Monthly Archives: December 2013

Rodgers: No looming arrivals at Liverpool

The Northern Irishman rejected suggestions that Barcelona winger Cristian Tello will arrive at Anfield, adding that he did not expect any imminent arrivals in January

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers says there are no impending arrivals at the club, although they are working hard to secure transfer targets.

The transfer window re-opens on Wednesday, with Liverpool enjoying success last January with the arrivals of striker Daniel Sturridge and midfielder Philippe Coutinho.

Reports have surfaced that Rodgers is looking to add Barcelona forward Cristian Tello to his ranks in a loan deal until the end of the season, with the Northern Irishman expressing his desire to add to his squad after Sunday’s 2-1 defeat at Chelsea.

However, when pressed on the Tello rumours, Rodgers insisted that there was nothing complete and that there would be no “imminent” news in terms of player arrivals.

“I’m sure that [Tello rumour] will be the start of it [transfer talk], and I’m sure there will be plenty more,” he said.

“But there’s nothing to add on anything with regard to players coming in. There’s nothing imminent.

“Obviously the recruitment team are busy putting things together in terms of the profile of players we need here to improve the team and the squad.

“The owners have invested millions upon millions into the team and every window we arrive in looking to improve where we can. This window will be no different.”

Liverpool had topped the Premier League table at Christmas, but defeat at Manchester City preceded the Chelsea setback, leaving Liverpool six points adrift of leaders Arsenal.

The Merseyside outfit will now look to return to winning ways against Hull City on Wednesday.

‘I don’t need the Ballon d’Or to know I’m the best’ – the most memorable quotes of 2013

The past 12 months have been packed with controversy – here, we take a look back at the proclamations that made headlines across the footballing world

The turn of the year is always an ideal time to reflect on what’s gone before, so Goal has decided to take advantage of this most opportune occasion by trawling through the most memorable quotes of 2013.

Some are amusing, some are touching, some are controversial, while some are downright bizarre. All of them, though, made headlines around the footballing world. So, sit back and enjoy, and be sure to let us know if we’ve missed any crackers in the space provided at the foot of the page …

“At half-time I reiterated to the referee that it was not safe to play in these conditions. Didier Drogba said it was the same thing for both teams, but I pointed out it wasn’t, because we were trying to play football.”

– Juventus may have been beaten by Galatasaray on a mud patch in December but Bianconeri boss Antonio Conte certainly won the war of words afterwards.

“We want football players – not fashion models. Last year he had more hairstyles than goals.”

– In ruling out signing Kevin-Prince Boateng, Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho underlines that he always favours brawn over beauty.

“We beat a team that is no more than a group of buddies who were rejected because they couldn’t play rugby in New Zealand, and they had no choice but to switch to soccer.”

– Real Madrid legend Hugo Sanchez endears himself to a nation by arguing that it would be a mistake to get too excited by Mexico routing the All Whites 9-3 on aggregate in their World Cup inter-continental play-off.

“Luckily, I have my wife and two kids. If left alone in Blackburn, I’d have already hanged myself.”

– Former Blackburn Rovers defender Gael Givet rules himself out of the running for a job with the Lancashire Tourist Board.

“Faus is a person who does not know anything about football. He tries to run Barcelona like a business, but this is a football club. Barcelona are the best club in the world and should also have the best directors in the world.”

– Lionel Messi decides against letting his football do the talking for once and sparks panic at Camp Nou by publically attacking vice-president Javier Faus.

“Lothar was very busy dealing with women over the last few months. Now he deals with players of Bayern Munich. Maybe he changed his area of hunting.”

– Bayern president Uli Hoeness suggests that Germany icon Matthaus should stick to sorting out his private life, after the former midfield ace claims that Borussia Dortmund’s Robert Lewandowski is bound for Bavaria.

“We are not a supermarket but they want our players because they know we cannot pay them the same money. If that’s what Bayern wants … It’s like James Bond – except they are the other guy.”

