Thursday, July 24, 2014

KOP News # 5208 ---> Steven Gerrard retires: England captain's 14-year international career in pictures

Steven Gerrard retires: England captain's 14-year international career in pictures

The Liverpool icon has decided to retire from international football following England's World Cup failure at the age of 34

Exit: Steven Gerrard is leaving the international scene

England captain Steven Gerrard has retired from international football.

Following the Three Lions elimination from the World Cup, the Liverpool skipper has decided to step down and move aside after 14 years as a regular for his country.

Gerrard, who made his debut under Kevin Keegan in 2000 ahead of that summer's European Championships, won 114 caps for England with the final game coming against Costa Rica.

Gerrard played through six different England bosses - beginning with Kevin Keegan and then Peter Taylor (caretaker), Sven Goran-Eriksson, Steve McClaren, Fabio Capello and Roy Hodgson - during which time he has bagged 21 goals.

His first international goal came during the stunning 5-1 win over Germany in Munich in 2001. It was a result which played a major part in securing qualification for the 2002 World Cup, but Gerrard missed out on that tournament through injury.

Twice Gerrard was named England Player of the Year (2007 and 2012), while he was also named in UEFA's Team of the Torunament at the European Championships in 2012.

Here's a look at the pictures that characterise his England career:
































KOP News # 5260 ---> Liverpool Pre-Season Focus: Brendan Rodgers' Tactics, Martin Kelly and Joe Allen

Liverpool Pre-Season Focus: Brendan Rodgers' Tactics, Martin Kelly and Joe Allen

By Karl Matchett , World Football Staff Writer

Jul 23, 2014

Uncredited/Associated Press

Liverpool continued their pre-season preparations with a late 1-0 defeat to Serie A runners-up AS Roma at Fenway Park in Boston. 

The Reds' third game of the summer was 0-0 at the break, with few chances created throughout the 90 minutes, until Daniel Agger diverted a corner past his own keeper in the last minute of the match.

Continuing in our series of monitoring the tactics of manager Brendan Rodgers for the season ahead and the performances of a pair of players each match, this time around we're looking at full-back Martin Kelly and midfielder Joe Allen, both of whom played more than an hour of the game.



Rodgers went with a 4-3-3 again from the outset against Roma, marking two pre-season games started with that system and one with the diamond.

As in the first two games, the Reds' plans were once again marred by an early injury, this time coming to Fabio Borini, who went off with a shoulder problem after a heavy fall.

The ensuing change saw Philippe Coutinho move from his central role to a wider position in the front line, with Jordon Ibe on the opposite side and Rickie Lambert central. Lucas Leiva once more anchored the midfield, with Allen and, after Coutinho moved forward, Emre Can ahead of him.

Uncredited/Associated Press

Seb Coates was a returning name to the team-sheet in the centre of defence, as was Jose Enrique on the left. Later in the game, Kris Peterson made another appearance at centre-forward and midfielders Suso and Jordan Henderson made late cameos. Jack Robinson was largely impressive at left-back in the second 45 minutes.

The Reds dominated possession in the first half without creating too many chances; Coutinho's change of pace and willingness to take on his man was a key factor in their approach play once again. But Lambert was far too isolated centrally for any real chances to be created.

Michael Regan/Getty Images

After the break it was more a case of hit on the break when the opportunity presented itself, with Can's superb driving runs forward an important and pleasing aspect of the Premier League side's play.

As with the first 45, though, there were very few chances created at either end, and it took a scruffy own goal to settle it.


Martin Kelly

Kelly continued working his way toward full-match witness with a 67-minute appearance against Roma.

Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Playing at right-back once more, he faced a familiar test in the shape of Ashley Cole from Roma's left side, with Adem Ljajic also a pacy opponent.

All told, Kelly dealt well with the threat for most of the first hour, closing down well and showing a good turn of pace more than once to cover balls played in behind. He looked strong on the ball, held off challengers well and passed out of the back line composedly.

Only twice did Kelly really put his foot on the gas to surge forward down the right flank, with one low cross in particular an impressive dribble and delivery, from which Lambert was unable to produce a telling finish.

Before going off, Kelly was visibly weary and left the pitch to be replaced by Conor Coady. Presumably, the tiredness comes from the pre-season fitness work, and it's something he needs to get spot on very soon.

This campaign is a vital one for Kelly's future at Liverpool, and he cannot afford for lack of fitness to be a reason for non-selection at any point, especially at the start of the season.


Joe Allen

With the number of arrivals capable of playing in midfield positions set to increase competition for 2014-15, Allen is one of the stars of the second half of last season who needs to continue to up his game to keep a place in the side.

Against Roma he was initially left of centre, then right of centre after Borini's substitution.

