Senin, 29 Oktober 2012

Schalke midfielder Lewis Holtby has Premier League offer

Lewis Holtby: Schalke midfielder is wanted in England and Spain

The 22-year-old is out of contract at the end of the season and has previously expressed a wish to play in the Premier League in the future.

He is a boyhood Everton fan, but reports over the weekend suggested Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers wants to bring Holtby to Anfield.

Inter Milan have also been linked with the player, but Holtby's agent Markus Noack says no decision has yet been taken regarding where he will be next season.

"We are talking with Schalke about a possible extension for another three years," Noack told

"Talks are going well at the moment but the situation has definitely changed in the last period because several offers from Spain and England came in.

"Lewis is very good at Schalke but above all there is an English club which has made a very interesting proposal.

"My client will have to decide whether to continue to grow in Germany or to try a new experience at the end of this season.

"Inter Milan? We have not received any proposals from Italy and he would prefer [to play in] the Premier League and La Liga."

Hamburg star Heung-Min Son is yet to open talks over a new contract

Heung-Min Son: Yet to pen new deal at Hamburg

A host of clubs including Liverpool have been linked with the Asian marksman, who has scored five goals in nine appearances so far this season.

But despite speculation that he was ready to pen a new long-term contract, with his current deal due to expire in 2014, Son admits that he is not aware of any talks.

He told the Hamburger Morgenpost: "I am yet unaware if I am to sign a new deal with Hamburger SV this winter.

"Still there is no doubt I am very happy about the circumstance of being a player of Hamburger SV. I like the club and I love the fans as much as they love me."

Minggu, 28 Oktober 2012

Everton remain six points clear of Liverpool after 2-2 draw

Steven Naismith: First Everton goal secures a point in Merseyside derby

Leighton Baines' own goal and Luis Suarez's header were cancelled out by Leon Osman and Steven Naismith in a helter-skelter opening half, with Suarez's injury-time disallowed effort adding late controversy.

Kevin Mirallas created early danger when he weaved his way down the inside-left channel but Martin Skrtel was on hand to cut out his driven cross.

Moments later Jose Enrique skipped free down the left and his delivery found its way to Suarez, whose drilled cross-shot flew in off the back of Baines' leg (14).

If Suarez's celebratory swan dive in front of the home bench angered the Everton faithful, their mood darkened further when the Uruguayan stole in to glance home a header from Steven Gerrard's free-kick (20).

Osman (22) gave the home side an instant lift as Brad Jones' weak punch fell perfectly for the Everton midfielder to slot home from 18 yards, courtesy of a slight deflection off Joe Allen.

Suarez was threatening at the other end while Jones was again unconvincing dealing with a high ball under pressure as both defences looked bereft of confidence.

The Liverpool keeper was helpless when Naismith timed his run perfectly to meet Marouane Fellaini's clipped cross to claim the equaliser with his first goal for Everton (35).

Andre Wisdom's cross just eluded Suarez but Raheem Sterling then produced a horrendous shank when clean through on Tim Howard.

The Everton keeper parried Gerrard's long-range free-kick while Nikica Jelavic, who had struggled all afternoon, planted a free header wide.

A prone Phil Jagielka denied Gerrard a late winner while Baines had to be alert to deny a darting Suarez as ill-will trumped skill in a niggly final quarter.

Suarez thought he had won it deep in added time as he latched onto Sebastian Coates' knockdown, but his flicked finish was ruled out for a debatable offside decision.

Liverpool had fielded five derby debutant s - Sterling, Andre Wisdom, Nuri Sahin, Suso and Joe Allen - with Everton having just two in Kevin Mirallas and Naismith.

That may have contributed to what was a first 45 minutes so open it belied its history of being the oldest and longest-running cross-city rivalry in English football.

There was also the sight of Suarez's reaction to the opening goal as he raced to the dug-out to dive full-length in front of Toffees boss David Moyes after his pre-match comments about players going to ground easily.

Ironically, later in the half, it was one of Moyes' own players Phil Neville who was booked for diving on the edge of Liverpool's penalty area.

Derbies can do strange things to people - highlighted by Neville's diving aberration - and the sight of Tim Howard, one of football's genuine nice guys, hurtling out of his goal in an attempt to get 17-year-old Sterling sent off for what he thought was a second bookable offence was also ungentlemanly and unnecess ary.

EvertonTeam StatisticsLiverpool
21st Half Goals2
4Shots on Target3
9Shots off Target8
3Blocked Shots2
4Yellow Cards< /td>3
0Red Cards0
78.5Passing Success76.8
55Tackles Success82.6
59.8Territorial Advantage40.2
400Total Passes314
34Total Crosses17
168Lost Balls158
55.91st Half Poss.44.1
56.22nd Half Poss.43.8

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers felt officials wrong to disallow Luis Suarez's goal

Luis Suarez had his effort in the dying embers of the game controversially ruled out for offside when television replays showed the striker was clearly onside when he put the ball past Tim Howard.

Rodgers admitted the decision was hard to take, but he declared himself proud of his players after marking his first Merseyside derby with a draw.

"I think everyone has seen it was a clear goal, fantastic header by Sebastian and obviously he has timed his run perfectly Luis, but sometimes it happens like that," Rodgers told Sky Sports.

"It was a wonderful game and I am very, very proud of the team today. Everton are a strong side and they have started very well and we are still getting together and defining how we play, but I thought we were fantastic today.

"But I had to make a tactical change at half-time as there were a lot of direct balls, no great build-up play and we had to deal with a lot of aerial balls in the box, so we flipped it to a back three and five in midfield and two up front to still give us that possibility to attack better and I thought it worked really well for us.

"It was a wonderful game, but obviously we would have preferred three points, but a point was the least that we deserved.

"I was very proud of the team. I thought the young players were fantastic and showed great courage and right the way through the team it was a good point for us."

Rodgers also singled out man of the match Suarez for special praise after an all-action display from the Uruguayan.

"I thought he was outstanding," continued Rodgers. "He is so clever and bright and second half we put Raheem Sterling up with him and I thought he was brilliant as well.

"Luis he gets a little bit of stick but his performance level on the field and every day in training he is a joy to work with and when he plays with quality like he has done today he deserved a hat-trick and only the officials denied h im that."

Jumat, 26 Oktober 2012

Everton v Liverpool preview

Fellaini: Has a knee problem

Everton manager David Moyes is hopeful midfielder Marouane Fellaini and full-back Tony Hibbert will be fit for Sunday's Merseyside derby.

Fellaini missed last weekend's draw with QPR because of a knee injury while Hibbert has not played for more than a month after sustaining a calf problem.

Midfielder Darron Gibson (thigh) is still sidelined and playmaker Steven Pienaar serves a one-match ban after his controversial sending-off at Loftus Road.

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers will continue to monitor the condition of goalkeeper Jose Reina.

Reina has been nursing a hamstring problem picked up on international duty with Spain and missed the win over Reading last Saturday and yesterday's Europa League victory against Anzhi Makhachkala, but has been back in training at the Reds' Melwood complex.

Rodgers has no fresh injury concerns, with Martin Kelly (knee), Lucas Leiva (thigh) and Fabio Borini (foot) remaining sidelined.

Everton ( from): Howard, Distin, Jagielka, Baines, Hibbert, Neville, Osman, Fellaini, Jelavic, Mucha, Gueye, Heitinga, Anichebe, Mirallas, Naismith, Oviedo, Coleman, Vellios, Hitzlsperger.

Liverpool (from): Reina, Jones, Johnson, Enrique, Agger, Coates, Carragher, Skrtel, Wisdom, Robinson, Sahin, Gerrard, Cole, Henderson, Downing, Allen, Sterling, Shelvey, Suarez, Assaidi, Suso, Yesil.

Rodgers wants ref to stay strong

Brendan Rodgers: Wants Liverpool to stay calm

Clashes between the Reds and their local rivals Everton have often been feisty affairs in recent times, with several red cards being produced.

Rodgers has expressed his unhappiness this season with the way his team have been treated by officials, and with that and the likely intensity of this weekend's Premier League encounter in mind, the manager is keen to see that referee Andre Marriner ensures "everything is in control" on the day.

Speaking ahead of what will be his first Merseyside derby as a player or boss, Rodgers said: "I have seen it over the years - the real firecrackers of games, full of intensity and passion, which they should be because that is what derbies are about.

"But it is also important to stay calm, and I think the referee has a big part to play in it as well because I have also seen over the games some of the challenges. I think the history of this game shows there have been a lot of red cards.

"I would hope this week end that we might get a decision that goes our way for once."

He added: "The Merseyside derby is a terrific game full of passion and quality, and I just hope the referee in Andre can really ensure that everything is in control and that the football is what is talked about."

Everton are currently fourth in the table after making an impressive start to the season and there has been talk about their chances of sustaining their form for the rest of the campaign to secure a Champions League berth.

The Toffees are six points ahead of 12th-placed Liverpool, who are still finding their feet under their new manager following Rodgers' appointment over the summer.

The Reds head into Sunday's game with some momentum, though, having beaten Reading last Saturday 1-0 and then Anzhi Makhachkala by the same score in the Europa League last night.

Those results made it three consecutive clean sheets including the 0-0 league draw with Stoke, and Rodgers has em phasised that his team are full of confidence right now.