– Dortmund boss Jurgen Klopp in-no-way subtly implies that Bayern are the villains of German football.

“We were looking through his playlist in the dressing room – there was lots of Justin Bieber, Jonas Brothers and Selena Gomez … It is nice to know that even David Beckham doesn’t have good taste in everything.”

– Paris Saint-Germain striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic reveals that his former fashion icon of a team-mate is not so cool after all.

“I had great qualities and if I had worn the jersey of Juventus, Milan or Inter, perhaps I’d have won the Ballon d’Or. With all due respect, if Pavel Nedved won it …”

– Faustino Asprilla reminds everyone that he hasn’t lost his penchant for courting controversy by disregarding all due respect for Pavel Nedved.

“Who’ll win between Portugal and Sweden? Only God knows …”

“It’s difficult to ask Him…No, you’re talking to Him now.”

– Zlatan proves with this wonderful exchange with a reporter ahead of his nation’s World Cup play-off against the Seleccao that while he might not be the Messiah, he is a very arrogant man.

“One thing is for sure, a World Cup without me is nothing to watch, so it is not worthwhile to wait for the World Cup.”

– Ibra underlines that the game’s biggest tournament will be a poorer place for the absence of the game’s biggest mouth.

“I don’t need the Ballon d’Or to know I’m the best. It matters more to some players …”

– The Swede dismisses the significance of the game’s most prestigious individual accolade. The fact that he’s never won it had nothing to do with it, of course.

“After a perfectly normal challenge, Ibra turned to me and provoked me, making a joke about my moustache, saying, ‘That really is terrible.’ I responded by saying that he should think about his nose.”

– Sacha Kljestan puts Ibra in his place after going face-to-face with the striker during Anderlecht’s 1-1 draw with Paris Saint-Germain at the Parc des Princes.

“One has more expenses for the hairdresser than the other.”

– Fifa president and long-time foot-in-mouth disease sufferer Sepp Blatter makes headlines once again after being asked to compare Cristiano Ronaldo with Lionel Messi.

“This video shows clearly the respect and consideration that Fifa has for me, for my club and my country. Much is explained now. I wish Mr Blatter health and a long life, with the certainty that he will continue to witness, as he deserves, the successes of his favourite teams and players.”

– Ronaldo’s impressively cutting reaction on Facebook.

“He thought he was Peter Pan. Nobody is.’’

– In one of several barbs aimed at Roy Keane in his autobiography, former Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson claims the Irishman mistakenly felt that he was impervious to the ravages of time.

“I remember having conversations with the manager when I was at the club about loyalty. In my opinion, I don’t think he knows the meaning of the word.”

– In a wholly unsurprising development, Keane immediately bites back, querying why the Scot felt the need to slam so many of the players that had served him so well at Old Trafford.

“I bet my arse Bayern will ask Pep for help against Barca.”

– Dortmund Klopp argues that the Bavarians would seek out the help of their then incoming coach ahead of their Champions League semi-final clash with the Blaugrana.

“Klopp’s arse will end up in our museum.”

– Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge gives a brilliantly terse reply.

“I don’t like comparisons with Pele because of the stupid things he says. He keeps on saying stupid stuff when he takes the wrong pills.”

– Argentina icon Diego Maradona, who never says anything stupid, reopens his long-running feud with Brazil legend Pele.

“Shinji Kagawa is one of the best players in the world and he now plays 20 minutes at Manchester United – on the left wing! My heart breaks. Really, I have tears in my eyes.”

– The always emotional Klopp wells up while discussing the plight of former Borussia Dortmund star Shinji Kagawa at Old Trafford.

“The fans feel betrayed. The comments Mario Gotze made in the recent past [about wanting to stay at Dortmund] don’t make him credible. This damages the whole of football.”

– Matthaus gets a tad melodramatic over Gotze’s decision to leave Dortmund for rivals Bayern Munich.

