Category Archives: Liverpool
This match is the calm between the storms for Liverpool coming as it does after the win against Manchester City and before the visit of Chelsea, yet it is equally important for Brendan Rodgers’ title-chasing side. Luis Suárez will relish the occ…
City’s draw against Sunderland a warning sign, says Rodgers Premier League leaders told: there is nothing guaranteedBrendan Rodgers believes Manchester City’s faltering title challenge will serve as a warning against complacency to Liverpool when they …
Heads of terms commit club to role in £260m regeneration
Agreement signed with city council and Your Housing Group
Liverpool have taken another significant step towards their stadium redevelopment by legally committing to the proposed £260m regeneration of the Anfield area.
Tom Werner, the club’s chairman, has signed the heads of terms document that will lead to a formal contract being entered into by the football club, Liverpool city council and Your Housing Group, the three parties involved in the proposed scheme for the overall area. The results of a recent consultation exercise on the project will be presented to the council’s cabinet next week when Liverpool’s plans for Anfield stadium a rebuilt Main Stand followed by a new Anfield Road End will be unveiled to local residents and supporters.
Our Merseyside football writer is online to discuss the weekend’s Premier League games and debate who will win the league: Liverpool, Chelsea or Manchester City
How can Manchester City fans complain about the balance of decisions yesterday? Liverpool lost 2-1 away at City even though Sterling scored a brilliant goal which was disallowed for a false offside. It would be great if officials could see all fouls with complete certainty, but no linesman should ever see an offside that did not happen.
Thought Pellegrini was very fair in his post-match press conference yesterday. Said it was a clear penalty for the handball by Skrtel but insisted it was City’s mistakes, not Mark Clattenburg, that cost them the game. Hard to disagree with that analysis.
Great match, congrats to both teams.
This is a wind-up surely? Yes, Liverpool fans booed City every time they had the ball. It wasn’t “a fair number”. It was every one of them. Good for them. City’s recovery in the second half showed they were not affected but Liverpool – or any crowd – would be justified in trying.
I agree with you on Skrtel. He’s got away with a lot this season. At one point in the second half, when City had the ball on the right wing, he was pulling Dzeko’s shirt down his back. The referee had a look too.
Do you think there’s a Cole/Sheringham situation developing with Suarez and Sturridge? Suarez appeared to be losing his rag with Sturridge at one point and had to be calmed down by Skrtel.
He did, and after Sturridge went through instead of playing in Suarez at 2-1 – injuring himself in the process – Suarez was on the point of explosion. You can’t blame him. It’s happened a few times this season but if they keep scoring and help win the league like Cole/Sheringham for United, it doesn’t matter.
If it goes down to the last game, could any title contender wish for a better fixture than Newcastle United at home?
At the start of the season an awful lot of people thought Liverpool would struggle to get into a Champions League spot, now with four games to go they sit on top of the league two points clear of teams with more resources and supposedly better managers in charge.
The only people I heard say Liverpool would qualify for the Champions League at the start of this season were Steven Gerrard and John W Henry. Rodgers kept his counsel for obvious reasons, as he has been doing with regards the title. There was no talk of the title and that has been of benefit in the run-in. The pressure is elsewhere. It shows Rodgers’ skill not only as a tactician but in creating a strong team spirit at Anfield.
The Champions League semi-final will have an impact somewhere or on someone. As you say, it’s the ‘expected’ aways where Chelsea have slipped up and if Cardiff need to win to stay up on the final day you wouldn’t rule out another one.
Apart from the head-to-heads, do you think the front three will win all their remaining games, or where can you see them dropping points?
Everton v City looks the strongest possibility out of those three, although I thought City were excellent in the second half at Anfield yesterday. Liverpool v Chelsea – one of the top three will surely drop points in that one (sorry).
Liverpool have a tendency to produce their better performances against the top sides. What are the chances of them stumbling at Norwich or Crystal Palace?
They do, and you wouldn’t bet against Liverpool doing the same against Chelsea. There is a chance of a slip-up anywhere in the Premier League but, as with West Ham and Fulham away, Liverpool keep finding a way to win. Norwich and Palace won’t hold any fears for them.
Has Liverpool’s success from going to seventh to being possible champions in one season exposed managers who claim they can’t compete with the wealth of Manchester City and Chelsea, and try and talk down their teams at every chance as slightly fraudulent? Are people likely to be less sympathetic to the likes of Wenger, Hodgson and Moyes as a result?