Michael Regan/Getty Images

He was seen several times pressing extremely high up the field, almost to a right-wing position, a positive sign of both fitness and team intent; the pressing and subsequent quick transitions were a key feature of Liverpool's best play last season.

When Allen is on his game, he's a big part of that particular tactic, possessing both the technique and mentality required to do both sides of the press, pass approach.

A number of times there were quick exchanges of passes in the final third as Liverpool looked to get some positive build-up play going. Invariably, Allen was involved in this along with Coutinho and Can.

There was little end product to the Reds' play, and Allen was a part of that side of things too. But in terms of his running and positioning on the pitch, it wasn't bad at all for a third pre-season game from the Welshman.


KOP News # 5258 ---> Liverpool FC 0 AS Roma 1: what we learned from the Reds' last-gasp Fenway defeat

Liverpool FC 0 AS Roma 1: what we learned from the Reds' last-gasp Fenway defeat

The four main talking points from Liverpool's late defeat to the Serie A side

Emre Can in action.

Forgotten man could give a reminder on tour

When Kenny Dalglish took charge of his first game back as Liverpool manager, Martin Kelly was a surprise starter at Old Trafford.

His performance caught the eye more than anybody else's on the pitch; strong, useful on the ball and with the added narrative of a local lad done good, he was a prominent figure in the team who did so well under Dalglish towards the end of 2010/11. He would even be a part of England's Euro 2012 squad.

A lot has changed at the club since then - including Kelly's role at Anfield. Sidelined with injury throughout the majority of Rodgers' time at the club, he has made just nine league appearances under the Northern Irishman.

But speaking to the ECHO's James Pearce on Monday, the 24 year old told of his desire to bounce back from his injury woes.

This was a decent start. The forgotten man of the Reds' squad gave a little reminder of what he is capable of.

He was solid in defence and joined the attack at times. It was not the complete performance - and never forget this was a friendly - but in a side with questions in defence, the answer could have been on the treatment table the whole time, especially with so many games to be played this season.           

GALLERY: Liverpool 0 Roma 1 at Fenway Park








Emre Can will grab attention

Emre Can is an imposing sort. When he strode on to the Fenway Park pitch, there was a buzz from the Liverpool supporters.

Perhaps it is because, of the four players signed by Rodgers this summer so far, only Can and Rickie Lambert have made their debuts for the Reds - and the hunger for anything fresh sees Can, formerly of Leverkusen, offer something new rather than Southampton's Lambert.

Nobody knew much about the Under-21 international before the summer but already his qualities would be apparent, if not necessarily how much he will show them. He is strong, powerful and has a fleet-footedness about him which belies his six foot two frame.

He would also appear to have aggression. His running battle with Radja Nainggolan - who is no slouch himself - was fascinating. The Belgian left his mark on Can but he didn't hide; his run in the second half also gave a glimpse into his attacking ability.

Can commands attention. He's certainly got it at Liverpool already.


Fabio Borini's inclusion could have been costly

The wince on Fabio Borini's face was no doubt matched by those who feel Sunderland's £14m offer for the Italian striker is more than sufficient. He fell under the challenge of Seydou Keita, held his shoulder, and eventually disappeared down the tunnel.

And with it, a potential transfer away from Anfield could have disappeared with him.

His future on Merseyside remains uncertain. Rodgers maintains that he remains a Livepool player and part of the squad until he makes a decision about a move to Wearside.

But all of that could have been thrown in jeopardy with Borini's injury.

Rodgers revealed after the match that the shoulder had just been bruised and, while a few days of training would be missed, it was not as bad as first feared.

The question on where Borini begins next season remains. But this injury scare was a reminder of how fate can sometimes answer those questions for you – and that is something to contemplate during the next two weeks.


Ibe looks better on the left

Jordon Ibe is one of the players the supporters in the United States have been looking forward to watching the most. He is exciting, progressive and has bags of both ability and potential.

He had begun well on the left hand side of the front three. He stretched his legs a few times and had the Roma defence panicking, and was the first Reds player to really drive at the defence – a nod to the confidence he has.

Borini's injury changed his role. On came Can, who moved into a central position; this moved the majestic Philippe Coutinho out wide, and he occupied the left hand side, cutting inside. This left the 18 year old stationed on the right.

At this young age, his strength is most certainly coming on to his stronger foot. When on the right, all his threat evaporated. The power generated from his upper body and deft touch was wasted when on the right hand side.

The comparisons with Raheem Sterling can sometimes be too simplistic. Chalk this one as another example of that. The two are different players and will flourish in different positions.



Wednesday, October 31, 2012

KOP News # 1796

Jamaica make play for Sterling as England risk losing Liverpool starlet

By Sami Mokbel

PUBLISHED: 22:30 GMT, 30 October 2012 | UPDATED: 22:30 GMT, 30 October 2012

England are facing a fresh fight to secure the international future of hot prospect Raheem Sterling.