"Everton have started well and there is obviously talk of them being in the top four," Rodgers said.

"They obviously feel they have the quality and experience to go and do that.

"For us, it is really about taking it game by game and looking to improve, and that is certainly what we are doing at the moment.

"The players have a real strong mentality at the moment. We have three clean sheets in the last three games, we have got some victories and the confidence is really high."

Rodgers will continue to monitor the condition of goalkeeper Jose Reina ahead of Sunday's contest.

Reina has been nursing a hamstring problem picked up on international duty with Spain and missed the Reading and Anzhi matches, but has been back in training at the Reds' Melwood complex.

Meanwhile, Rodgers says all his players will on Sunday once again be warming up sporting the T-shirts endorsing the 'Kick It Out' anti-racism campaign.

As a means of showing their dissatisfaction at the amount being done to address racism in football, a number of players at other clubs refused to wear the T-shirts last weekend.

Asked if all his players would have them on again, Rodgers said: "Yes.

"We obviously had our game with that (at home against Reading), and now it is Everton's game this weekend. But we will support that."

Kamis, 25 Oktober 2012

Downing drives Reds to top spot

Downing: Thumped in the winner

Downing cracked home an unstoppable effort from outside the box in the 53rd minute after coming in from the left flank to send the Reds top of Group A.

The win was no less than the Reds deserved having been the better side for much of the contest, and they now lead the group with six points from three games.

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers fielded a strong side including the likes of Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez, resisting the temptation to rest a host of players ahead of Sunday's Premier League derby at Everton and making only three changes from the win over Reading on Saturday.

It was clear Rodgers was not about to underestimate nouveaux riche Anzhi, who lead the Russian top-flight, and are overseen by one-time Chelsea boss Guus Hiddink and had former Barcelona and Inter Milan striker Samuel Eto'o up front.

The Reds were looking to bounce back from a 3-2 home defeat to Udinese in their previous Europa League outing and made a positiv e start without fashioning anything to really trouble visiting goalkeeper Vladimir Gabulov.

He easily collected a shot from Suarez in the 12th minute and then pushed away an effort by Glen Johnson before Jonjo Shelvey - scorer of three goals in the previous two group games - ballooned an attempt over the bar from the edge of the box.

Eto'o had been relatively quiet, miscontrolling on the occasion when the ball had come to him in a useful position in the area, and Liverpool continued to carve out half-chances, with Oussama Assaidi seeing Gabulov get behind his strike to the near post and then catching his free-kick.

Johnson found himself through on goal in the 35th minute, but failed to get a shot in and took a tumble under the attentions of Kamil Agalarov, with the referee waving the Reds defender's penalty claims away.

Nuri Sahin headed a corner over and Daniel Agger was next to make a foray forward from defence, trying his luck from distance wit h an effort that curled high and wide.

Anzhi registered an attempt on goal in first-half stoppage-time when Fedor Smolov fizzed the ball across Brad Jones and wide.

Rodgers added new impetus to his attack at the interval by introducing Raheem Sterling for Johnson, and there were encouraging signs for Liverpool soon after the break, with Martin Skrtel's powerful drive bringing a save out of Gabulov before Gerrard headed Shelvey's cross wide.

The Reds kept up the pressure and moments later they made the breakthrough as Downing, who had been shifted to left-back, cut in from out wide and smashed the ball into the net.

Suarez almost swiftly added another with a strike that went just the wrong side of the post, and Shelvey then sent a shot into Gabulov's arms.

With the lead still only at 1-0, though, Liverpool could not afford to switch off at the back and they survived a scare in the 70th minute when defensive sloppiness saw the ball come to Et o'o, whose effort was saved by Jones.

Assaidi and Suarez went down in the box in separate tussles with the referee only being moved to book the latter for protesting, before Mbark Boussoufa saw a shot deflect wide of Jones' goal.

Agger thought he had doubled Liverpool's advantage when he headed the ball from Gabulov's hand and lashed in, but he also only picked up a booking.

Anzhi issued further warnings, with Skrtel making a goal-line clearance to deny Mehdi Carcela and substitute Lacina Traore striking wide.

Gerrard then fired over and Carcela struck wide at the other end before the full-time whistle confirmed Liverpool's win.

Jones unfazed by facing Eto'o

Jones: Standing in for Pepe Reina

As he did in last Saturday's Premier League win over Reading, Jones is again set to deputise for the injured Jose Reina when the Reds host Anzhi Makhachkala in the Europa League.

The Russian side - the current Group A leaders - have several notable names among their ranks, including former Barcelona and Inter Milan striker Eto'o.

Jones is fully aware of the Cameroon international's threat, but that does not mean the Australian stopper, who has only made a handful of first-team appearances for Liverpool, is in any way intimidated - particularly given the calibre of players he is used to trying to keep at bay in training.

"For me, playing against whoever, it doesn't particularly bother me which player it is - it is the same idea when you go out, which is that you don't want to concede goals," Jones said.

"Obviously Eto'o is a fantastic player and has been for a number of years, playing at the top.

"You know you are going to have to be on top of your game, but I have to do that every day with the likes of Luis Suarez and Steven Gerrard anyway.

"It is just about making sure you concentrate and do the right things."

Liverpool are unsure whether or not Reina, who picked up a hamstring problem on international duty with Spain, will recover in time to play in Sunday's league clash with local rivals Everton at Goodison Park.

Asked how long Reina was likely to be out of action for, Reds assistant boss Colin Pascoe said: "We are not quite sure at the moment.

"Hopefully not too long. He is doing his rehab at the moment and is working hard in training.

"So we will just have to assess him over the weekend and we will see then."

Pascoe insists Liverpool's players are fully focused on the Anzhi contest and will not be distracted by thoughts of the Merseyside derby.

He said: "With the next game, it is always the same.

"The boys are looking forward to Anzhi.

"Everton against Liverpool is a massive game, but it hasn't been talked about and isn't being thought about at the moment.

"We are thinking just purely about the (Anzhi) game."

Liverpool are third in Group A on three points after two rounds of fixtures, one point behind Anzhi and second-placed Udinese.

Rabu, 24 Oktober 2012

No Liverpool contact with Lens

Lens: Linked with Liverpool and Juventus

Reports have suggested Lens is on Liverpool's list of targets as they plan to bolster their attacking options when the transfer window reopens in January.

The 24-year-old recently admitted that he would be interested in a move to a major league to take the next step in his career.

Juventus have also been credited with an interest in the Dutch international, but the player's agent, Kees-Ploegsma, claims he has had no contact with either club and has ruled out a move for the player in January.

"Juventus and Liverpool interested in Lens? I have had no type of contact with them, but I cannot know if they have spoken directly with PSV," Ploegsma told

"Lens still has a three-year contract with PSV and I think it is not intended to leave in January, but in football anything can happen.

"At this time he is a 100 per cent a PSV player, with which he'll play also the second part of the season. Then in June we'll see".

Senin, 22 Oktober 2012

IPCC 'can't cope with fans probe'

Hillsborough disaster: IPCC 'can't cope with fans probe'

MPs said they were concerned the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) did not have the resources or manpower to handle the investigation on its own as it emerged it had been given the names of 1,444 officers, including the identities of 304 who are still serving.

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said the investigation could not be run just by the watchdog, while Keith Vaz, Labour chairman of the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee, said there was a "problem in respect of resources".

Speaking during a debate in the Commons, Ms Cooper said: "It is clear this investigation cannot be done solely by the IPCC, they have neither the powers nor the resources to do so ... these investigations are beyond the scale of anything the IPCC have done before and it will also require powers that the IPCC simply doesn't have."

The watchdog was asked to investigate South Yorkshire Police's role in the disaster which claimed the lives of 96 Liverpool f ans during a crush at Sheffield Wednesday's stadium in April 1989.

The damning Hillsborough Independent Panel report revealed a cover-up took place to shift the blame on to the victims and that 41 of the lives lost could have been saved.

Meanwhile, Mr Vaz said he favoured the idea of a special prosecutor being appointed to look at all the cases and to act as a co-ordination point.

He added: "As I said to the House earlier, 1,444 names have been sent to the IPCC, of that 304 are still serving officers at South Yorkshire.

"So immediately when you look at the numbers of names that have been referred there will be a problem in respect of resources.

"I think that we should not wait for the IPCC to come and see the Home Secretary, actually a meeting needs to be convened pretty quickly to ask them what they need and to give them the resources that they need."

Home Secretary Theresa May said she would work with Labour to see if new laws were needed to compel former officers to co-operate with the IPCC.

"This includes proposals to require current and ex-police officers who were maybe witnesses to a crime to attend an interview, and whether this might require fast-track legislation," she said.

Speaking during the opening of a Commons debate on the Hillsborough Independent Panel's report, Mrs May added: "There is the IPCC investigation and there is also the investigation that is taking place by the DPP.

"If he believes that wider investigation is necessary the Home Office will make resource available under the ambit of the incoming National Crime Agency, with an investigator who is completely separate and has no connection whatever with these particular issues."

Her comments came after Attorney General Dominic Grieve last week asked the High Court to consider ordering fresh inquests into the 96 deaths after the report concluded some fans could have survived if emergency services had res ponded sooner.

Meanwhile, Tory MPs claimed the IPCC needed to be reformed.