A very good point that I was trying to make to an Arsenal supporter last week, although I was drunk at Aintree so it never came across as clearly as that. I think it also demonstrates the impact Rodgers has had at Liverpool and, in fairness to Wenger in particular, the benefit that not having European football and having Luis Suarez has had on Liverpool’s season.
Johnson, Gerrard, Henderson, Sterling, Sturridge should they all be in the starting XI for England at the World Cup? And should Flanagan also be on the plane to Brazil?
I mentioned in one of the talking points from the game yesterday that Hodgson must be thinking of using all five in their club positions for England. Sterling has improved as the season has gone on. Would help improve the understanding that international teams can lack and there are not many better alternatives than the five you mention. Might be too early for Flanagan though. One thing at a time.
How do you see the Everton v Manchester United game going next week? Do you think Moyes will be able to rally his troops with nothing to play for other than his own personal dignity?
A bit off topic but United’s away record has been good in the Premier League this season. My only prediction is for the reception Moyes will receive when he steps into his technical area at Goodison – hostile.
Henderson suspended, Sturridge out of form, Gerrard an emotional wreck, Rodgers sounding a bit overconfident. Do you think Liverpool are heading for a massive fall? I don’t.
I don’t either.
Andy, no one’s making much of the fact that Chelsea now have to play Atlético Madrid either side of their trip to Anfield. How significant do you think this is? It wasn’t mentioned in the “15 games that will decide the championship” piece.
Very significant and it should have been mentioned. The Champions League could have influenced Chelsea’s slips at Villa and Palace and, with the relentless pressing Liverpool perform on their opponents, they will need to be as fresh as possible at Anfield.
As a “neutral” I’d like to confirm I don’t want Liverpool to win the title. Just for the benefit of the news outlets consistently telling us “all” the neutrals want Liverpool to win it.
Glen Johnson started that.
If Sturridge is out for the foreseeable, this presumably means Coutinho moving forward again. How, then, do you see Rodgers setting out his midfield? Is it beyond his powers to turn Lucas into an ingenious playmaker?
Think you might be a bit optimistic on the reinvention of Lucas but his defensive qualities will be important. Coutinho – Suarez – Sterling perhaps if Sturridge is out for a while? Waiting to hear the extent of his injury though and his pride might have been hurting as much as his hamstring after failing to pass to Suarez yesterday. Thought Suarez was going to lamp him.
Are there any reasonable explanations for Manchester City being denied three clear penalties and Liverpool inexplicably not having Suarez and Skrtl sent off?
Suarez was fortunate to avoid a second yellow card but not Skrtel. The handball at the end was the strongest shout, not convinced about the others. Thought Dzeko should have cut the ball across Sakho when he had the chance and that would have made the referee’s decision easier.
I dont see any of the top three winning all their remaining games. So where are they likely to lose them? Not counting Liverpool v Chelsea of course. Palace v Liverpool seems like one, as does Everton v City. It’s going to be interesting…
There’s bound to be a slip somewhere. Liverpool’s trip to Palace will be difficult. I’m sure they will be hoping Palace are safe before that game.
A draw with Chelsea will hand the initiative back to Manchester City. Is it just me, I’m getting sick of the tidal wave of “Will Liverpool win it” media , it’s everywhere , radio and online morning noon and night… etc.
I’m sure it’s not just you but the media is only covering what is happening on the pitch, and that is an outstanding run by an eye-catching Liverpool team that many thought might just miss out on Champions League qualification this season. Credit where it’s due.
How gutted will Jamie Carragher be that he decided to retire just before Liverpool win the league?
It would be natural to regret missing out on what would be one of the finest achievements of the Premier League era. I’m sure his delight at seeing Liverpool win the title would compensate though.
Is it better for Liverpool that Chelsea have to play for a win at Anfield rather than the avoid-defeat template they took to Old Trafford and the Emirates?
Chelsea had to win at Manchester City to give themselves a realistic shot of the title and produced arguably their best display of the season, so I’m not sure that stands up. I think the Champions League semi-finals either side of the Liverpool fixture could have a bigger impact.
Is Rodgers a shoo-in for Manager of the Season no matter what the outcome of the title race?
He must be. Unless Mourinho can pull off a Premier League/Champions League success. Tony Pulis also worth a shout but what Rodgers has achieved in such a short space of time at Liverpool is outstanding.
Liverpool fan here. How to do you see the suspension of Henderson over the next three matches following yesterday’s red? Do you see Allen or Lucas as the obvious replacement?
