Monthly Archives: September 2012

Gerrard: Winning title with Liverpool will be a miracle

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has admitted he needs a “miracle” to lead his side to a Premier League title before the end of his career.

The Reds finished second in 2008-09 with a points total of 86 that would have won the league in several other seasons, but have never come as close in Gerrard’s tenure as skipper.

With the Manchester clubs and Chelsea all strengthening in the summer, the 32-year-old realises his hopes of bringing the title to Merseyside are unlikely to happen, especially with other up-and-coming rivals also hungry for success.

“It will be a miracle if I now realise my dream of winning the title with Liverpool,” he said in his recently published autobiography My Liverpool Story.

“I say that because of my age and where we have finished in the league the past couple of years. And also the situation we’re in with the rivalries.

“There’s not just United and Arsenal now but City, Chelsea and Tottenham. Newcastle coming as well. The Premier League has become a lot more difficult to win for everyone.”

Despite Liverpool’s fine 5-2 win at Norwich on Saturday, their poor early-season form has already led to an 11-point gap between themselves and league leaders Chelsea, which may prove to be too large a deficit for Brendan Rodgers’ side to claw back.

However, Gerrard claims that, with improvements, the club will be capable of challenging for a Champions League qualifying position by the end of the season.

He added: “We were eighth last year. If this season goes well, we get a bit of luck and improve, we have an outside, no, a 50-50 chance of being in the top four. That’s being realistic. It’s achievable.”

‘He doesn’t get anything in games’ – Rodgers sticks up for Suarez in penalty row

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers believes Luis Suarez has earned an unfair reputation as a diver after the striker was denied another clear-cut penalty during Saturday’s 5-2 victory over Norwich.

Suarez followed up lasts season’s hat-trick at Carrow Road with another superb three-goal haul to hand Rodgers his first Premier League win in charge of the Merseyside club.

Despite the uplifting nature of Liverpool’s performance and the resultant three points, Rodgers was still upset at the treatment of his star striker, who has already been booked this season for simulation, when he failed to win a spot kick after he appeared to have been felled by Leon Barnett

Rodgers told Sky Sports: “He’s a wonderful talent and I’m fortunate today because he should’ve had a penalty but he doesn’t get anything in games. It’s unfortunate because he’s a real good guy. Overall the team was very good but I’m not surprised because they’ve been playing well just not getting the results.

“There’s no doubt he doesn’t get the verdicts in the games that he should get. If Valencia’s is a penalty last week with barely any contact then surely Luis Suarez’s is today.

“But we didn’t get it, I thought the referee had a good game but overall the performance and the goals were superb. And right to the very end I thought our work rate and intensity was very good. So a good day all round.”

Rodgers hails ‘wonderful talent’ Suarez after hat-trick at Norwich

Brendan Rodgers has hailed hat-trick hero Luis Suarez as a “wonderful talent” after Liverpool triumphed 5-2 over Norwich.

The 25-year-old became only the second player in Premier League history to net a treble in consecutive appearances at a ground, after Wayne Rooney grabbed hat-tricks against Bolton at the Reebok Stadium.

And Rodgers, after congratulating the rest of the squad, pointed out that Suarez could have further added to his tally.

Rodgers told Sky Sports: “The team, first and foremost, is the star. We were very good. Individually, of course, to score another hat-trick here, and wonderful goals as well.

“His first one was a terrific finish. His second pays a lot to him mentally because he’d missed probably his easiest chance 10 seconds earlier, but didn’t let it affect him.

“He got the ball back very quickly and produced a great piece of skill on the edge of the box to get his finish. And his third one, he’s chopped back inside and finished it into the corner.

“He’s a wonderful talent and I’m fortunate today because he should’ve had a penalty but he doesn’t get anything in games.

“It’s unfortunate because he’s a real good guy. Overall the team was very good but I’m not surprised because they’ve been playing well but just not getting the results.”

The Uruguay international was also denied a penalty when Leon Barnett nudged him in the back but referee Mike Jones waved play on.

And Rodgers believes the striker’s reputation goes before him in those instances.

He continued: “There’s no doubt he doesn’t get the verdicts in the games that he should get. If Valencia’s is a penalty last week with barely any contact then surely Luis Suarez’s is today.

“But we didn’t get it, I thought the referee had a good game but overall the performance and the goals were superb. And right to the very end I thought our work rate and intensity was very good. So a good day all round.”

As for the performance, Rodgers was delighted to earn his first Premier League win at the Reds helm, and was impressed by his side’s dominant display.

He added: “It was fantastic. Norwich have a real set of good lads here and have worked very hard to get where they are. I know how tough a game this was but the plaudits are obviously with the Liverpool players.

“I thought we were fantastic and scored five goals, maybe we could’ve had one or two more. Our control and domination of the game was very impressive, so I’m very pleased.”

Norwich 2-5 Liverpool: Suarez steals the show as hat-trick helps Reds smash Canaries

Liverpool recorded their first league win of the season with a resounding 5-2 win against Norwich at Carrow Road.

Luis Suarez opened the scoring inside two minutes before adding another just before the break to give Brendan Rodgers’ side a comfortable lead at half-time.

The Uruguayan then completed his hat-trick after the break before Nuri Sahin netted his first league goal for the Reds. Steve Morison and Grant Holt then managed two consolation efforts for the Canaries either side of Steven Gerrard’s deflected strike.

Wes Hoolahan made way for Simeon Jackson in Hughton’s one change from Norwich’s last league outing.

