Monthly Archives: July 2014

Rodgers promises more Liverpool signings this summer

Despite spending around €113 million in recent weeks, the manager is still looking for new recruits as he prepares for the club’s return to the Champions League this season

Brendan Rodgers is keen to further bolster his Liverpool squad, insisting the club “still have business to do” this summer.

Emre Can, Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert, Dejan Lovren, Lazar Markovic and Divock Origi have already arrived for a combined fee of around €113 million following Luis Suarez’s €88m move to Barcelona.

Sevilla left-back Alberto Moreno has been touted as the next arrival at Anfield, with the Liga outfit demanding €23m for the player, and Rodgers is hoping to have secured his targets by the end of the transfer window.

“We still have some positions that we want to fill within the squad so that by the end of August we have a strong group of players to go forward with,” he told reporters on Thursday.

“We’ve still got some business to do.”

Liverpool heavy investment has been likened to Tottenham’s €120m spree as Gareth Bale left last summer, which heightened expectations only for the north London outfit to finish sixth in the league.

Rodgers rejected such comparisons earlier this week, adding: “Clearly we were not strong enough last season in terms of numbers and quality.

“We always planned to bring in a number of players, hoping we were going to be in the Champions League, so it would give us the opportunity to challenge on all fronts.”

Gerrard: Suarez was too good for Arsenal

The Anfield icon revealed he dissuaded the Uruguayan from joining Arsene Wenger’s side last summer but admitted his departure for Barcelona is still a huge blow

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard believes it would have been a mistake for Luis Suarez to have moved to Arsenal.

The Uruguayan was the subject of intense interest from the north London club last summer as they tried – and failed – to trigger a release clause in the striker’s contract.

And after Suarez’s prolific final season at Anfield, which secured the 27-year-old various personal honours as well as a dream move to Barcelona, Gerrard thinks the advice he gave his team-mate last season has been completely vindicated.

“I would have been really sad and disappointed to see Luis go to Arsenal,” the 34-year-old told the Daily Telegraph.

“With all due respect to them, I said to him that he was too good for Arsenal. I said if you score 30 goals for us and win the PFA Player of the Year, the press Player of the Year – I knew he was going to win them – I told him Real or Barcelona will come for you.”

“I think he got the wrong advice last year from people around him, from people saying he needed to play in the Champions League and it did not matter who it was for.

“A lot of people might still think he should have given us one more, but my big dream was to play for Liverpool, and the foreign players’ big dream is to play for Real Madrid or Barcelona, that’s a fact.

“His wife is from Barcelona and I don’t think you can begrudge a player like that, who has worked so hard for his dream. You can’t go against him when he says he is leaving for Barcelona.

“His dream from the first day he came was to play for Real Madrid or Barcelona. Last summer when he was out in the cold and training on his own that’s the conversation I had with him. I said, ‘Dn’t go to Arsenal’.”

Brendan Rodgers’ side finished second in the Barclays Premier League last term, pushing champions Manchester City all the way to the final game.

Liverpool have splashed the cash in the transfer market this summer, and despite the blow of losing Suarez, Gerrard thinks the Merseyside outfit are capable of launching another assault on the Premier League summit.

“Last year we were in it until the end and that has given us the belief that we are genuine title contenders,” he said.

“I believe if we had Luis Suarez we’d be favourites.

“I’m disappointed to see him leave now but I am happy for him that’s he has got what he wants and deserves. Since day one he has been phenomenal in training every day and in the games.”

Manchester City 2-2 Liverpool (1-3 on pens): Liverpool down Man City after shoot-out

Liverpool came from behind twice against Manchester City to triumph in a penalty shoot-out in their friendly in New York on Wednesday.

Stevan Jovetic struck a brace, either side of Jordan Henderson’s crisp finish for the Reds, before Raheem Sterling equalised in the 85th minute.

After normal time finished 2-2, Brendan Rodgers’ men were the better side in the shootout, claiming it 3-1 courtesy of two Simon Mignolet saves.

Jovetic opened the scoring in the 53rd minute after a defensive stumble from Reds midfielder Steven Gerrard, before Henderson’s reply six minutes later.

However, the Montenegrin reinstated City’s lead in the 67th minute, poking home an opportunistic effort to regain the lead for Manuel Pellegrini’s outfit.

Sterling struck late in regulation with a well-taken finish, before City crumbled in the shoot-out, as each of Aleksandar Kolarov, Yaya Toure and Jesus Navas all failed to convert from the spot.

Jovetic was influential for the Premier League champions early, linking effectively with strike partner Edin Dzeko.

Dzeko put the ball in the back of the net in the 26th minute, however the Bosnia-Herzegovina international was correctly flagged for offside.

City had the most chances in the opening 45 minutes, but arguably Liverpool had the best opportunity to score – when Rickie Lambert’s point-blank range header was kept out by City custodian Willy Caballero.

The former Southampton striker was at the back post for Henderson’s chipped cross, but Lambert’s header went straight at the chest of Caballero – whose reflex save kept the game scoreless.