“I can understand that people are not happy, but they should not use football to make their demands heard. Brazil asked to host the World Cup. We didn’t force it on them.”

– Blatter boosts Fifa’s popularity in Brazil by giving this typically tactful response to the public protests that overshadowed this year’s Confederations Cup.

“A Marseille player, whose name I don’t remember, speaks badly of Neymar, Brazilian football, Beckham and Ibra … It makes me want to win even more, to shut this Englishman up. What does he know about Brazilian football? I can’t remember playing against him for the national team.”

– Like everyone else in the entire footballing world, Thiago Silva grows weary of Joey Barton’s constant pleas for attention on Twitter.

“I saw Abidal’s situation and I didn’t like it. They weren’t correct with him, they didn’t keep their word. In my case, it was just over sporting negotiations. But, in Abidal’s case – who’s a great person – they did nothing to help.”

– In revealing why he didn’t move to Barcelona, Thiago Silva controversially slams the Catalans for failing to offer Eric Abidal sufficient support during his recovery from a liver transplant.

“Once at Juve I went to a party at Pippo Inzaghi’s house and there were lots of girls from TV shows there. We danced and drank beer, but everyone except me ended up having sex that night. The day after I saw them on television and told my wife: ‘Look, last night I was with all of them and didn’t do anything!’”

– Former Juventus midfielder Fabian O’Neil points out that while he wasn’t averse to fixing matches during his time in Serie A, he did at least have strong principles when it came to certain vices.

“After some games this season I haven’t needed to have a shower. Yes, I guess sometimes it is boring being in goal.”

– Manuel Neuer freely admits that being Bayern Munich’s No.1 is not always the most taxing job in the world.

“I never became champion when it was still so cold – neither as player nor as coach.”

– Bayern boss Jupp Heynckes confesses that clinching the Bundesliga on the first weekend in April, with a staggering eight games to spare, left him feeling a little cold.


“I have issued an apology and have tried to contact Branislav Ivanovic to speak to him personally. I apologise also to my manager, playing colleagues and everyone at Liverpool Football Club for letting them down.”

– Reds striker Luis Suarez says sorry after showing a little too much hunger in a 2-2 draw with Chelsea by trying to eat Blues defender Branislav Ivanovic.

“He [Suarez] bit someone; it happens. I am sure he will make amends with this guy. I made amends with Evander [Holyfield] and we got on with our lives.”

– Former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson reassures Suarez that it’s possible to get your career and indeed your life right back on track after biting an opponent.

“This gesture was just a special dedication to my comedian friend Dieudonne.”

– Nicolas Anelka kicks off the mother of race rows by celebrating a goal against West Ham at Upton Park with the controversial gesture, ‘la quenelle‘.

“I’m very happy at Monaco and I believe in the project. I feel good at the club. I believe in the Monaco project and I’m going to stay here.”
– Radamel Falcao tries valiantly to convince everyone that he believes in the project at Monaco. Nobody believes him.

“If I have to go to war one day, I’ll take Patrice Evra with me, at my side, in the frontline.”

– Nicolas Anelka voices his support for Patrice Evra, who caused controversy in France by accusing some television pundits/”parasites” of trying to ruin his image.

“We now have three ladies on the board. Say something, ladies! You are always speaking at home. Say something now!”

– Blatter urges Lydia Nsekera of Burundi, Australia’s Moya Dodd and Sonia Bien-Aime of the Turks & Caicos Islands to say a few words after being elected to the Fifa executive committee. If only he’d kept quiet.

“I think that for someone like Galliani there should be more respect. I can’t really see women in football, I don’t like to say it but that’s how it is.”

– Former AC Milan midfielder Gennaro Gattuso wades into the heated debate over Barbara Berlusconi’s attempts to wrest power away from Adriano Galliani and manages to upset everybody in one swift process.

“Women who talk about football tactics, it’s beautiful. I find that fantastic. And you know what a 4-3-3 is, right?”