While Rodgers made three changes from the side which lost to Manchester United last week. Sahin and Suso were recalled to the line-up after impressive midweek performances in the league cup and Andre Wisdom made his Premier League debut in defence.

It was the visitors who got off to the perfect start, and were up a goal in the second minute with their first shot on goal. The ball popped to Suarez on the edge of the area after an intervention from Michael Turner and the Liverpool striker made Norwich pay with a good first touch followed by a smart finish past John Ruddy into the bottom left corner.

It took eight minutes before Norwich created their first opening. Jackson slid on to a cross to force Pepe Reina into a fine save at his near post with the Spaniard keeping the ball out with the help of the post.

Rodgers’ side felt they had a penalty in the 22nd minute after Leon Barnett bundled over Suarez in the area. However referee Mike Jones didn’t award what looked like a certain penalty.

Jackson wasted another good chance for the hosts soon after, blazing his volley from inside the box well over the bar.

Suarez then doubled Liverpool’s lead on the 38th minute, after just missing a one-on-one moments earlier, he beat Turner with ease and bent an fine finish with the outside of his right boot past Ruddy to go into the break with a two goal buffer.

Norwich should have pulled one back straight from the second half kick-off, when Andrew Surman’s shot across goal was some how scooped over the bar by Robert Snodgrass a yard out from goal.

They were made to pay for the wastefulness immediately as Suarez turned provider and squared a ball across the box for Sahin to simply stroke it into the goal in the 48th minute.

And ten minutes later Suarez completed his hat-trick. Sahin found the Uruguayan cutting in from the left and the striker got his third with a curled effort round Ruddy, with the help of a small deflection.

Morison did manage to pull one back for the hosts on the hour. The Wales striker latched on to a loose ball in the box after Reina made a couple of quick saves but he parried towards the striker, who fired home on the half-volley.

Only for Liverpool to restore their four goal lead via their captain Gerrard eight minutes later. He stroked home Sterling’s low cross with his shot taking a heavy deflection, completely wrong footing Ruddy on it’s way into the net.

Suarez could have even made it six in the 72nd minute with his jabbed effort from close range only trickling a yard or so past the post.

Liverpool dominated possession for the remainder of the match and were coasting to the final whistle when Holt capitalised on Skrtel’s miscue to bend a fine low shot past Reina to add another for the hosts.

TEAM NEWS: Wisdom & Suso handed first Premier League starts for Liverpool

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has selected Andre Wisdom for his first Premier League start as the reds look for their first Premier League win of the season against Norwich City.

The 19-year-old, who is an England Under 21 International starts in defence and plays only his third game for the club and is joined in the starting line-up by Suso who makes his second league start.

The teenager is prefered to Jamie Carragher who starts on the bench as the Anfield outfit look to improve on their worst start to a season since 1911.

Canaries boss Chris Hughton names last seasons top scorer Grant Holt on the bench as City, who are also looking for their first league win of the season.

Sebastien Bassong and Anthony Pilkington have both failed late fitness tests and miss out whilst on loan striker Harry Kane also sits out with a fractured ankle after the midweek cup tie with Doncaster.

Norwich City: Ruddy, R. Martin, Barnett, Turner, Garrido, Johnson, Howson, Snodgrass, Surman, Morison, Jackson

Subs: Bunn, Holt, Hoolahan, E. Bennett, Tierney, R. Bennett, Tettey

Liverpool: Reina, Johnson, Wisdom, Skrtel, Agger, Sahin, Allen, Gerrard, Sterling, Suso, Suarez

Subs: Jones, Carragher, Henderson, Downing, Assaidi, Coates, Borini.

Liverpool manager Rodgers questions Downing’s fight

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has challenged Stewart Downing to fight for a place in his first team after seeing Raheem Sterling leap-frog him in recent weeks.

The England international winger has not lived up to his £20 million price tag following his move to Anfield from Aston Villa in the summer of 2011.
Teenage starlet Sterling has been fast-tracked into the first team ahead of Downing, and it has even been suggested the normally attack minded left winger could be converted into a left-back in order to enhance his prospects of getting into the team.

Rodgers has challenged Downing to show the passion required to play for Liverpool or face being shipped out of the club.

“Stewart is a good guy and a good lad who came here for an awful lot of money,” Rodgers told The Guardian.

“It hasn’t quite worked out for him as he would want it. The big challenge for him now is that commitment to the cause to fight, because he has the qualities. He has a wonderful left foot but what is important is that it is more than talent.

“Talent alone is not enough. You have to work hard, you have to fight for the shirt. We have seen that in a number of the young players and if you don’t do that then longer-term you won’t be here. It is as simple as that really.”

Rodgers insists the responsibility over Downing’s performances rest solely on the player’s own shoulders.

He added: “We are coaches, not magicians. For me football players are no different to plumbers, joiners or bricklayers. They are self-employed and us as medics, coaches and managers are the tools that help them to be better.

“We will give them everything to help them to be better, but if they don’t want to show that self-motivation, and if you haven’t got that desire and hunger to succeed, then it can be very difficult for you.”

Jose Enrique’s Liverpool career could also be under threat, Rodgers revealed. Despite the former Newcastle man enjoying a relatively promising start under Kenny Dalglish last season, his form has dropped recently following a spell out with injury.

Rodgers added: “I don’t waste my time waiting until January to tell both players [Downing and Enrique] what I know now. So they know in relation to the demands of what we want and certainly what it is going to take for us to succeed and for them to fit into the dynamics of the group.”