Mark Pritchard (The Wrekin) urged the Home Secretary to "remain open minded" to Labour's proposal of a new Police Standards Authority as a route to rebuilding confidence, because many believe the IPCC is "not fit for purpose".

And his Conservative colleague Alec Shelbrooke (Elmet and Rothwell) said West Yorkshire Police's Chief Constable Sir Norman Bettison, who has been referred to the IPCC, should be suspended.

"In order for the public to have faith in this investigation he should be suspended," Mr Shelbrooke said.

Labour former home secretary David Blunkett said any investigation must not focus on the ordinary officers who made an accurate note of what happened at Hillsborough only to have them altered on the orders of senior officers.

Mr Blunkett said: "What is absolutely sure is that the cover-up has to be revealed to make sure we don't have it again. It' s about culture and it's about perception. You see, on that day, the fact that 116 officers had written down what they believe to have taken place and had their testimony altered is testament to what they were trying to do in telling the truth.

"It was the scandal of those in senior management within the force and from West Midlands force ... that actually overrode their decency and honesty in the cases where those scripts were altered."

Gerrard impressed by Sterling

Gerrard: Impressed by Sterling

The 17-year-old became the Reds' second-youngest scorer in the Premier League after Michael Owen with the only goal - his first senior one for the club - in Saturday's 1-0 victory over Reading.

Gerrard knows a thing or too about breaking into Liverpool's first team as a precocious teenager, having done so himself aged 18 in 1998.

"I think he has been a great surprise to everyone; not that he is doing so well at this level but I don't think anyone expected him to break through so early," the 32-year-old said.

"I think we all knew he was going to be good enough to play for the first team but when they are young and small and that size sometimes you need to take a little bit extra care.

"They get used towards the end of the season to give them a taste but the manager has come in, seen what he has done in pre-season and said he is ready now.

"He hasn't let anyone down and he's been sensational so far.

"First and foremost he has th e trust of the manager. He is the one who picks the team and week in, week out he is getting a start.

"That is what you need when you break through, you need the manager to believe in you because sometimes it is hard to play well every game.

"When you don't play well the manager keeps playing you and he's telling you that you are ready for this level, you're going to be around for a long time so get out and do your stuff and that is what he did against Reading.

"If he can add assists and goals to his game the more he grows he can go all the way to the top."

Sterling, who joined Liverpool as a 15-year-old from QPR, is still so young the club are shielding him from media interviews, at least until his 18th birthday in December.

So the youngster expressed his thoughts about his first senior Liverpool goal on Twitter, saying: "Great day for me and my family to score for such a big club. One of the happiest days of my life."

Had his team- mates been sharper up front a first home league win of season would have been put beyond doubt long before the end.

"The frustration was in not killing the game off really," added Gerrard. "We haven't had a win at Anfield for such a long time we got a bit nervous and edgy, but the only thing we deserved was the three points.

"We have to build on it, it is as simple as that. This is only a good result if we can get a result in the derby (at Everton) next week."

Minggu, 21 Oktober 2012

McAnuff: Suarez does dive

Suarez: Accused of diving

McAnuff was speaking ahead of his side's trip to Anfield, and the 30-year-old midfielder admits that his team mates must be careful when the Uruguayan gets into the penalty area.

"It's like any player, especially in the box you have to be careful - probably more so with him but I'm sure it's something the officials are wary of," McAnuff told The Sun.

"There have been some instances with him, to be fair, that have been penalties which he hasn't got. But, of course, on the other hand there are the instances that were dives.

"I think that was the case in the last game when there was no one anywhere near him."

Suarez was criticised by Stoke manager Tony Pulis for a dive when his side drew 0-0 at Anfield on October 7, and the striker was booked for simulation against Sunderland last month.

Sterling effort enough for Reds

Sterling: Celebrates his winner at Anfield

The England Under-21 international, at 17 years and 317 days old, as a result became the club's second-youngest Premier League goalscorer behind Michael Owen.

His strike should not have been the Reds' sole effort but such are their problems up front this season - prior to kick-off only Sunderland (two) and bottom club QPR (one) had scored fewer at home - win-less Reading remained in the game right up until the final whistle.

The first half was virtually one-way traffic but the hosts lacked a cutting edge, too often over-complicating matters with one pass too many in and around the penalty area.

Sterling found himself in the best attacking positions on several occasions but managed to get a shot off on target just once and Alex McCarthy easily held.

Auxiliary left-back Glen Johnson was also enjoying a lot of possession in the final third but he looked more threatening when cutting inside on his right foot.

During an injury break for J em Karacan, who was eventually forced off by the effect of Steven Gerrard's block tackle, Rodgers took the opportunity to pass on some advice to Sterling.

Whatever he said appeared to have the desired effect as in the 29th minute the England Under-21 international finally made the breakthrough.

Suarez's delicate flick-on was seized by the teenager who raced through the inside-right channel and fired a shot across McCarthy and into the far corner of the net.

There were two main talking points prior to the game and both duly cropped up.

Firstly, Reading substitute Jason Roberts carried out his vow not to wear a Kick It Out T-shirt in the warm-up in protest at his perceived lack of action in combating racism in football.

While the rest of his team-mates - and all their Liverpool opponents except goalkeeper Brad Jones - donned the tops for the pre-match drills the 34-year-old went without, although Garath McCleary and Karacan removed theirs soo n after entering the field.

Second hot topic, which has become a regular theme this season, of the week was whether Suarez dives or not.

The Uruguay international had seen one challenge by Kaspars Gorkss go unpunished, from which the striker curled a shot onto the roof of the net, and another given - prompting a sarcastic standing ovation from Anfield before he drilled the free-kick into the wall.

But the third instance, just before half-time, was the most contentious with Suarez going to ground under a challenge from his Latvian marker close to the byline.

Referee Roger East waved play on and then was soon waving away protests from a cluster of Liverpool players as he whistled for the interval.

Suarez, accompanied by the club doctor, gingerly hobbled off well after both teams had left the pitch but returned for the second half, which was less than a minute old when Sterling should have made it 2-0 having turned smartly in the penalty area but fired straight at the goalkeeper.

The South American did not appear to show any ill-effects with only his vision apparently affected as he opted to shoot at McCarthy when he should have squared to the unmarked Nuri Sahin.

Liverpool were almost caught by a swift counter-attack with substitute McCleary forcing an immediate save from Jones, on his first league start for the club in the absence of the injured Jose Reina, who also punched away a Jobi McAnuff shot.

The home side redoubled their efforts as Martin Skrtel flashed a header wide, substitute Jonjo Shelvey, caught in two minds, miscontrolled Suarez's cross and Gerrard saw a narrow-angle shot squeeze through McCarthy's fingers but wide of the post.

Further chances fell to Johnson, Suarez, who missed the target from 10 yards, and Gerrard but needless to say none were created.

Rodgers said he felt his side would "fly" once they secured their first home win.

They will need to as next weekend they make the short trip to near-neighbours Everton, who even after this win are still five points ahead with a match in hand.

Babel reveals Benitez gripe

Babel: Not a fan of Benitez's

The former Liverpool player arrived on Merseyside for around 11.5million in July 2007 from Ajax, but was sold for around 8million to Hoffenheim in January 2011 after failing to fulfill his potential.

He made 146 appearances, scoring 22 goals in his four seasons at Anfield, and is adamant he could have made a bigger impact in a league he regards to be the best in the world.

Babel, 25, told The Mirror: "I don't think people in England ever saw the best of me. For a player to really be at his best you have to give him a certain confidence, but I did not feel appreciated by some people at Liverpool.

"Ajax have given me a chance again to prove myself and I'm happy for that.

"The City game is a good platform for me to show the people who doubt Ryan Babel what I can do."

Babel, who will line-up against Manchester City in the Champions League on Wednesday also revealed his disappointment with Benitez for failing to help him develop.

" Rafa Benitez promised me a certain development, but very quickly he took away that promise and it was a totally different situation. I don't think I ever really played more than three games in a row.

"But I love Liverpool, I still have a house there. I love the fans and I have great memories of my time at the club. It was a very good learning process for me. Now, I am mentally stronger and I know how to deal with certain situations and different people. The people at Ajax see that.

"I have made mistakes. But, at 25, it's not too late to give my career a good twist. I still think I can fulfil my potential and live up to what people thought I would become. I still have that belief.

"Moving to Liverpool was a new world for me. I had been living with my parents in Holland and all of a sudden I was living in a foreign country on my own.

"Football players have to grow up very fast. It's a tough life sometimes. It depends on the individual, how strong th ey are and how they deal with certain situations.

"England is the biggest league in the world. Of course, you have Barcelona and Real Madrid but, as a league, England is in my opinion the best in the world.

"You never know what your route is going to be. I am happy at Ajax, but if you have some fantasy and imagination you like to dream of things and Liverpool still has a special place in my heart."

Sterling delighted with winner

Sterling (3rd left): Opened his goal account

The 17-year-old became the Reds' second-youngest Premier League scorer after Michael Owen as his expertly-taken 29th-minute strike was enough to dispatch Reading at Anfield.

Sterling broke into the team this season and has impressed so far but Saturday's game was by far his best.

Had his team-mates been sharper up front the result would have been put beyond doubt long before the end but a first home league win of the season - and only Liverpool's third at Anfield in 2012 - was finally secured.

Sterling, who joined Liverpool as a 15-year-old from QPR, is still so young the club are shielding him from media interviews - at least until his 18th birthday in December.