– France Laurent Blanc takes the award for most outrageously condascending question of the year while in conversation with a female Swedish journalist.

“With all respect for what the ladies have done, and they’ve done it fantastically well, you can’t compare men’s and women’s football. Give it up, it’s not even funny.”

– Certainly, nobody was laughing after Ibrahimovic airs his views on the fairer sex and football.

INFAMY, INFAMY, THEY’VE ALL GOT IT IN FOR ME

“I’ve suffered grave damage to my person. This is not the way to deal with a generation change. It should be done with elegance.”

– Galliani announces his intention to step down as AC Milan CEO after 27 years with the club without even attempting to hide the fact that his power struggle with Barbara Berlusconi, daughter of club owner Silvio, is the reason behind his shock decision.

“Never have I ever had the slightest thought about possibly fixing a game. If something was proven I would be willing to go out into the street and, I know this is a strong thing to say, I would kill myself.”

– Gattuso makes headlines again after being implicated in the umpteenth match-fixing scandal to hit Italy – this year.

“I cried, suffered, felt bad and had nights where I slept little, if at all.”

– Real Madrid captain Iker Casillas reveals the depth of his despair at not being regularly picked to play football during the final months of Jose Mourinho’s reign at the Santiago Bernabeu.

“Without any proof they gave me an eight-match ban but with [John] Terry, where they had proof, lip-readers, they gave him four. I’m South American and I think that’s the root of all of this.”

– The still bitter Luis Suarez effectively accuses The Football Association of racism … for finding him guilty of racially abusing Patrice Evra last year.

“If I had to I would do it again and again. Not because of political beliefs, but because this man inspired me, a country, a continent and the world! Thanks again, Madiba.”

– Didier Drogba stands firm after being investigated by the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) in relation to a tee-shirt he wore paying tribute to former South African president Nelson Mandela, who passed away in December. The TFF wisely decided against charging the Ivorian.

“First of all, it’s a thank you to Manchester United; not just the directors, not just the medical staff, the coaching staff, the players, the supporters, it’s all of you. You have been the most fantastic experience of my life. Thank you.”

– Ferguson says goodbye to Manchester United after 27 incredible years at the club.

“I do not want to push myself in or impose my presence on the club’s new owners. It would be like selling your house and then continually visiting to sit in the lounge.”

– Massimo Moratti insists that he won’t hang around San Siro like … eh … Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford, after deciding to sell Inter to Erick Thohir.

“When I had to undergo surgery, Dani wanted to donate his liver.”

– Eric Abidal reveals that former Barcelona team-mate Daniel Alves was willing to put his career – and arguably his life – on the line for him when the full extent of his medical problems became clear.

“Without football, I would have been poor and probably unemployed.”

– Bayern Munich and Ballon d’Or contender Franck Ribery gives thanks to the game.

“If Pirlo were to leave, we might as well dismantle the stadium bit by bit and stop playing football altogether.”

– It’s fair to say that Gianluigi Buffon would be in favour of Juventus offering playmaker Andrea Pirlo a new contract.

“Nobody likes to play against Barca, except masochists.”

– Despite Bayern Munich’s compelling evidence to the contrary, Thomas Muller insists that playing the Blaugrana is always a painful experience.

“I discovered that he comes from the planet Krypton and that he will still play for another four or five years!”

– Former Inter president Massimo Moratti discloses the secret of Javier Zanetti’s remarkable longevity.

“I will not lie. Tonight’s game made our Super Bowl seem like the Little League World Series. The place was crazed throughout the game. My ears are still ringing, and the game is over for more than an hour. I never heard a crowd scream so loud in my life.”

– American director Spike Lee is left stunned by the atmosphere at the Maracana during the Copa do Brasil final between Flamengo and Atletico-PR.

IT’S NOT EASY BEING THE BOSS

“There are many youngsters waiting to take my place, but not every medical student goes on to become a surgeon.”