“the one sour point” was how Brendan Rodgers described Henderson’s red card and with good reason. He will be sorely missed, not only in terms of his work-rate but on the creative side. Lucas and Joe Allen can fill in and compensate in terms of solidity but they don’t offer Henderson’s invention. Could be a big loss against Chelsea.
Is this year going to actually be Liverpool’s year?
The reaction to the final whistle at Anfield yesterday said it all for me – Liverpool certainly think so and there’s no reason to doubt them after beating Manchester City. 10 straight wins in the Premier League is a remarkable achievement and Liverpool are finding different ways to win. Even with Suarez and particularly Daniel Sturridge below par yesterday, they had Raheem Sterling and Coutinho to take responsibility. So, in answer to your question, yes.
Good morning. Andy will be here from 11.30am, but in the meantime here is some of our reaction to the weekend’s football:
Manchester City’s resolve failed to stop Liverpool on a day when the 3-2 result could decide the Premier League title set against the commemoration of the 25th anniversary of HillsboroughThis was an extraordinary day at Anfield, an occasion for remembr…
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38 mins Dzeko is taken down on the edge of the D by Coutinho, right in the centre of the pitch, and it’s a free-kick to City. Silva steps up and tries to send the ball under the wall. He fails miserably.
36 mins A corner to Liverpool on the right. Coutinho takes, Kompnay clears. Speaking of Coutinho, here’s the thoughts of Anthony Warmuth: “It’s been interesting watching Coutinho’s development in his time at Liverpool – he’s always had beautiful artistic ability but now he’s putting in full-blooded tackles as well. The opposite development pattern of most players under Rodgers I’d say but still with the end goal of creating well-rounded players.” Agreed but he is not the only player who has improved quite a bit under Rodgers.
33 mins Oh my. Sakho has tried to tackle Dzeko in the box and instead of taking the ball, looks to have taken the player. Clattenburg says ‘never in a month of Sundays’ but you have seen those given and Sakho certainly looked like he had his heart in his mouth for a moment or two.
32 mins Corner to City after a Gerrard tackle stopped Dzeko in his tracks. In it goes, out comes Mignolet, out comes his first, out goes the ball.
30 mins From our man on/in the ground.
Liverpool thoroughly deserve this. Biggest game of the season and Man City are all over the place.
City had been on the attack but failed to do anything with it and Liverpool sprinted away on the attack. Sturridge got the ball on the edge of the area and tries to thread it through to Suárez, I think, at the back post. City cut that out and it was a corner to Liverpool. That was swung over and Gerrard, completely unmarked, headed right for goal. A brilliant reaction save from Hart stopped that but gave Liverpool another corner. (Gerrard should have headed the ball down). This one was taken from the left (by Gerrard) and Skrtel beat Kompany to the ball, rose highest and doubled his side’s lead.
Anfield has just gone crazy.
24 mins “Is no one going to mention the positioning of Joe Hart on Liverpool’s goal?” asks Michael. “He was half a yard behind his centre back when there was need to be there. Surely he should have left it to Kompany and if Sterling beats him then Hart can close down the space.”
22 mins City get a corner on the right after Silva and Navas combine. The big men come up from the back and the ball is swung into the box but Liverpool deal with it easily enough.
21 mins A throw to Liverpool on the right. Johnson takes it long. Suárez tries to flick it on but he only succeeds in giving back possession to City. City launch is long and the ball ding-dongs about a bit before Garcia brings an end to it all by taking down Henderson from behind. He gets a yellow card for his troubles.
19 mins It’s official. Off goes Touré with what looks like groin-gah! and on comes Garcia.
17 mins Bad news for City fans, Garcia is warming up. Touré would be a massive loss.
15 mins City finally get an attack. Dzeko works his way down the left wing, before skipping pasta player or two and putting the ball back for Nasri. He squares the ball for Touré who balloons it wide of the goal and looks to have hurt himself in the process. Meanwhile down the other end, a swift attack saw Sterling send the ball in for Sturridge but the striker cannot do anything with it except slice the ball wide.
13 mins “Suarez ass or arse like a truck, he could feature in dancehall video poking it out like that,” reckons Kuku Agami.
11 mins Liverpool are cutting City open like a hot knife through ice-cream that has been left in the Arizona sun for a few hours. They just cannot deal with Sterling. Speaking of Sterling, his calmness of mind and confidence in scoring that goal was sensational.
9 mins Just before that goal, Suárez was booked for a late and needless challenge on Demichelis near the City corner flag on the right.
Liverpool could not have asked for anything better than this. A long ball was launched up from the Liverpool back. Suárez won it against Demichelis and then held off the challenge of Clichy with his arse. He then played a delightful through ball into the box for Sterling who kept his cool sending Kompany and Hart one way before poking the ball into the net the other way.