So the youngster expressed his thoughts about his first senior Liverpool goal on Twitter, saying: "Great day for me and my family to score for such a big club. One of the happiest days of my life."

Manager Brendan Rodgers, who admitted their first home league win was somethi ng of a relief, was full of praise for Sterling and 18-year-old Suso, who in the absence of the injured Fabio Borini and out-of-favour England international Stewart Downing, are shouldering responsibility up front.

"Technically the two are fantastic but to play in the Premier League at the age they are shows their capabilities as well," said the Northern Irishman.

"We should have had three points here long before today and the longer it goes on it can become a concern.

"We've had some tough games here this season and so it is important we make this a real difficult place to come.

"Hopefully over the next few years we can make it a fortress here. "

Liverpool were totally dominant in the first half but neither Sterling, Glen Johnson or Luis Suarez were able to make the most of all their chances.

After the break Reading, sensing an opportunity, created more and after more wayward Reds finishing only a smart save from Brad Jones from Gar eth McCleary ensured a clean sheet.

Jones was making his first Premier League start - and only his second league appearance in more than two years - deputising for the injured Jose Reina.

The Australia international, who is being given a run-out in the Europa League, believes despite his lack of regular action he has got better and played down his save.

"It's what you get paid to do and we always looked dangerous any time we got the ball and went forward," he said.

"It is not down to the amount of games you play. As a goalkeeper I've improved a lot since I've been here.

"In terms of playing games, which is what you want, you have to fight to do that and I'm someone who likes a challenge and that is why I came here.

"Since the manager has come in there has been changes, people have left, and from the day he came in it was a fight to prove to him you were worthy of being here and I hope I'm winning that battle.

"I found out late Friday Pepe was still struggling with the (hamstring) injury.

"It's not something you want to risk because it's something that could keep him out for a week or, if he plays, it could be longer."

Reading are still looking for their first league win having been promoted last season but despite their Anfield defeat Brian McDermott remains optimistic.

"There are a lot of plusses to come out of that," he said.

"You don't want to be saying 'well done' to your players when you've lost the game as lucky losers but we'll move on, there are a lot of positives going into next week.

"I see us in training every day, I know we can pass it, I know we can play, and we've got pace in our team.

"This is our challenge. We had a challenge last season to get into this league and we managed to do that and the challenge this season is to concentrate solely on what we do and improve our performances.

"If we do that results will come and we've got tw o games at home now."

Sabtu, 20 Oktober 2012

Liverpool v Reading reaction

The 17-year-old became the club's second-youngest Premier League goalscorer behind Michael Owen with his 29th-minute strike to beat Rodgers' former club Reading in Saturday's clash at Anfield.

Liverpool had more than enough chances to put the game beyond doubt, but the manager was thrilled Sterling's early-season performances were finally rewarded with a goal.

"It was a brilliant goal," said Rodgers.

"We have been asking him, Suso and the other wide players to try to break the line of defenders and he's done that.

"We've been doing a lot of work on that on the training field but all the credit goes to him because he's got to identify the moment to go in.

"It wasn't an easy chance because he is going away from goal, has a quick defender tracking him and to adjust his feet and have the technique to shoot across the keeper is wonderful.

"He's a terrific talent and he's got a good head on young shoulders."

Fellow forward Luis Suarez was also at the heart of much of Liverpool's attacking thrust, but he could not add to his tally of seven goals in his last eight matches despite having a number of chances.

"He scores a lot of chances. He's not perfect, he's not going to score every chance, but he's got a great return if you look at his stats, at his goals return at Ajax and since he's come into here," added Rodgers.

"There's no doubt he'll want to be a bit more clinical and going forward we want to get some more players around him who can take the load off him as well.

"He leads the line terrifically for us. His movement and creativity is great.

"He created opportunities for himself and he'll be disappointed he hasn't scored today."

Rodgers also praised goalkeeper Brad Jones, who made his first Premier League start for the club after Jose Reina was ruled out with a hamstring injury.

"I thought Brad was outstanding: what he had to do he did very well," he ad ded.

"When I came in during the summer he had been the number three keeper but I've seen massive development and it's a great credit to him.

"What he is absolutely outstanding at is shot-stopping and he made a great save from (Gareth) McCleary."

Reading manager Brian McDermott was pleased with the way his side came back in the second half and thought they could have earned a draw.

"Liverpool never really hurt us with their passing moves but did so with one ball over the top," he said.

"In the second half we were right in the game and I honestly felt we were going to get at least a point and we were on the front foot right till the end."

Reading substitute Jason Roberts carried out his vow not to wear a 'Kick It Out' T-shirt in the warm-up in protest at his perceived lack of action in combating racism in football.

McDermott was fully supportive of the 34-year-old's actions.

"I spoke to Jason about that and he was very cl ear in his views. He had his reasons and I support him 100 per cent," he added.

"When you consider what happened this week with Danny Rose (who suffered racial abuse in an England Under-21 match in Serbia) hopefully we can put these issues to bed.

"I wrote to Danny actually as I thought he conducted himself really well.

"But it doesn't belong in society and it certainly doesn't belong in football.

"It is an emotive subject and rightly so. I can only speak for my players and Jason feels very strongly about this so I back him 100 per cent."

Dalglish wants FA investigated

Dalglish: Wants answers

Ninety-six people were killed at the stadium disaster at the 1989 FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest.

A recent report from the Hillsborough Independent Panel found the response to the disaster from South Yorkshire police was seriously flawed.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission is now to carry out its own investigation but Dalglish also wants the FA, as English football's governing body, to be examined for insisting the match be played at Hillsborough when there were already safety concerns.

Dalglish, who was in his first spell as Liverpool manager at the time of the tragedy, said in the Daily Mirror: "What I want to know now is when is the FA going to face up to its responsibilities, too?

"I'm not talking about the apology it made last month - an apology that was a long time coming and which took them two attempts to produce properly.

"I'm talking about issues like why we have never had a full explana tion of why the FA insisted the game should be played at Hillsborough."

Dalglish thinks former FA chief executive Graham Kelly, in particular, should come under scrutiny.

"I am not talking about punishing the people in power at the moment," said the Scot.

"But surely, as the game's governing body, they have to take responsibility for the way their organisation acted in the past.

"It has taken a long, long time for a lot of organisations to face up to what they did in 1989 and now it's the FA's turn as well.

"What has happened to Graham Kelly, for instance? Is there no-one who can go and talk to him about why the FA acted as they did?

"Kelly had become chief executive of the FA in 1989. It would be helpful to hear his explanations for the organisation's actions.

"There has, quite rightly, been a lot of talk about the accountability of the police over the tragedy. Why has nobody really mentioned the FA?

"It would be very interesting for someone to sit down with Mr Kelly and make sure the FA are not involved in a big cover-up here as well."

Jose eyes good fee for Sahin

Sahin: Madrid looking for healthy profit

The 24-year-old Turkey international is spending the season at Anfield and many expected him to return to the Bernabeu to win a place in the team there, but the coach has other ideas.

Despite only joining Madrid in 2011 from Borussia Dortmund, Mourinho already has plans to make his club money by ensuring that they sell Sahin for a high price, possibly next summer.

"Sahin belongs to Real Madrid and is on loan at Liverpool," Mourinho told France Football.

"That costs us nothing because Liverpool are paying for everything.

"He is young and playing in a league that will help him grow. We want to sell him one day and he will go for a very good price. We made no mistakes."

Mourinho then launched another attack on old foe Jorge Valdano, claiming that the former Real Madrid director had no idea who he was signing while at the club.

"If we are going to do some analysis then the president and the director general will confirm it and agr ee," the Portuguese continued.

"Nobody here knew who Khedira was. The person charged, hypothetically, with this [Valdano] did not know who Khedira was. I can say that for sure.

"They did not know that Khedira was in the last year of his contract and could have joined us very cheaply.

"Neither was it known that Ozil had problems with Werder Bremen. We paid 15million."

When Mourinho took over at Madrid he wanted Valdano to be ousted and won that battle early on in order to be given unprecedented control over the ins and outs of his squad.

One player that Mourinho did flop on was Turkish star Hamit Altintop, but he is still proud of a deal that saw the player arrive for free and move on for 3.5million after a year and four appearances to Galatasaray.

"Then there is Altintop. Was a failure in sporting terms but he was an economic success. We signed him for nothing and he came here with an injury. That is not my fault," he added.

" I do not do the medical exams, but he was then sold for a good fee."

Jumat, 19 Oktober 2012

Rodgers eyeing Reds consistency

Rodgers: Looking for consistency

The Reds have won just two league matches at Anfield in 2012, the last coming against Chelsea in May.

So far they have taken one point from games against Manchester City, Arsenal and Manchester United which has contributed to a disappointing points tally of just six.

And Rodgers is grateful fans have not turned their frustrations on the team.

"When you look at the majority of our home games our performance level has been good and we've been unfortunate not to pick up a result," said the Northern Irishman.

"Our biggest focus now is just to get some consistency in our results.

"The reality in 2012 is we have won two league games at Anfield and, on top of that, it is over a year since there has been back-to-back Premier League (home) wins (September 24 against Wolves was the exact date).

"Thankfully within the ground the supporters are fantastic, when you think of that record. If you came to Anfield and you see how supportive the fans are it is absolutely phenomenal really.

