed with all four.

Simon Mignolet and Kolo Toure started the game while Luis Alberto and Iago Aspas came on in the second half with the latter scoring the fourth goal in the game.

Phillipe Coutinho swept home a penalty and Jordan Ibe scored his first goal for the club with Liverpool going in at 2-0 at halftime. Raheem Sterling scored the third goal with a smart finish after Aspas found the pass and the new man from Celta Vigo scored the fourth from range.

Afterwards, the manager told LFC TV: “The players have been back for 11 days now and I thought their work-rate, quality and intensity in the game was very good. So I’m very pleased.

“Mignolet was very confident and very composed. He had a great day today. Everything he did, he did it well. And he’s already integrated really well and I thought he was solid.

“Toure is a very experienced professional. I was actually watching him last night on ESPN when he played for Arsenal at Anfield in the 2003-04 season. So he’s been around for a long time and he’s a wonderful player. He’s got great experience and he defends really well.

“Then in the second half I thought the two boys did really well. Alberto fits into the mould of what we’re looking to do here. We want technically gifted players who work hard and some of his touches were fantastic. He’s incisive with his passing. And so I’m very pleased with him.

“Iago works hard; he’s got a trick in and around the box and he excites supporters. He’s a good guy and he works very hard for the supporters.

“He drifts well in between the lines and always wants to receive the ball. But what I like is that he wants to score goals. He’s looking to create and combine or go solo by himself and get a shot in. His goal was a terrific strike.”

It was also a good day for some returning faces with Raheem Sterling, Joe Allen and Martin Kelly all returning from injury.

“With Joe there was no problem,” said Rodgers. “He was a bit like Steven Gerrard [in that he underwent shoulder surgery] but he had an operation before [Gerrard]. And there’s no after-effects.

“And with Martin it was good to see him come back. He’s trained throughout pre-season and done a couple of days of this week. It was a nice induction for him and that gets him up and running again.”

Up next for Rodgers and his players is a summer tour of Jakarta, Melbourne and Bangkok, to pay a visit to the many thousands of passionate Reds fans who follow the club from afar.

“It’s very important for a club like Liverpool to travel worldwide and see our supporters,” said the manager.

“It’s going to be an exhausting trip but we’ve had a couple of weeks here to get some work in.

“So we’re looking forward to bringing the club and the team over to Asia and the players and staff are all looking forward to it.”

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