Monthly Archives: March 2014

‘It’s like having a choice of two blokes to nick your wife’ – Gary Neville on Manchester City & Liverpool title fight

The former Manchester United right-back revealed his displeasure at seeing two of his former club’s great rivals battling for the title on Monday night

Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville has likened Liverpool and Manchester City’s battle for the title to having a choice of “two blokes to nick your wife.”

The two clubs appear set to battle it out for the Premier League trophy following Chelsea’s slip-up at Crystal Palace, where they were beaten 1-0.

Liverpool currently lead the way with 71 points from 32 games, but City lie just four points behind with two games in hand.

And, when asked about the two sides’ titanic clash at Anfield in two weeks’ time on Sky Sports, Neville revealed his displeasure at seeing two of United’s great rivals battling it out at the top of the league.

“[Head to head] for the title? It’s like having a choice of two blokes to nick your wife!” he joked.

On a more serious note, Neville cast doubt on Chelsea’s challenge in the wake of their shock loss at Selhurst Park, claiming their depleted forward line is “costing them a little bit.”

“I think Chelsea at this moment in time, that pain of the forward is costing them a little bit,” he said, “and you just wonder whether they can get back from where they were on Saturday and losing at Palace.”

Poyet tips Suarez to star at World Cup

The former international midfielder believes the Liverpool star can find his club form for Uruguay this summer and thinks la Celeste have what it takes to cause some upsets

Former Uruguay international Gus Poyet has tipped Liverpool star Luis Suarez to shine for his country at this summer’s World Cup.

Poyet won 26 caps for la Celeste, helping them to a Copa America title in 1995, and is now manager of Premier League club Sunderland.

And he has tipped Suarez, who has scored 29 goals in 27 Premier League appearances this season, to play a starring role at the World Cup.

“Suarez is a player that you don’t want to play against,” Poyet told Radio Yorkshire.

“He’s a player that if you want to buy one player now in England… you would probably want to buy him because you know that he is going to give you something extra.”

Uruguay finished fourth at World Cup 2010 before going on to win the 2011 Copa America, but had to come through a playoff with Jordan to earn their place at Brazil 2014, and Poyet believes the unity of the squad will come to the fore when spending an extended period of time together.

“I think before these kinds of competitions – World Cup, Copa America, Confederations Cup – the team gets together and the group really click together and we become very difficult to play against,” he Poyet continued.

“And of course, having the main players available, Luis Suarez, [Edinson] Cavani, even Diego Forlan is going to be there.

“To be in that possibility to go and create something is special… we will be a difficult team to play against.”

Uruguay will face Costa Rica, England and Italy in Group D in Brazil.

A first for Messi, Superclasico cheerleaders and Liverpool go top – Defining moments of the weekend

Check out the best photos from the latest round of matches throughout the footballing world, featuring the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A and more

Another dramatic weekend of action climaxed with Superclasico, as the pressure increases in the Premier League and La Liga title chases.

Check out the rest of the most illuminating images from across the globe…

Rodgers: Liverpool rivals will be up against it at Anfield

Both Manchester City and Chelsea have to face the Reds on their own turf before the Premier League title race is settled and the manager only expects their home form to improve

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers is confident that a visit to Anfield will be a daunting prospect for Premier League title rivals Manchester City and Chelsea.

Sunday’s 4-0 thumping of Tottenham sent the Reds top of the table, two points clear of Chelsea and four ahead of City, although they have played two games more than Manuel Pellegrini’s men.

Rodgers’ charges have made Anfield a fortress this season, winning 14 of their 16 matches in the league so far and dropping just five points, and the Northern Irishman expects an advantage in the crucial next two games there, with both heavyweights on the way.

He told reporters: “There’s no doubt that they [City and Chelsea] understand this is going to be a tough place to come.

“We love playing here. The support [against Tottenham] was incredible and that’s only going to intensify as the season goes on. You can see that it works for us rather than against us.

“We respect Chelsea. They’ve got a world-class manager, top players, the squad has been put together over 10 years to win the Champions League and Premier League.

“Manchester City are one of the new superpowers in European football but we feel that we can win any game because we’re a team.

“We may not have the best group of individuals that’s up there – we’ve got world-class players – but we’ve got a lot of hunger in the team and our tactical ideas are improving all the time.”

Title dream not in my mind, insists Liverpool boss Rodgers

The 41-year-old refused to talk up his side’s chances of winning the Premier League after Sunday’s 4-0 win over Tottenham fired the club to the top of the table

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers maintains he is not thinking about a title challenge following his side’s 4-0 win over Tottenham on Sunday.
The victory at Anfield has fired Liverpool to the top of the Premier League, two points clear of Chelsea, although Rodgers’ side will be overtaken by Manchester City if they win both of their games in hand.