"The big drive and our only focus is looking to get consistency in our results and then we can move forward. It is up to us, there is only the group of players and ourselves who can change that.

"We have to focus on what we can control, go into the game with a clear, defined plan and if it's not working then be flexible in terms of looking to put that right.

"Once we get that result then hopefully we can fly from there. We really want to make our home ground a fortress."

Rodgers' former club Reading - a side against whom Liverpool have won just one of their last four meetings - are the visitors on Saturday.

For him there will be no extra motivation but that may not be the case for his players.

In last week's episode of the television documentary Being Liverpool, the manager was filmed before the opening day of the campaign showing his squad three envelopes, inside which he claimed he had written the names of three people he predicted would let down the team this season.

It is a tactic once used by Sir Alex Ferguson after Manchester United's first title success in 1993, the Scot later revealing the envelopes were empty.

Rodgers is keen to keep his players on their toes mentally and will employ similar methods throughout the season.

"You are always looking to motivate players and you find different ways of doing it," he said. "I think the players quite enjoyed it wanting to know whether they were in (the envelope) or not.

"I always search for ways to motivate them, especially with top players because top players like the challenge. My job is to provide motivation and managers and coaches do it in different ways."

Rodgers looks back on his time with the Royals fondly, even taking into account the six months from the summer of 2009 when he won just six of 23 games and departed before the year ended.

"Reading are an excel lent club. I first went to them when I was 13 and they played a big part of my life," he added.

"I was fortunate to get the managerial job but it did not quite work out how I would have wished. But I learned from the experience and ultimately that will pave the way for me.

"It proved to be a difficult six months, especially with what I was trying to implement which was always going to need that bit of extra time.

"But I came away from that and learned from the experience and reflected upon it. It prepared me going forward and I was able to take those things into the rest of my career.

"It allowed me to be much more clinical in my work when I arrived at Swansea, and thankfully it's gone quite well from there."

Kamis, 18 Oktober 2012

McDermott: Rodgers will succeed

McDermott: Rates Rodgers

McDermott succeeded Rodgers as Royals manager in 2009 and the knows the 39-year-old well from their time together at the club's academy.

Reading travel to Anfield in the Premier League on Saturday hoping to ensure the challenging start to Rodgers' Liverpool reign continues.

But McDermott is convinced Rodgers' fortunes will change after earning the right to manage the Reds.

"I'm sure he will succeed. It's a fantastic story if you think about it, what he's actually done and where he's got to," he said.

"It's a great story for any aspiring young coach to see where he's ended up.

"And he's done a lot of work over the years, he's worked with the young kids here.

"Absolutely he deserves to be at Liverpool. He deserves to be there because he's there.

"And what he did at Swansea - they played some fantastic football in the league.

"Now it's another big, big challenge for him at Liverpool."

McDermott attended Liver pool's goalless draw with Stoke nearly two weeks ago in preparation for Saturday's clash.

"I just went to watch the game. I went up there in the morning and just came straight back. It was a bit like my scouting days," McDermott said.

"Look, we don't speak. I spoke to him at the LMA do when we saw each other this summer. But we'll have a drink after the game."

A 5-2 drubbing of Norwich is Liverpool's only victory in seven Premier League games, while Reading are searching for their first win of the campaign.

"You need time. Brendan's philosophy is his philosophy and his players have to get used to the way he wants them to play," said McDermott.

"They've played some good football at times and in Luis Suarez they have a world class player who we have to be aware of.

"In our last three games we've been in winning positions so what we need to do is finish the job off.

"Going anywhere in this league is a big challenge and a big oppo rtunity so we just want to make sure we enjoy every moment of it and put on a performance."

Suarez overworked, no AC return

Rodgers: Hasn't considered Carroll

Fabio Borini could be out for up to three months after requiring surgery on a broken foot, leaving Rodgers with Suarez as his only recognised first-team striker.

But the Reds boss said he has not even thought about recalling Carroll from his loan at West Ham.

The England international's departure to Upton Park was supposed to signal the arrival of Fulham's Clint Dempsey late on August's transfer deadline day but the deal fell through.

Rodgers is looking to manage the situation as best he can, although just one Premier League win and a Europa League defeat to Udinese means he may have to call on Suarez more than he planned.

"I've rested him a couple of times knowing the squad we have and the games we have, looking to prioritise, but like most footballers he wants to play every minute of every game," said the Northern Irishman.

"It is something I need to assess. The most important thing is winning games - that is what we need to do and in order to do that as often as we can I need the best players on the field.

"Luis will absolutely love playing three times a week but I need to try to nurture him because there are still many games to play between now and January.

"And even in January if we bring someone in it may not be January 1, so that is something which, over time, I need to assess and we'll look to manage the squad."

On Carroll, Rodgers added: "It isn't something I have considered, to be honest.

"Andy has obviously gone out to get games. We have people watching when he plays and they report back on how he is doing.

"But with Fabio's injury just coming up we will assess it from there."

The mistakes made in the August transfer window always had the potential to return to haunt Rodgers.

Necessity has seen the likes of teenagers Raheem Sterling and Suso, set to sign a new, improved deal before the weekend, get their chance to impress in the first team.

"The reality is it has happened so we have to deal with it. I'm not going to cry over it," said Rodgers over his lack of options up front.

"It leaves us a bit short, there's no getting away from that, but it's what we've got so we'll just crack on.

"If anything else happens it will provide an opportunity for another player."

German youth international Samed Yesil could be promoted, having made his debut as a substitute in the Capital One Cup last month, but Rodgers said throwing in youngsters was not always the best option.

"We have other players that we may be able to have some flexibility within the team," he said.

"It is great for me to see the young players: Adam Morgan scored a couple of excellent goals for the reserves and Samed Yesil is a goalscorer.

"It is just a case of weighing up whether they come in or not.

"Not every young player can play: this is an unforgiving league and my job is to nurture the talent and n ot destroy it."

Despite being away on international duty Suarez had to endure more diving criticism from Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny and FIFA vice-president Jim Boyce this week, leaving Rodgers unimpressed.

"It is constant for the guy. People jump on the bandwagon and I am sure they will continue to do so," he added.

"I've had the chance to work with Luis every day and see what type of character he is. He's had a lot of bad press recently.

"There won't be too many players involved in as many incidents as him in the box.

"I understand the South American and European players' mentality in trying to win a penalty with skill.

"It was interesting to note in the last game against Stoke that we are happy in this country for someone to clearly stamp on a player's chest and all we talk about is him diving in the box, which I find incredible."

Spain goalkeeper Jose Reina's hamstring injury was deemed "nothing overly serious" afte r the 30-year-old sustained the problem on international duty.

"He had a scan this morning and we just need to weigh up the risk in the next 24-48 hours," said the Reds boss.

Liverpool Mayor confident over cash

Liverpool: Now looking to stay at Anfield

Anderson is confident the city council will not have to repay an 8.2million European grant in the wake of Liverpool's decision to abandon plans for a new stadium.

On Monday the club confirmed they were to push ahead with a redevelopment of Anfield on the back of a regeneration plan for the wider area.

Now proposals for a new ground in nearby Stanley Park have been shelved, providing Liverpool can secure the necessary planning permissions and agreements to expand their current home, it raises a question over what happens to the money from the European Regional Development Fund earmarked for improving and preparing the park in advance of any construction work being done.

"We are looking at the option of using the money in the wider regeneration sense, and I don't believe we will have to pay it back," Anderson told the Liverpool Echo.

"If we don't use it for regeneration or development and leave things as they are, then it would have to be pai d, but we don't think that's how we are going to approach this."

According to the Echo, in 2010 the Audit Commission reported the risk of having to pay back the money if such an outcome occurred was a "serious concern".

The report stated: "The grant offer was made on the condition that the new Liverpool Football Club stadium will be built in Stanley Park.

"In the event that this does not occur, then the European Regional Development Fund grant of 8.2m will be repayable."

Selasa, 16 Oktober 2012

New move on Hillsborough inquests

Attorney General has paved the way for a fresh inquest

Dominic Grieve QC said he will apply to the High Court to have the verdicts of the original hearing quashed so a new one can be held.

The move comes after a damning report into the disaster laid bare a cover-up which attempted to shift the blame for the tragedy on to its victims.

Mr Grieve said his consideration of the evidence was far from over, but he was taking the exceptional step of indicating he must apply for new inquests to be held on the basis of the evidence he has already read.

Ninety-six Liverpool supporters died in the crush at Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough stadium on April 15 1989, where their team were facing Nottingham Forest in an FA Cup semi-final.

Mr Grieve said: "My consideration of the evidence is far from complete but, given the anxiety further delay may cause the families affected by the Hillsborough disaster, I have decided to take an exceptional course and state at this stage that, on the basis of what I have a lready seen, I have determined that I must make an application to the court.

"In doing so, I should make it clear that further work will need to be done before any application can be made.

"In particular, there was not one inquest but 96. My current view is that I will apply to have every one of those 96 inquests quashed."

He went on: "I believe that these deaths, arising as they do from a common chain of events, should all be considered afresh.

"However, before reaching any final view on the scope of the application, I want to give the families affected the opportunity to make any representations in respect of the family member or members they lost.

"I will therefore be in contact with each family seeking views."