The contest continued in its attacking nature with Liverpool substitute Jack Robinson almost opening the scoring in the 50th minute, only to be denied by fellow sub and City custodian Joe Hart, who rushed off his line to clear the danger.

But three minutes later, Navas danced around Robinson on City’s right wing, and delivered a cross into the goalmouth.

Gerrard’s attempt to block failed, as he let the ball through his legs, with Jovetic swooping on the remnants to put City ahead.

Henderson’s finish brought the partisan Liverpool crowd to life, completing fine lead-up work from Sterling and Daniel Sturridge to mark City’s sheet for the fifth straight match in pre-season.

Jovetic was on hand again to cap a man-of-the-match performance, incidentally blocking Kelechi Iheanacho’s strike but swooping on the loose ball to poke City ahead.

Sterling showed his class to finish with less than six minutes of normal time remaining.

Rodgers: Don’t compare Liverpool to Tottenham

With the Anfield outfit funding a number of big-money signings with the windfall from the sale of Luis Suarez, the manager his dismissed similarities with Spurs and Gareth Bale

Brendan Rodgers insists Liverpool have a strategy in the transfer market and dismissed claims the club are following Tottenham’s example.

Spurs made a host of signings last summer in preparaton for Gareth Bale’s world-record move to Real Madrid but failed to improve in the Premier League, finishing lower down the table despite the investment.

Liverpool find themselves in a similar position this year after Luis Suarez joined Barcelona for €88 million – making six big-money deals – but Rodgers has dismissed comparisons between the two clubs.

“It’s a different club and different vision we have here. At Liverpool there’s a strategy behind what we are doing,” Rodgers told Sky Sports News.

“We talked a lot with our recruitment team last season, knowing that through the summer we needed to improve the depth of our squad.

“Clearly we were not strong enough last season in terms of numbers and quality.

“We always planned to bring in a number of players, hoping we were going to be in the Champions League, so it would give us the opportunity to challenge on all fronts.

“The new players know their roles and we hope they can develop in the future as well. So far, the integration has been smooth.”

Gerrard: Past three months have been worst of my life

The midfielder saw Liverpool lose out on the Premier League title before England were knocked out of the World Cup in the group stage

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard said he had been through “the worst three months” of his life after slipping in a crucial Premier League loss to Chelsea.

The 2-0 defeat at home in April, followed by a three-goal lead slipping at Crystal Palace, saw Brendan Rodgers’s men finish second to Manchester City in the league after leading with three games to go.

Gerrard’s fateful slip, which led to Demba Ba’s opener at Anfield, was replayed as the moment Liverpool had let what could have been their first league title in 24 years slip.

“I’ve probably been through the worst three months of my life,” Gerrard told reporters.

“There’s nothing else to say is there? If you ask how it’s affected me – it hasn’t. I have football to play in the future so you have to look forward, not back.

“The only time I think about it [is when I’m asked about it by the media]. I appreciate how big it is when you go out of a World Cup, when you fall short, after going so close in the Premier League title race.

“We have to try to win the league, progress in the Champions League. When you’re captain of the team and the group, you can’t afford to be down and feel sorry for yourself or mope around.”

According to Gerrard, what made the incident hurt most was that it was simply a piece of bad luck and his positive impacts far outweighs the mistake against Jose Mourinho’s side.

“That’s why it was cruel. I haven’t made a mistake, I haven’t lost my man at a set piece. I haven’t missed a penalty. I haven’t made a bad pass,” he said.

“Every single person on the planet slips at some point in their life, whether it’s on the stairs, on the floor or whatever. For me, it happened on the pitch at a really bad moment.

“But over the course of 38 games, a lot happens for you and against you and that determines if you win the league or not. But that moment happened at a really crucial time and I have to face that. And I will.”

Rodgers: Origi one of world’s most exciting talents

The Belgian has become the Reds’ sixth summer signing after completing a €12 million move from Lille and his new boss has backed the teenager to “light up world football”

Brendan Rodgers has hailed Divock Origi as “one of the most exciting talents in the world” after the striker finalised his move to Liverpool.

The 19-year-old becomes the club’s sixth summer signing – after Emre Can, Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert, Dejan Lovren and Lazar Markovic – but will be immediately loaned back to former side Lille for the 2014-15 season.

The Belgium international shot to prominence at the World Cup, scoring a decisive goal – his first for his country – against Russia in the group stages and Rodgers has now backed him to “light up world football”.

“For me, he can be one of the most exciting talents in world football. I genuinely believe that,” the Northern Irishman told Liverpool’s official website.

“You see a lot of good players, but this kid – for 19 years of age – he burst onto the scene at the World Cup but we’d tracked him before that.

“He has everything to be world class. He’s super fast, has a wonderful touch, he’s a good size and is aggressive.

“I’ve seen enough of him over the course of the last couple of seasons to think this is a kid who, coming into the right environment, can genuinely be world class. He can light up world football, for sure.”