– Massimiliano Allegri gives his views on reports that he could be replaced as AC Milan coach by Clarence Seedorf or Pippo Inzaghi.

“In Italy, the coach is a paratrooper who jumps out of the plane but doesn’t know if the parachute will open or not.”

– Claudio Ranieri perfectly conveys the perilous nature of working in Serie A.

“What would I have done differently? I would have changed 11 players.”

– Chelsea boss Mourinho was less than impressed with the starting line-up he selected for November’s 2-0 defeat at Newcastle.

“The difference from last year is we are on an upward spiral in terms of confidence and they are in a negative spiral in terms of results – and to be out of that negative spiral is extremely difficult.”

– Andre Villas-Boas makes arguably the worst appraisal of the year after Tottenham’s win over Arsenal last season.

Rodgers hits back at Mourinho over Suarez jibe

The striker was accused by performing an “acrobatic swimming pool jump” by Jose Mourinho following Chelsea’s win on Sunday, but his manager has dismissed the jibe

Brendan Rodgers believes Liverpool striker Luis Suarez is an “easy target” after he was accused of diving by Jose Mourinho on Sunday.

The Uruguay international went down in the penalty area late in his side’s 2-1 defeat at Chelsea on Sunday, claiming Samuel Eto’o had barged him in the back.

Chelsea manager Mourinho was incensed and claimed Suarez, the Premier League’s top scorer, should have been shown a yellow card by referee Howard Webb for an “acrobatic swimming pool jump”.

However, his Liverpool counterpart, Rodgers, has responded by launching a staunch defence of Suarez, insisting his side should have been awarded a penalty.

“It certainly wasn’t [an acrobatic dive]. Anyone seeing the game would surely have seen that, but Luis is the easy target, isn’t he?” the Northern Irishman said on Monday.

“We had a spell where everyone was jumping on his back, saying he was diving. He must be the only one who’s doing it.

“I thought it was a valid claim for a penalty against a player who wasn’t even making an effort for the football. It certainly wasn’t an acrobatic dive.”

Liverpool, who spent Christmas Day top of the Premier League, are now six points adrift of leaders Arsenal after successive defeats at Manchester City and Chelsea.

However, Rodgers is not dwelling on those losses and heads into the New Year’s Day clash with Hull City at Anfield with plenty of optimism.

“I don’t want to go into it too much, the games have gone. We don’t gain anything from them now, other than the pride I’ve felt with the players and what they’ve produced these last two games,” he added.

“The Manchester City performance was outstanding. Everyone makes mistakes. The officials have made mistakes and unfortunately we’ve been punished for them.

“We went into the game [on Sunday] with a small squad against one of the biggest squads in Europe. We’ve had the game in the balance right to the very end.

“There were certainly decisions in that that could have gone for us on another day. But they’re gone now. My focus is merely on the last year and what has been an outstanding group of players that, from January onwards, have taken this team forward.

“We’ve ended 2013 and we will now begin again against Hull City. We’ll make the same effort in the coming year. If we can do that we’re going to be right up there.”

Rodgers: Liverpool not dependant on Suarez

The Uruguayan striker has scored 19 goals in 14 Premier League appearances this season, but the Reds boss is keen to promote the club’s lofty position as a group effort

Brendan Rodgers insists that Liverpool are not a one-man team – despite Luis Suarez’s performances dominating the headlines this season.

The striker has notched up 19 goals in the opening half of the 2013-14 Premier League campaign, despite missing the opening five games due to a ban for biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic.

Despite Suarez’s dominance, Rodgers is keen to prove his less-talked-about players are playing their part.

“This is a group that has always been labelled as a one-man team,” Rodgers told reporters.

“When Luis was playing, it was a ‘one-man team’. He came out and we still continued to get results; Daniel Sturridge came out and we continued to get results; Steven Gerrard came out and we continued to get results.

