Monthly Archives: August 2014

Pochettino: Slow start cost Tottenham in Liverpool loss

Raheem Sterling gave the visitors the lead after just eight minutes before Steven Gerrard scored a penalty in the opening stages of the second half to put the game beyond Spurs

Mauricio Pochettino was left frustrated after Tottenham were caught cold by Liverpool early on in each half of a 3-0 defeat on Sunday.

Raheem Sterling put the visitors in front in the eighth minute at White Hart Lane after Mario Balotelli had almost headed in a debut goal even before that, and Steven Gerrard struck from the penalty four minutes into the second period of the Premier League encounter.

Eric Dier pulled back Joe Allen for that spot-kick and Andros Townsend was then guilty of losing the ball to Alberto Moreno soon after coming off the bench to allow the Spaniard to race away and score a sensational third.

“It’s a very disappointing result and two key moments at the start of each half cost us,” bemoaned Pochettino.

“After we went 1-0 down, we stayed in the game and created chances, but in football you need luck at key moments and [it] was difficult.”

Tottenham should have had a penalty themselves in the closing stages when Emmanuel Adebayor had his shirt pulled by Dejan Lovren, but it would have only given them the chance to net a consolation score.

Having struggled against the top teams last term, including 4-0 and 5-0 losses to Liverpool, this result burst their early-season bubble following league wins over West Ham and QPR.

However, Pochettino insists it is too early to tell if it will be the same story throughout this campaign, adding: “We need to improve and look forward. It’s the beginning of the season and only three games in.”

Striker Adebayor echoed his manager’s thoughts and expressed a desire to respond.

“We have to find a way to correct the mistakes and move forward. It’s very important to bounce back from this,” he added.

“We are all disappointed but the season has a long way to go and we have to learn from our mistakes.”

Balotelli never marked for a corner in his life until now – Rodgers

The coach has claimed that the striker had never had to do defensive duties on set pieces in his entire career before joining up with the Reds

Mario Balotelli had never marked for a defensive corner in his life before joining Liverpool this week, according to his new manager Brendan Rodgers.

The Italian returned to the Premier League, having left Manchester City 20 months ago, in a €20 million move from AC Milan this week and made his debut in his new club’s 3-0 thrashing of Tottenham on Sunday.

Although he failed to score – and his shooting was certainly rusty – he put in a lively performance at White Hart Lane and Rodgers was elated with Balotelli’s efforts, revealing that he is giving the 24-year-old more responsibility in a bid to maximise the striker’s talent.

“I thought the two boys up front with Raheem in behind worked really well,” the Northern Irishman told reporters after the game.

“He was very good. I think you all saw Mario’s workrate, pressing and effort out there today. He was disappointed not to score.

“He’s a good guy and a good man. If you take away the circus around him, control the background noise and get him to solely focus on football, you can see his quality.    

“It’s the first time ever he’s marked at a corner. I’m being serious – and he’s an international player. We were working on corners in training and he said ‘I’ve not marked at a corner before’. I said ‘you do now’. You need to treat him as an adult.”

Liverpool sit fifth in the Premier League after three games, having won two and lost one, as they look to go one better than last season’s second-place finish.

Gerrard: Terrific Balotelli can be the difference for Liverpool

The striker made his bow as the Reds ran out comfortable 3-0 winners over Tottenham, with the Italian linking up well with Daniel Sturridge and Raheem Sterling

Steven Gerrard believes Mario Balotelli can fire Liverpool to another Premier League title challenge after his promising debut at Tottenham.

Balotelli looked sharp on his Liverpool bow at White Hart Lane on Sunday as Brendan Rodgers’ men ran out comprehensive 3-0 winners.

The Italy striker, signed from AC Milan last week, missed two good headed opportunities early on but linked up well with Daniel Sturridge and Raheem Sterling before being withdrawn just after the hour mark.

“I thought he was terrific,” Gerrard told Sky Sports. “I think all eyes were on him; wondering whether he was going to work out, would he hold the ball up for us? All credit to him, I thought he was terrific for an hour.

“If he plays like that for us every game, he’ll continue to improve and he could be the difference as to whether we compete or not.”

Balotelli arrived at Anfield with a fair amount of baggage from his previous spell in the Premier League with Manchester City, but Gerrard had nothing but praise for how he has behaved so far.

“To be honest, I don’t really have an opinion of people until I work with them myself and he’s been terrific since he came in – he’s worked hard, he’s taken all the tactics on board of how we play with and without the ball,” added the 34-year-old.

“He’ll only improve with a manager like Brendan. He’s seen how the rest of the lads work and behave and he’ll have to follow suit – that’s his only option.”

Falcao set to depart Monaco after Lille snub

The Colombian striker was originally named in the squad for Saturday’s match but his late omission has raised serious questions over his future in France

Monaco striker Radamel Falcao appears close to leaving the Ligue 1 outfit after being left out of the team to face Lille on Saturday.

Head coach Leonardo Jardim had initially named the Colombian forward in a panel of 19 to face the northern outfit and, having started last weekend’s match against Nantes it was fully anticipated that he would once again feature from the outset at Stade Louis II, particularly after he scored in that clash.

Falcao, who missed the second half of last season with a serious knee problem sustained in a Coupe de France match in January, has, however, been closely linked with a move away from the principality for much of the summer.

Monaco have not reported any further physical complaints from their forward, and so it appears that this exit is likely to come in the next few days, with French media suggesting that a deal could even be completed on Saturday evening.

Several sides have been closely associated with the 28-year-old forward, including Juventus, Arsenal, Liverpool and Real Madrid.

While it is expected that Monaco’s asking price of €65 million will be too great to tempt suitors before the end of the transfer window, it appears likely that the ex-Atletico Madrid and Porto striker will instead be shipped out on a one-year loan, expected to cost the purchasing club €20m.

Falcao’s record in France reads that he has scored 13 goals in 22 matches, though he has been criticised for his failure to replicate his Atletico Madrid form in Ligue 1.

Gerrard: Bring on Real Madrid

The Liverpool captain believes the Champions League holders are the opponents which the Reds really wanted and look forward to testing themselves against the world’s best stars

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard cannot wait to pit his wits against Champions League holders Real Madrid.

Gerrard’s side return to Europe’s elite club competition following a five-year absence this season and Thursday’s draw in Monaco paired them with Real.

Basel and Ludogorets complete Group B, but it is the prospect of facing a stellar Real team – who defeated rivals Atletico Madrid in the 2013-14 final – that has captured Gerrard’s imagination.

Former England skipper Gerrard has fond memories of Champions League meetings with Real, with the 34-year-old having scored twice in a 4-0 rout of the Spanish giants at Anfield at the last-16 stage of the 2008-09 competition.

And while a repeat of that scoreline appears unlikely, Gerrard – who lifted the Champions League trophy in 2005 – believes Liverpool can compete with Cristiano Ronaldo and Co. this time around.

“They were one of the sides that all of the players wanted, and certainly the supporters,” he told the club’s official website.

“For us, it’s a chance to go and compete against the best. We’re not in this competition to make the numbers up, we’re not celebrating and going out to enjoy this competition – we want to compete and go as far as we can.

“We’re going to treat every team in the group the same – but, of course, it’s going to be an exciting encounter when Real come to Anfield and also us going away as well. I can’t wait.

“It’s a chance for us to compete against some of the best players in the world – the likes of Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo, James Rodriguez and Karim Benzema.

“We’re quite a new team, so it’s a great chance for our lads to compete and see how good we are and how far we’ve come.

“We’ve got a lot of respect for Real Madrid but we certainly have confidence we can compete with them.”