What a start for Liverpool!
4 mins Liverpool win a throw on the halfway line on the right. The ball is played around the back and then down the right. It goes back to the back and Liverpool try the opposite side. Coutinho, eventually, gets the ball in the middle of the field and he aims for goal. His effort is well wide.
2 mins Liverpool dominate the early possession and push on but fail to do anything with it. City win the ball back and run down the left. Coutinho, of all players, sticks the boot in and stops the attack.
1 min Liverpool get us going, playing left to right in their traditional red and into the Kop end. City, as expected, are in their sky blue.
That was impeccably observed. Now, let’s get this show on the road, shall we?
The players are on the pitch, the roars have erupted and the hands have been shaken. Legs have been stretched, shirts have been tucked in then taken out and gloves have been spat on. We are almost ready to get on with the football business of the day but before we do that we’ll have the minute’s silence to remember the 96 whose died at Hillsborough 25 years ago.
“Afternoon Ian” says Simon McMahon. “May I be the first to congratulate Matt Dony and Liverpool on their first title in however many years. If anyone deserves it it’s Matt. He’s done the hard yards and now he can bask in the glory of a celebratory MBM. Well done Matt, and congratulations Liverpool, league champions 2013-14.”
And for those of you that would like to sample the noise at the ground …
Nice touch this from the Manchester City fans.
A touch more chat re the Manchester City team.
@ianmccourt in response to the Dzeko question I feel he always seems to get goals in big matches (United, QPR etc) Prefer him to Negredo atm
“Argh! I’m so freaking nervous!” says Matt Dony, shaking like a tooth ache. “I’d forgotten football could feel like this! I mean, it’s great and all, but in many ways, it was much easier watching Hodgson send out Konchesky, Jovanovic, Ngog et al. No expectations, so ultimately no real disappointments. And what if Liverpool go on and win the whole thing? It would be incredible, but as soon as next season starts, the terror will just come screaming back. I don’t know if I can watch.” Guessing Matt is not the only one.
“Hi Ian,” cheers Rajiv. “I wouldnt worry too much about Kompany, pace isnt part of his game much like it isnt part of Rooney’s and he managed to play the 90 mins against Bayern Munich.” Hmm, maybe. But surely the ability to twist and turn and turn and twist is a part of his game and given SAS’s (and others, of course) ability to slalom with the ball at speed, a sore knee could well preclude Kompany from coping with this aspect of the game as well as he possibly can. That could prove to be a turning point in the game, no?
Now this is interesting. Pellegrini has just been chin-wagging with the peeps from Sky. He was asked about how confident he was of Kompany’s fitness and his reply was rather meek. He said:
Vincent Kompany will warm up with the team and then we will see if he has a problem but I think he will be fit to play. Of course there is always a doubt but the doctors said he will be OK. He had a problem with his knee yesterday because another player fell on him and he twisted his knee a little bit but not so much. We are always prepared to make changes but I hope he will play.
Have you been up all night biting your nails and wondering whether or not Vincent Kompany would be fit and ready to take his place at the heart of the Manchester City defence? Well wonder no more. He is fit, he is ready and he is in the team. One person who isn’t, however, is Sergio Agüero which means he starts the game from the bench and Edin Dzeko is the man to lead City’s forward line. (Does that worry you fans of City?) The rest of the Manuel Pellegrini’s team selection is as surprising as the news that Tim Sherwood will not be in charge of Tottenham next season. As for Liverpool. They name the same 11 that beat West Ham last week, which means that Sakho and Sterling both start ahead of a more experienced player like Agger, who is on the bench. Those teams in full then are as follows:
Liverpool: Mignolet, Johnson, Flanagan, Sakho, Skrtel, Gerrard, Henderson, Coutinho, Sterling, Suarez, Sturridge. Subs: Jones, Toure, Agger, Aspas, Moses, Allen, Lucas.
Today’s match programme, City took a full page advert to mark the 96. always been a great classy club. pic.twitter.com/25T8G3fGrI
George is doing his best to convince Jerry to go to a party in Long Island. Jerry’s reluctant. “It’s so far out, it smacks of desperation,” he reasons. “The whole party, everyone’s gonna be saying to me, ‘You came all the way out from Manhattan for this?’ George tries again. Eva will be there, he needs a wingman and if it’ll seal the deal, he’ll drive. Jerry concedes and agrees to go. Once there, George and Eva get on like the harp and Joanna Newsom’s fingers. She tells George she wants him make love to her. “I don’t like when a woman says, ‘Make love to me’, it’s intimidating. The last time a woman said that to me, I wound up apologising to her,” George confesses. “That’s a lot of pressure. Make love to me. What am I, in the circus? What if I can’t deliver? … I can’t perform under pressure.”