“The dream is for our supporters, they want to win the title but it is not in my thinking,” Rodgers told Sky Sports.

“My thinking it is to prepare the team and perform well and if we do that we can continue to win games and then we can see where that takes it.

“I thought today was as good an atmosphere as there has been.

“It is a monumental size of club and when we have that support behind us it is a real force and the supporters recognise how hard we are working and hopefully that takes us a long way.”

An own goal from Younes Kaboul after two minutes handed Liverpool an early lead against Tottenham, while goals from Luis Suarez, Philippe Coutinho and Jordan Henderson wrapped up an eighth consecutive win in the Premier League.

“To perform like we did from the first whistle it was an immense performance and I am very proud of the them today,” said Rodgers.

“We are very confident with how we play, a lot was made the other night [against Sunderland] of us being anxious but that was not it.

“Today, Tottenham had a spell similar to Sunderland but the difference is we were 4-0 up today and not 2-1, but the confidence in how the players pass the ball, the intensity, they are very calm and focussed on the job and it was a wonderful team performance.

“It is credit to the players, the mentality in each game, we have shown over the course of the season the flexibility in the team – we have a played a 4-4-2 diamond in recent games today but today it was back to 4-3-3 but with two strikers up-field with one side open.

“So that is credit to them the flexibility and the ideas we have in games, but everyone knows their job and when to press.”

League-leaders Liverpool show quality of champions in hammering of sorry Spurs

Brendan Rodgers’ thriving side delivered yet another dominant victory at Anfield to move to the top of the Premier League with only six games remaining

COMMENT
By Jonathan Birchall at Anfield

It’s on, make no mistake. Anfield’s dream of a first league title since 1990 is looking ever more like glorious reality. To Liverpool, this is everything. 

Brendan Rodgers’ side enter April top of the Premier League. Defeat for Chelsea and a draw for Manchester City had led to whispers across Merseyside before today’s game that this could just be Liverpool’s year. They’re shouting it now. 

This 4-0 dismantling of a Tottenham side so lacking in belief, ideas or any semblance of fighting spirit has become par for the course. An opening goal in a matter of minutes followed by total domination – we’ve seen this one before. 

Rodgers dismissed talk of his side being under pressure ahead of the visit of Spurs and his players followed suit on the pitch. Nerves were kept for the Kop, before kick-off at least, as the likes of Coutinho, Henderson and Sterling, youngsters with the hopes of a city on their shoulders, delivered fearlessly. 

If Manuel Pellegrini and Jose Mourinho were looking for signs that this is all too much for the side from Merseyside, they will have been left disappointed and more than a little concerned. From Coutinho’s perfectly floated 30-yard ball in the opening minute to Daniel Sturridge’s attempted backheel to make it 5-0, this entire Liverpool side played without inhibition. Never has a title challenge looked like so much fun.

Anfield anguish begone | Liverpool have been out of the title race for years until this season

Liverpool were absolutely ruthless in taking apart Tottenham. The opener, a slapstick deflection offYounes Kaboul following the first of what felt like hundreds of attacks down the right channel, set the tone for an afternoon off the visiting team having absolutely no answer to what was being thrown at them. Just how on Earth do you stop this side? 

Tim Sherwood, brow furrowed sat next to the press box, quite clearly didn’t have the answer and his players might as well have joined him in the stands and let Liverpool get on with it. They were merely passengers like the rest of us. 

For both Manchester City and Chelsea, whose visits to Merseyside will almost certainly decide the direction of this title, Liverpool represent a unique rival. Rodgers possesses a squad of players who don’t know what it is to win a Premier League title and that fact, for so long seen as a weakness looks to have been turned into a strength. Nobody saw this coming. Now the rest are chasing, and stumbling along the way.  

Liverpool have answered every question asked of them this season, but there remains one more.  ‘The Reds are coming up the hill’ read the banner at the front of the Kop but now there they are there, kings of the castle, looking down on the rest. There was little to suggest that the enormity of that or this magnificent season is playing on the minds of Rodgers or his side against Tottenham. This was simply another one ticked off the list. 

This was significant, they all are now, but you would never have known it from Rodgers come full time. West Ham away next Sunday, he insists, is all that matters, for now, but even a Kop that has spent years, far too many, waiting for this feeling again, is beginning to truly believe. You can’t blame them after performances like this.

On the edge of history, still Liverpool go forward. It’s on, make no mistake.