Jamaica president Horace Burrell will fly in to the country this week in a bid to snatch the Liverpool youngster from under the Football Association's noses.

And Sportsmail understands the youngster is keen on holding talks with Burrell and is open to the idea of representing the country of his birth.

Tug of war: Raheem Sterling (right) is wanted by England and Jamaica

The FA appeared to have beaten the Reggae Boys to Sterling after calling the teenager up to the full England squad for the World Cup qualifier against Ukraine before being named in Stuart Pearce's previous Under 21 squad.

But England will now be sweating on how this week's discussions between Sterling and Burrell pan out, with the Liverpool starlet happy to give Burrell the chance to make his pitch.

Sterling's mother is known to want her son to represent Jamaica - where the 17-year-old lived until the age of five.

Hopes: Roy Hodgson (right) wants Sterling to represent England

England manager Roy Hodgson could look to appease Sterling's international ambition by naming the youngster in his squad for the friendly against Sweden next month.

Burrell said: 'Based on the FIFA rules Raheem is still eligible for us. We think it is worthwhile to speak.'

Sterling will only be fully committed to a nation when he plays a competitive fixture.


KOP News # 1795

Joe Cole set for starting role as Brendan Rodgers prepares to face former club

• Joe Cole in line for first Liverpool start in three months
• 'I had two incredible years at Swansea,' says Rodgers

Liverpool's manager Brendan Rodgers had two happy seasons at Swansea but sees the Reds as a 'real destination' for him. Photograph: Matt West/BPI/Corbis

Joe Cole is expected to make his first proper start of the season for Liverpool in the Capital One Cup game against Swansea, with Brendan Rodgers also likely to give Samed Yesil his chance to lead the attack with Luis Suárez and Steven Gerrard allowed a rest.

Cole has only started for Liverpool once this season, in a Europa League game at the start of August, but his manager was quick to quash speculation that his lack of games might lead him to regret not returning to France, where he had a successful season long loan with Lille in 2011-12.

"You don't walk away from Liverpool," Rodgers said. "Maybe nine out of 10 clubs you could walk away from, if you had the prospect of Champions League football somewhere else, but you are not going to do that here. Liverpool is one of the biggest clubs in the world."

Cole returned to Merseyside when Rodgers indicated he would like to have him in his squad, only to last 23 minutes against FC Gomel, his first Liverpool start for over a year, before a hamstring injury. "It's been difficult for him because he worked hard in the pre-season and then got injured, and other players have come in and done well," Rodgers said. "I'm not going to throw them on to the garbage because a more senior player is available again. This is an opportunity for Joe to come in and prove himself … he's working very hard and he's very keen to be a success at Liverpool, no complaints there. Joe isn't the type of player who would want to be picked on what he has done before, he knows it the form of players at present that's important. He wants to show he has a future here, and just needs games to show what he can do."

Rodgers, left, was making a similarly difficult decision in the summer, weighing up the chance to manage Liverpool against the success and the friends he had won with Swansea. "Joining Liverpool should have been a no-brainer, but I had had my fingers burnt before," he said.

"I left Watford, a club where I was really happy and the team was progressing really well, and I went to Reading and didn't have the best experience. I knew I had to go to the right club, and Swansea turned out to be a perfect fit. There are probably a lot of clubs in this country that I couldn't go and work for, because of the way I work. It's not the norm.

"I had two incredible years at Swansea, the players were brilliant, very receptive to my ideas, and we had success. I built up a close relationship with the supporters and my family was happy and settled. I knew I was in a good place and I wasn't in a particular hurry to leave. So Liverpool represented a bit of a dilemma. It was tough to say goodbye to people who had helped me personally, giving me a lot of support when my parents died, for instance, so there was an emotional attachment as well. But the professional challenge was too great in the end. With Liverpool I felt I was walking into a club that could be a real destination for me for many years to come."

Rodgers is hoping the same can be said of Suárez, who might well have felt aggrieved at Everton putting his perceived lack of sportsmanship under the spotlight ahead of the Merseyside derby, but found a response that most people enjoyed. He is clearly not a sulker. Controversy will probably continue to follow the Uruguayan around, but Rodgers cannot see him being hounded out of English football. "I speak with Luis regularly and he loves playing English football," Rodgers said.

"He loves the passion and the excitement, as I think you can see. He's mentally very strong and if people give him stick it's a driver for him, it motivates him. He loves the city, he loves the club and I can't see any chance of him being driven away. He is our only fit striker but he's been tireless. His enthusiasm is outstanding. I think he's a breath of fresh air."