George managed to cope with the pressure if not the social interaction (“Every time I go to the bathroom I pass her desk … If it was a good conversation, I don’t go to the bathroom for the rest of the day”) and that is the crux of today’s game between Liverpool and Manchester City. Both of these sides are certainly good enough to win today and certainly good enough to win the title. But what it could come down to is which team can deal best with the incessant glare of the media, the incessant noise of the fans, the incessant pressure that comes with what is effectively a title-deciding 90 minutes of football?
This current incarnation of City can pull out their carefully typed CV and carefully point to a wealth of experience when it comes to games of this magnitude. Quite a few of the lads lining up in sky blue today will have played in that game against Queens Park Rangers and quite a few more will have played in the final of the Milk Cup, the final of the FA Cup, the final of the Champions League, the final of the European Championship and the final of the World Cup. While City’s belly-full of experience spills out over its belt and runs down its trousers like a Weeping Japanese Larch, Liverpool’s looks as bony and gaunt and hollowed-eyed as a Swedish teen forced into modelling by a pushy mother determined to live vicariously through her daughter and who has long since browbeaten her husband, a former history teacher who has recently took up smoking a pipe, into supporting her cause. Among the chosen 11 expected to start in red today, only Steven Gerrard (and perhaps Daniel Agger) can truly go toe-to-toe with some of those slicker City slickers.
Thus the message Brendan Rodgers will almost certainly have been massaging into his players’ minds all week will be one of reassurance, reassurance that it is City who have the more the lose and reassurance that if Liverpool take to the field and take to their usual brand of fantastic football, not even this dearth of big-game experience can hold them back. Should there be a doubting Thomas amongst his audience (inside or outside the club), he can point to the stats and the results to back up his point. Against top-ten opposition, Liverpool have picked up 29 points from their 15 games and they have won all four home meetings with their fellow top seven sides so far this season. There is only problem with that. City have 36 points, they have only played one game more and they have already beaten Liverpool this season, albeit with much difficulty.
These two sides have easily been the easiest to watch all season (although Everton deserve an honourable mention). By hook, crook, accident or, perhaps, painstaking research and plenty of tactical work on the training ground, City and Liverpool seemed to have stumbled upon the perfect formula of tippy-tappy passing and midfield might, topped off with some nocuous forward play. It has ensured that both side at their fast-paced, free-flowing, penetrative-passing best, are a real joy to behold. “I think it [the win over West Ham] shows that in this squad now we have a bit of everything a bit of class, a bit of skill … But we’ve also got some steel. We have lads here who want to roll their sleeves up and dig in,” said Gerrard earlier in the week. However, the same thoughts could have tripped off the tongue of Vincent Kompany and no one would have batted an eyelid.
So while this game is the meeting of the two highest scoring sides in the league this season Liverpool have 90 and City have 84 it is also a meeting of two sides who have had question marks hanging over their defence. Pablo Zabaleta is arguably the best right back in the league but Kompany seems to have lost his sheen somewhat (not to mention his propensity towards discipline; in his last 5 league games he has picked up three yellows and a red) and Martín Demichelis has been ringing around distant relatives but has yet to discover one that could hook him up with a passport for pace. Liverpool, meanwhile, might have looked steadier at the back of late but they did concede three goals against Cardiff, the third lowest scoring side in the league, and against Swansea. In fact, with the exception of Tottenham, they have the worst defensive record in the top seven spots going into this weekend’s round of fixtures.
The omens would seem to have sided with Liverpool. As my colleague, Andy Hunter pointed out in his preview piece for this match:
There is the feel of 2005 at Anfield and also remarkable similarities with Bill Shankly’s first title-winning campaign as Liverpool manager 50 years ago. Suárez and Sturridge are the first two Liverpool players to score 20 goals or more in a league season since Ian St John and Roger Hunt in 1963-64. That season, as this season, Liverpool beat Manchester United 1-0 and 3-0 and went to the top of the table after beating Tottenham Hotspur at home on 30 March, a position they never relinquished as they ended their 17-year wait for the championship. Also, on the past two occasions Liverpool have played Manchester City on Boxing Day before this season, 1981-82 and 1985-86, they lost both fixtures but went on to win the league.
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