Boniek has a pop at Carroll

Carroll: Not rated highly by Boniek

The 23-year-old striker is included in the Three Lions' squad for their 2014 World Cup qualifier against Poland in Warsaw on Tuesday.

Carroll is unlikely to start the match, but Boniek is not concerned even if he does.

"My grandson Mateo moves better on the pitch than Andy Carroll," he is quoted as saying in The Independent.

"He has better co-ordination. He is very good at golf and tennis."

Meanwhile, Poland coach Waldemar Fornalik has warned his English counterpart Roy Hodgson that his side will not settle for a draw in their Group H encounter.

"A wise man told me that if you try to draw a game, you lose," he said. "If you try to win, it is possible to win.

"I've always told my teams we have to go for the three points. The way we plan this game might be different but the objective is to win.

"When I took over the position, I was aware of the fact I would have very little time and that this match was coming up in the ca lendar.

"I thought perhaps this match was going to be an opportunity, this match would give us a better picture of what we are after the changes we have implemented.

"It is a very important game but it will not determine the final result of the qualifiers.

"This game is a big event in Polish football. The Euros were a huge event on a European, if not a global, scale.

"Poland v England has always been of big importance and this is how we see this match as well. The two teams are fighting for the three points.

"We are aware of the high class of our opponents but we also know what we are worth."

Senin, 15 Oktober 2012

Gerrard still gets England buzz

Gerrard: Closing in on 100 caps

The Liverpool midfielder will return from suspension to lead the side in Tuesday's World Cup qualifier with Poland in Warsaw which will leave him one cap short of the century mark.

But more than a decade of playing for his country has not diminished his appetite for representing the Three Lions.

Gerrard said: "I'm coming up to my 99th cap but I'm loving it as much as if it was my first.

"I've been around the set-up an awful long time. But I don't feel old, I'm not getting bored with it.

"I still feel fresh, looking forward to tomorrow's game as much as my debut.

"Every time you put the England shirt on it is a proud moment and to get 99 is a fantastic achievement for myself.

"But it will only be a good memory for me if we get the three points tomorrow night."

Gerrard was impressed with Rooney's first competitive match as captain against San Marino on Friday when he netted twice in a 5-0 win.

But he has no intenti on of giving up the armband lightly.

He said: "Wayne did a good job, we got three points, he played well himself, he scored twice, he behaved himself, it was all good.

"But I'm hoping he will have to wait a while (to become full-time captain). I'm really enjoying the role.

"I had to wait a long time for it to come to me. I want to enjoy it before I pass it over."

Gerrard concedes that the young talent emerging in the squad is ensuring he plays at his best to keep his place.

He said: "It is great for English football that we are producing these players.

"They are the players that are keeping the likes of myself on my toes.

"I know I've got to keep a consistency in my game at this level to stay in the team.

"All the experienced players are aware of that."

Gerrard is confident England can overcome the recent retirement of former skipper John Terry.

He said: "I would agree to a certain extent that he is a big miss because he is a fantastic player who has been a fantastic servant to Chelsea and England.

"But we've all moved on from John's decision because we have to respect it and hopefully we've got other good players who will step in and do a good job as well, Lescott, Cahill and Jagielka etc.

"We are not short in that area and hope John is not missed too much."

Smith backs Anfield plan

Anfield: Liverpool have announced plans to redevelop their existing ground

The Reds have shelved their scheme to move away from their home for the past 120 years to a new purpose-built stadium and will instead focus on improving their current ground.

Smith, who made over 450 appearances for the Merseyside outfit in the 60s and 70s, has welcomed the club's decision to stay at their spiritual home.

And he believes that there is the potential to attract even higher numbers than the anticipated increase in capacity of 60,000.

Smith told Sky Sports News Radio: "Anfield is something that nobody else in this world has got.

"Any person that I have played with, or any person I know, says that it is not a good idea building another ground elsewhere.

"Anfield is a place that as soon as you get there it is about football.

"I honestly think that they could get to 75,000. Don't forget that it is Liverpool. If you look at playing at Anfield against big teams in Europe it is crowded to the last person.

"I'm a bsolutely made up that they are going to have 60 or perhaps 70,000."

Listen to this interview on the Sky Sports News Radio player at

Sabtu, 13 Oktober 2012

Ilicic cool on Liverpool links

Ilicic: Palermo star is reportedly on Liverpool's radar

It has been reported that the Premier League club sent scouts to watch him during the Sicilian club's Serie A games against Genoa two weekends ago.

The scouts are also said to have kept an eye on Genoa defender Andreas Granqvist at the Marassi, but Ilicic brushes aside any potential move for him to Liverpool as of now.

"New rumours about my future? Nothing new, everything is quiet on this front," the 24-year-old told Sport Press. "But it is normal for me that there are rumours. One day you are linked with one club, another day with another club.

"That is normal, but I am still at Palermo. I am only thinking about my team. The summer is well over and the transfer window reopens in January, which is far away.

"Now I am a Palermo player, I don't know what will happen in the future. We will see."

Jumat, 12 Oktober 2012

Freedman warns suitors over Zaha

Zaha: Linked with a move in January

The striker is enjoying a fine season with the Eagles in the Championship, including netting four goals in his past two matches.

Premier League sides Liverpool, Manchester City and Arsenal have been linked with the England Under-21 international, who has been tipped to make a move in January, with a fee of around 11million mooted.

But Palace boss Freedman reckons his starlet is worth a lot more than that and he hopes the striker will stay and play Premier League football with the Eagles.

He said: "I know he is worth more than 11m. You're getting him cheap if you get him for that.

"Wilfried has dedicated himself to the game and is heading in the right direction. We give young players the chance to play and that's what he is doing now.

"It's a matter of time until he plays in the Premier League and let's hope that is with Crystal Palace.

"As we speak right now he's on a long contract and he's very happy."

Hillsborough probe announced

Police watchdog the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said a large number of serving and former officers will be investigated over what happened on the day of the tragedy in 1989, and during the alleged cover-up afterwards.

Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer also said he will look at whether any individual or corporate body should be charged over the football stadium disaster, which left 96 people dead.

Deputy chair of the IPCC Deborah Glass said "without a shadow of a doubt" it will be the biggest ever investigation carried out into police behaviour in the UK.

She told reporters: "I think I can confidently say this will be the largest independent inquiry that has been launched into the actions of the police in the United Kingdom."

The report by the Hillsborough Independent Panel published last month claimed that a shocking cover-up was staged in order to shift blame on to the 96 victims.

It alleged that 164 pol ice statements were altered in the wake of the tragedy, 116 of them to remove or change negative comments about the policing of the match and the ensuing disaster.

Questions have also been raised over whether manslaughter charges should be brought over the deaths.

Ms Glass said: "The potential criminal and misconduct offences disclosed by the panel's report fall into two broad categories.

"They are the allegations that go to the heart of what happened at Hillsborough in April 1989 and individuals and institutions may be culpable for the deaths, and there are allegations about what happened after the disaster, that evidence was fabricated and misinformation was spread in an attempt to shift blame."

Allegations that statements were altered and that misleading information was passed to the media and MPs will be investigated and could lead to police misconduct and criminal charges, Ms Glass said.

Claims that officers questioned bereaved next of kin about their loved ones' alcohol consumption, carried out alcohol testing and checked the police national computer to find information about the dead and injured could also lead to charges.

Both South Yorkshire Police, who dealt with the tragedy, and West Midlands Police, who investigated how South Yorkshire handled the disaster, will come under scrutiny.

Ms Glass said: "We will investigate the role of South Yorkshire Police and West Midlands Police in these matters. This will mean that a large number of current and former officers will be under investigation, including Sir Norman Bettison, whose conduct was referred by the West Yorkshire Police Authority."

Sir Norman, currently Chief Constable of West Yorkshire, has been referred to the IPCC over allegations he provided misleading information after the tragedy.

It was revealed today he is also under investigation for allegations he "attempted to influence the decision-making process of the We st Yorkshire Police Authority in connection with the referral that they had made", Ms Glass said.

Ian Ayre, Liverpool's managing director, said: "We welcome today's announcement by the Independent Police Complaints Commission and Director of Public Prosecutions.

"This is another significant step forward in the campaign for justice for Hillsborough families and survivors.

"We will follow the progress of this investigation and remain resolute in our support of the families and survivors as they continue with their battle to bring those responsible for the tragedy to justice."

Kamis, 11 Oktober 2012

Rodgers not worried about Reina

Reina: Indifferent start to the season

The 30-year-old made glaring mistakes against the likes of Hearts, Arsenal and Norwich but the Reds boss is not concerned.

"I can't speak highly enough of Pepe. He's a keeper who has really impressed me," he said.

"Pepe has been here for a number of years and has proved himself over a long period of time.

"Like all the other players here he's trying to improve and become a better player.

"He's obviously adapting to a new style but this is a way of working which is perfect for Pepe.

"He came through the Barcelona model so he understands this way of playing and what I'm trying to do perfectly.

"As a team, we just need to cut out the kind of mistakes we've been making.

"If we do that then everyone will benefit from that, including Pepe."

Rodgers pointed to a save Reina made from Medhi Benatia in last week's Europa League defeat to Udinese as evidence of his quality.

"That header looked like a goal and I think everyone inside Anfield probably felt it was probably going to go in," he told the Liverpool Echo.

"There is obviously a lot of pressure on every player when they play for a top club but it's at moments like that when you see who the top keepers really are."