“Importantly, on top of that, we got performances. We work in a certain way that aligns everyone into that model so everyone knows when they come into the team they know their job and specifically what they’re doing.

“We’ll always be reliant on the team ethic. We’ve got more injuries but I see it as an opportunity for players that maybe haven’t featured or played so much.

“They have now got to stand up and show that they can be involved a lot more regularly. That’s what I expect over the next couple of games.”

Injuries have weakened Rodgers’ squad – with the Northern Irishman forced to use 18 year-old debutant Brad Smith as a substitute against Chelsea – but he was unmoved when asked about January incomings.

“There’s nothing to add on anything with regard to players coming in,” he said. “There’s nothing imminent.

“Obviously the recruitment team are busy putting things together in terms of the profile of players we need here to improve the team and the squad.

“The owners have invested millions upon millions into the team; every window we arrive in looking to improve it where we can. This window will be no different.”

Anfield form key for title bid, says Liverpool boss Rodgers

The Northern Irishman is remaining upbeat on his side’s hopes of being crowned champions come May – despite consecutive league defeats

Brendan Rodgers believes Liverpool’s home form will be crucial to the club maintaining their Premier League title bid.

The Merseysiders have travelled to Tottenham, Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Everton already this season but have only taken four points from those five matches.

Consecutive defeats to City and Chelsea have seen Rodgers’ side drop from top on Christmas day to fifth in the table, six points adrift of leaders Arsenal. The Northern Irishman, though, has not ruled his side out of the title race and feels Liverpool’s home matches will prove crucial, with all of the above sides yet to visit Anfield.

“I think it’s (the title race) open,” he said after Sunday’s 2-1 defeat at Stamford Bridge. “What I’m looking forward to is we have to play every team (at the top) except Manchester United at home.

“We’ve had a real tough run, all the games – Tottenham, Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City, Newcastle, Everton – all of them away from home.

“Anfield’s a tough place to come. We have to play all of them at home; it’s still very much open. We were top at Christmas, a few days later we’re fifth, that’s how it will go between now and the end of the season.”

Liverpool currently have 36 points from 19 league fixtures, which represents their best tally at the halfway stage since the 2008-09 campaign, in which they finished the season as runners-up. Hull City travel to Anfield on New Year’s Day.

Liverpool-Hull City Betting Preview: Back plenty of first-half goals on Merseyside again

After two losses in a row, Brendan Rodgers brings his side back to Anfield to face the Tigers and our tipster is backing early strikes

After a fantastic start to the season, Liverpool will be glad to see the back of 2013 after two straight defeats away to two title contenders over the Christmas period. They next welcome Hull City to Anfield, who themselves have had an eventful few days.

Steve Bruce’s side thrashed Fulham at the weekend 6-0, which has lifted them to 12th in the league. This astonishing result followed a tough match against champions Manchester United.

The Tigers lead 2-0 after 13 minutes, only to see David Moyes’ side strike back three times to take all the points.

Hull come into this match without a win away in their last seven, but did beat Liverpool at the KC Stadium earlier in the season. Betway price them at a long 10/1 (11.00) to cause another upset.

Liverpool will be hoping to bounce back after defeats on the road to Manchester City and Chelsea which has seen their hopes of winning the league start to slip away.

The Merseysiders have been fantastic at home though, winning their last six matches, and it’s no surprise that Betway price them at just 11/50 (1.22) to take all three points. The same firm price the draw at 5/1 (6.00).

In all of Liverpool’s last six home matches, the -1 handicap bet would have paid out and would have been worth backing in this fixture. However, the price of 11/20 (1.55) with Betway doesn’t seem to offer any value.

A bet that has paid out on numerous occasions in Liverpool matches this season has been over 1.5 first-half goals.

This would have landed in eight of the Reds’ last nine matches and with the price of 5/4 (2.25) with Betway that this will happen again, it’s far to good to turn down. After two straight defeats on the road, expect Suarez and Co. to come out of the blocks firing on New Year’s Day.


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