Reina's compatriot Suso has made an immediate impact having broken into the first team this season and the 18-year-old revealed he is on the verge of signing an improved contract to replace the one which expires next summer.

"Liverpool is the ideal club for me," he told Radio Onda Cero.

"I'll sign a new deal soon and be here for a long time. The fans can relax, it'll be done as soon as possible."

Del Piero snubbed Liverpool move

Del Piero: Claims he rejected an approach from Liverpool

Liverpool reportedly made a late offer to sign Del Piero last month after Sydney made their initial attempt to sign the Italian legend.

Reds boss Brendan Rodgers was in the market for attacking reinforcements after failing to bring in a replacement for Andy Carroll during the transfer window.

However, Del Piero, who was available on a free transfer after leaving Juventus, revealed he rejected overtures from Liverpool out of respect for the Heysel tragedy.

"Why I said no to Liverpool? Negotiations with Sydney were already advanced and then I thought about what had happened at Heysel," Del Piero told Gazzetta dello Sport.

"Juve and Liverpool were able to rebuild the relationship, but for many people that tragedy is an indelible memory. I thank all the clubs which wanted me, but I'm convinced of my choice.

Del Piero is settling into life in Australia, but he admits his departure from Juventus still wrangles with him after 19 years with the Turin giants.

"One month is not much to make judgments, but the beginning is comforting from every point of view," added Del Piero.

"The farewell to Juve still leaves a bad taste in my mouth. One year and a half ago I would not have imagined that this would happen, then things change. I still have the great satisfaction of having given everything I could for Juventus".

Rabu, 10 Oktober 2012

Suarez ignores diving storm

Suarez: Diving row not his concern

The Uruguay international incurred the wrath of Tony Pulis on Saturday, with the Stoke City boss accusing Suarez of going to ground too easily inside the penalty area.

FIFA have joined the debate, with vice-president Jim Boyce calling on the Football Association to take action after seeing simulation become "a cancer within the game".

Suarez, though, is currently away on international duty and has shrugged off the storm which continues to rage in England, with his attention locked on upcoming World Cup qualifiers.

"Everyone should focus on their own team," he told Ovacion.

"Those who want to talk can do so, I am not worried about what they say.

"They can keep talking and in the meantime I will keep on playing football and taking care of my team and what I do. Nothing else matters."

Suarez says that as long as he has the full support of Reds boss Brendan Rodgers, then the opinion of rival coaches and players matters little.

He added: "The support of the coach is very important to me and that's what I really care about."

Rodgers defends Allen's safe style

The Liverpool boss does not mention Alan Shearer by name but it was the Match of the Day pundit who wondered about the value of a midfielder who does not take risks to create chances.

The 15m signing from Swansea has created just three chances for his teammates in seven Premier League appearances and yet Rodgers is comparing the Welsh international with Paul Scholes.

"I saw someone recently criticising Joe Allen for not playing risk passes. Unbelievable. So-called pundits who don't know the dynamics of a team and how it functions," said Rodgers.

"Joe's role is to keep the ball and that, in Britain, is a special talent. It is why Paul Scholes is still playing at his age. It is such a rare talent for a midfielder to rarely give the ball away.

"Initially when I came in, we played with one holding midfielder and two advanced ones. I didn't feel that we had the guy that opened the door for everything so I played Joe in there because he knows how to control the game. He is courageous and will go and get the ball in any area. But our positioning ahead of that wasn't so good, because we were too open.

"We have switched the team to play with two holding midfielders and one further forward. That has been Steven more or less, because he is the one that can do everything."

Rodgers is promising more attacking intent from Allen when Lucas Leiva returns from injury.

"Joe, offensively, has more than what a lot of people have seen, just because he's had to play more of a sitting role. That comes when Lucas is back.

"Where we have been really pleased with Joe is with his tactical discipline. Maybe he's never going to score as many as Steven but he's certainly got quality going forward. But his tactical discipline to stay and keep the shape of the team, and offer the passing line, has been very good. He will have a long career here, he's a wonderful talent and over time people will see what facets he' s got in his game. Over time he will prove an absolute bargain."

Robinson lands Under-21 call-up

Robinson: Joins three team-mates in squad

The first leg will take place this Friday at Carrow Road (6pm) and the second leg will be in Serbia next Tuesday.

Stuart Pearce's squad now contains four Liverpool youngsters, with Robinson joining Jordan Henderson, Raheem Sterling and Andre Wisdom in the camp.

Robinson, 19, has previously represented England at U16, U17, U18 and U19 level, and he became the youngest player to make a first team appearance for Liverpool when he made his debut at the age of 16 in May 2010.

This season, he has featured in the Liverpool squad for their Europa League matches, and started last week's 3-2 loss at home to Udinese, earning praise for his display despite the defeat.

Selasa, 09 Oktober 2012

Eriksen flattered by Reds link

Eriksen: Dane is flattered by Liverpool rumours

The 20-year-old Denmark international is among the most highly-rated young playmakers in Europe and reports have suggested he is on the Reds' radar.

"It is great that such big clubs are interested," Eriksen told

"It is very special for me but I am not contemplating various transfer scenarios in any way at the moment."

Eriksen stated in the summer that he intended to remain with the Dutch club this season but he still refuses to be drawn on his plans beyond the current campaign.

He added: "We don't really know right now. It all depends on how the season unfolds."

Kightly: Stamp down on divers

Kightly: Referees must stamp down on diving

The Uruguay international was heavily criticised by Potters boss Tony Pulis, who called for divers to be handed a three-match ban, after falling theatrically in Sunday's goalless draw at Anfield.

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers leapt to the defence of his star forward on Monday, claiming the vilification of the 25-year-old was wrong and unfair.

But Kightly continued the attack on Suarez by telling The Sentinel: "When you get a little touch and he is screaming like he has broken his leg you do think 'is he hurt?' but nine times out of 10, he's not.

"It is something we are trying to get out of the game. Referees have to try to stamp down on it.

"There is a difference between winning a penalty and just diving.

"Sometimes players know a tackle is coming in and ride it and go down. That's good play, winning a penalty.

"But sometimes, when you just dive with no touch at all, that's not good for the game."

Coleman praise for Allen

Allen: Named Player of the Year by the Football Association of Wales

Allen picked up the Player of the Year and Club Player of the Year awards on Monday night after an impressive 12 months.

As well as performing well for his country, the 22-year-old starred for Swansea City in the Premier League last season to earn a 15million summer switch to Liverpool.

National team manager Coleman has not been surprised by Allen's progress, while he has also praised the player's attitude.

"The last 12 months have been incredible for Joe . He was born to play for a club like Liverpool and excel," said Coleman.

"He's a great character, very humble and never gets carried away."

Senin, 08 Oktober 2012

Cole: Reds lack cutting edge

Gutierrez: Frustrated by lack of goals

Cole, who returned as a substitute in the 0-0 draw with Stoke on Sunday for the first time since injuring his hamstring on the opening day of the season, conceded that Liverpool lacked a killer instinct.

Brendan Rodgers' side remain in 14th place in the table, without a win at home this season, and having scored nine goals in seven games, five of which came against strugglers Norwich.

The Reds hit the woodwork three times against Stoke, but it was the outside of the upright each time rather than a close call, and they were chances squandered rather than a case of bad luck.

"There was a bit of frustration in the dressing room after the Stoke game," Cole told the club's website.

"We felt we should have won the game with the chances we had.

"The only criticism of us that I would have was that we didn't stick the ball in the back of the net. We just lacked that final bit. We have two weeks now to work on it and we're looking forward."

The midfielder insisted that there were elements from the goalless draw that should hearten the Liverpool players and supporters.

He added: "There's a lot to work on but we have got to take the positives out of it. We didn't get beat and we kept a clean sheet, which was important as we haven't kept one for a long time. Now we just need to kick on.

"I know a lot of the lads are now away on international duty, but we have got two weeks to keep going, keep working on things, getting in and around the box and picking the right pass.

"Hopefully we can get three points at home to Reading and then we can go to Goodison (Park to face Everton) and get a result."

He also praised Liverpool's teenage stars Suso, Raheem Sterling and Andre Wisdom for coming through a gruelling encounter with Stoke's large and physical players.

"It was important for the young boys and I thought they were really good again," he said. "I think you've got to match Stoke .They're strong lads and they like to compete.

"Personally, it was brilliant to get back. You're always nervous with hamstring injuries in terms of the first time you come back in. But I felt good and I have two weeks now to work hard and get back up to a high level of fitness."

England call Shelvey & Bertrand

Shelvey: Maiden call-up for England senior side

Liverpool midfielder Shelvey, 20, has received his maiden call-up to England's senior squad, while Chelsea's Bertrand has been added to the squad as Kieran Gibbs has been forced to pull out with a thigh injury.

Bertrand's inclusion for Gibbs was an obvious one given the Chelsea defender had been involved in England's last qualifying match, the draw with Ukraine at Wembley last month.

Shelvey's presence at St George's Park is slightly more complicated.

The 20-year-old Londoner has impressed in Liverpool's sluggish early season displays and was initially called up for the European Under-21 Championship play-off with Serbia by Stuart Pearce.

However, Shelvey is suspended for the first leg of that game at Norwich, and Hodgson has taken the opportunity to bring him into the senior fold.

With Frank Lampard, Michael Carrick, James Milner and Tom Cleverley all capable of playing in central midfield, Hodgson does have options, even though ski pper Steven Gerrard is himself suspended for Friday's game with San Marino.

It has therefore been suggested Shelvey's presence at St George's Park is purely to further his experience.

There is also a chance he could go back to the Under-21s for the second leg of the Serbia game next Tuesday, although a decision on that will not be taken until the weekend.

Shelvey is the third uncapped player in the squad along with Ryan Shawcross and Celtic goalkeeper Fraser Forster.

Rodgers sticks up for Suarez

Suarez: Defended by Rodgers

Only a couple of weeks ago, the Northern Irishman felt the need to not only to speak out publicly about the treatment the Uruguay international was receiving on the pitch but also raise the subject with referees' chief Mike Riley.

In Sunday's goalless draw at home to Stoke, Suarez went down theatrically in the penalty area which led to Potters manager Pulis called for three-match bans for players who dive.

Defender Robert Huth has, however, escaped punishment despite appearing to stamp on Suarez after the Football Association confirmed the incident was seen by officials at the time and therefore no further action can be taken.

That has left Rodgers outraged.

"As manager of this football club, I find it incredible that in nearly all the coverage about Luis Suarez this weekend, very little focus has been placed on the fact that he was actually the victim of a stamping incident within the first five minutes of the game," he told Liverpool's of ficial website.

"At this moment, there seems to be one set of rules for Luis and another set for everyone else.

"Diving and simulation is obviously a wider issue in football and one that we all agree has to be eradicated from our game but there were other incidents this weekend that didn't seem to generate the same coverage.

"No-one should be distracted by the real issue here, both at Anfield and at another game played on Sunday, when Luis and another player were hurt in off-the-ball incidents that went unpunished but were caught on TV cameras.

"I believe some people need to develop a sense of perspective and I also believe in this moment the vilification of Luis is both wrong and unfair.

"I will continue to protect the values, spirit and people of this great club and game while searching for a consistent level of results in order to make progress on the field."

Suarez has earned a reputation, during his relatively short time in Engl ish football, for going down too easily but Rodgers has always insisted that was not the case.

Less than a fortnight ago, the Reds boss raised his concerns about how referees were not giving decisions in Suarez's favour, having been frustrated by what he felt were clear penalties against Sunderland and Manchester United being overlooked.

"He hasn't dived - they have been legitimate," he said at the time.

"He went down at Sunderland and it looked a clear penalty and he ended up getting booked for it.

"I'm not sure (whether Suarez's reputation is influencing officials). You'd need to ask the referees but he is a wonderful talent and, irrespective of whether he goes down, if it's a penalty, it's a penalty.

"What I have seen, he certainly doesn't ever look like he is going to get a decision and that is something which would bother me going forward."

Callaghan: Reds need proven goalscorer

Liverpool: Lack a cutting edge in front of goal

Callaghan, the club's record appearance maker, having played 857 times in an 18-year career at Anfield, has been impressed by the progress made by the new Reds boss since arriving in the summer.

However, he said allowing Andy Carroll to leave on loan to West Ham in late August without a replacement being found was a mistake which may take some time to correct.

"Brendan Rodgers has come in and obviously he wants to play his style of football but it will take time," said Callaghan, who became a key component in the revolution the great Bill Shankly effected at the club.

"I was brought up on pass and move and that is the way Liverpool have always played.

"I think supporters want that style because they have been brought up on it over a number of years.

"The long ball wasn't Liverpool and that is why they competed so well in Europe for all those years."

Rodgers' insistence on a passing, possession-heavy style of play has yet to pa y full dividends, with the team taking just six points from seven matches - and yet to win at home - to leave them 14th in the table.

They have scored nine times - five of those coming in the victory at Norwich just over a week ago - with Luis Suarez left to shoulder the burden up front after Carroll was allowed to go to Upton Park, only for a deal for Fulham's Clint Dempsey to fall through.

"Managers have a list of players they would like to come in and play their way, and he has brought some players in and he will bring a few more players in," added Callaghan.

"But I feel as though we do need a regular goalscorer and that is probably one of the reasons why Liverpool's position now doesn't reflect how they've played.

"They've made the chances but not had a regular goalscorer to put them in.

"I don't suppose they should have got rid of Carroll really, even if he didn't fit into Brendan's plans.

"When things weren't going right there could have been Andy Carroll, who is terrific in the air, but the thing was no-one came in."

And Callaghan insisted just because a player's strength was in having an aerial presence, it did not mean he could not fit into the Liverpool way of playing.

"John Toshack played alongside Kevin Keegan when I was playing and he was great in the air," he added.

Rodgers salutes fans' loyalty

Rodgers: Has thanked Liverpool fans for their continuing support

The Reds are yet to claim three points at home in the Premier League under Rodgers this season, while they have only won two league games on their own turf in 2012.

They enter the international break 14th in the standings after Sunday's goalless draw with Stoke and the manager has hailed fans for their ongoing support despite testing times.

He told the Daily Star: "This is a club that has only won two Premier League games at Anfield this calendar year and it's been nearly a year since the club has won consecutive Premier League games.

"So to still get the support and backing of the supporters with that type of record, there are not many clubs who'd get that."

Sunday's encounter saw six Stoke players booked but Rodgers refused to condemn their physical approach.

He said: "They're a bunch of big men who make it difficult for you. There's no right or wrong way to play football.

"They choose to play a totally different type of gam e.

"But what I was proud of was that our young guys stood up to that and we coped while still trying to play our game."

Minggu, 07 Oktober 2012

Pulis blasts Suarez over diving

Suarez: No goals for Reds

Stoke boss Tony Pulis condemned a blatant dive by the Uruguayan striker towards the end of the 0-0 Premier League draw as "very, very disappointing".

The Stoke manager has previously called on the Football Association to ban players guilty of simulation, while Suarez himself has been accused by some of going down too easily.

Pulis said: "You have got Suarez falling over in the box second half which was really, really disappointing.

"I think that should be highlighted, as I have said before."

Pulis continued his criticism of the Uruguayan to BBC Sport: "I thought Suarez again today...I've been on about people falling over and the one incident in the second's an embarrassment being a professional footballer (and doing that).

"He's a fantastic player, he's got great ability and he is the one player we were frightened to death of today, but doing things like that...

"Retrospective decisions are made on a Monday by the FA and they should be looking at this. Give him three games and he will stop falling over.

"What happens is that he puts pressure on the referee and every time he goes down you've got 40,000 Liverpool fans getting after the ref and I don't think that's right.

"I don't know how many times he has fallen over but the one in the penalty box is just an embarrassment and how he has not been booked I just don't know.

"I am concerned about the simulation and putting pressure on the ref. It's a tough enough job as it is. For professional footballers to be doing that is just not right and the PFA should start talking about it."

Pulis contrasted Suarez's dive with Glen Johnson's reaction to a strong Stoke challenge.

He added: "There was a challenge in the first half in front of us, Jon Walters and Glen Johnson both went up for a header, it was a proper old-fashioned challenge.

"Glen Johnson did absolutely fantastic, just bounced back up on got wi th the game, it was a proper, proper challenge.

"I went over to him and said 'well done, brilliant' - not only did he play exceptionally well but his behaviour was fabulous."

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers insisted he had not seen the Suarez incident but defended his player.

Rodgers said: "I haven't seen the incident so I can't really comment on it but whatever Luis does there will always be a problem, whether it's media, referees or whatever.

"It gets brought up every week, it's something that is not new.

"I thought he was terrific today, some of his movement and combinations."

Rodgers admitted to being frustrated by the result but was full of praise for his players for standing up to a physical Stoke side - but he did not believe the visitors had been over-physical.

He added: "No - they are a bunch of big men who make it difficult for you and there is no right or wrong way to play football. What I was proud of is our youn g guys stood up to that.

"It was a physical game today but no complaints from us. I thought maybe the referee didn't see it that way and didn't give some decisions he should have done.

"I am obviously disappointed we didn't win the game but I thought the attitude and application of the players was terrific.

"As the game went on, we got into good areas but it was just that final touch, that final decision at the end of it didn't allow us to score.

"There were a lot of real positives from the game and our first clean sheet which is important.

"We had so much dominance, particularly second half, so I was pleased with how we kept going."

Rodgers pointed out that Liverpool's recent record at Anfield is nothing to shout about but that only time could turn it around.

He said: "This is a club that has won only two Premier League games at Anfield in this calendar year and it has been nearly a year since the club has won consecutive Pre mier League games so to still get the backing of the supporters with that type of record, there's not many clubs would give that.

"The players gave the club everything today, and there should be a big appreciation of the supporters.

"There were a lot of real positives and it was our first clean sheet of the season which is important."

Pulis insisted Stoke could have done even better after mistakes by Liverpool in the first half nearly gifted goals to Charlie Adam and Michael Kightly.

He said: "We are pleased, we have had three draws here in five years in the Premiership so we haven't done too bad.

"We just can't get that win that we would love. The first 20 to 25 minutes I thought we had the best chances and the best of the game and then they came into it and in the second half we had to defend resolutely.

"They worked their socks off, it's a good group, a very, very together group and we are pleased with the point."

Pulis con firmed that Michael Owen missed a return to Anfield after tweaking his groin on Saturday.