KOP News # 1794 ---> Liverpool vs Swansea : Preview & Prediction (Capitol One Cup Rd 4)

Liverpool vs. Swansea: Brendan Rodgers Set to Face His Old Team in League Cup

By Karl Matchett

(Featured Columnist) on October 30, 2012

Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

After 17 competitive fixtures in charge of his new team Liverpool, manager Brendan Rodgers faces up to the club he left in the summer for the first time. as Liverpool host Swansea City in the League Cup fourth round at Anfield.

Coming after a typically fast-paced Merseyside derby and just a few days before the Reds receive Newcastle United in the Premier League, some changes in playing personnel are likely for Liverpool but both manager and fans alike will expect the game to be one the home side can win, regardless of the starting XI.

Liverpool have not just a game to win on this occasion, but also a trophy to defend; the Reds are the current League Cup holders following their Wembley triumph last season and, as holders, will be a big target for every team to beat.

Several factors could come into play for both teams to see what the outcome of the match will be. Liverpool will start as favourites as the home side, but Swansea are not to be lightly dismissed.


Rodgers and Swansea

The now-Liverpool boss spent two seasons in Wales as manager of the Swans, leading them to immediate promotion to the Premier League.

Last season as the first non-English side in the Premiership, Swansea finished in 11th place and plenty of neutrals enjoyed their brand of attacking and possession-based football, a trait of the manager that ultimately saw him identified as the man Liverpool wanted to take them forward.

Michael Steele/Getty Images

Swansea also lost midfielder Joe Allen to the Reds and wide forward Scott Sinclair to Manchester City; much of the final third of the pitch this season is unrecognisable from the team which did so well a year ago.

Michu, Ki Sung-Yueng and Pablo Hernandez now grace the field in a largely new-look front-six for the Swans, with Danny Graham and Leon Britton also not playing as pivotal a role as they did last season.

Though Michael Laudrup was brought in to continue rather than re-vamp the work of Rodgers, it is unquestionably a Swansea side with something of a new identity this year—and so is Liverpool, the team now almost unrecognisable to the one the Welsh side prevented from scoring in two games last season.


Liverpool's team

The last midweek fixture saw Liverpool take advantage of having consecutive home matches, and the same sequence is applicable here; following the home tie against Swansea, Liverpool are also at home to Newcastle next weekend.

As a result, Brendan Rodgers may select a stronger League Cup squad than normal, though he is also almost certain to allow a few fringe players more game time after leaving the likes of Sebastian Coates and Jordan Henderson on the sidelines last week.

Both players appeared as substitutes in the Merseyside derby.

Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Pepe Reina faces a battle to win back his place in goal after Brad Jones performed largely impressively in his run of three games, so Rodgers has a decision to make—does Jones, who played in the third round and who would be the expected League Cup goalkeeper, play a fourth match in a row? Or does Reina get a chance to show better form than prior to his injury, and a chance to win back his place ahead of the next league fixture?

With Luis Suarez as the only fit forward, and by far Liverpool's biggest goalscoring threat of the season, Rodgers must also carefully decide if he is fit enough to play a fourth game in 11 days, since playing at altitude in La Paz, Bolivia, and still have enough left in the tank to play a prominent role against Newcastle afterwards.


Liverpool and the League Cup

League Cup, Capital One Cup, call it what you want—Liverpool are the reigning holders of the trophy, which they won for a record eighth time last season.

Silverware wasn't enough to save Kenny Dalglish's job last year, but it remains the staple on which success is ultimately judged over time and Rodgers will want to get his first trophy up in the cabinet as soon as he can.

Should the Reds triumph over Swansea, they will already be through to the last eight of a competition that they will feel they have a good chance of retaining.

Arsenal, Tottenham, Chelsea and Manchester United are all still in the competition and provide big opposition to any trophy, but those latter two play each other and both London sides are facing away fixtures against Premier League opponents.

The route to silverware could well be open from the quarterfinals onwards, making victory in this game important for the future as well as the present.


Possible lineups

Liverpool should be able to field a relatively strong lineup even if two or three big names are rested. The emergence of some talented youngsters leaves a few seniors needing game time, and Rodgers should be able to find room on the bench for maybe another starlet to be in line for a taste of first-team action.

4-2-1-3: Reina; Johnson, Coates, Carragher, Robinson; Henderson, Sahin; Shelvey; Downing, Yesil,  Assaidi.

Who will emerge triumphant in this League Cup fixture?

·  Liverpool


·  Swansea City


Total votes: 223

Swansea will prioritise the home league weekend game against Chelsea, but that doesn't mean Laudrup will change his entire XI. It is already certain, though, that backup goalkeeper Gerhard Tremmel will get a chance, after Michel Vorm injured himself at the weekend. Angel Rangel is also suspended.

4-2-3-1: Tremmel; Tate, Williams, Chico, Davies; Ki, Agustien; Dyer, Michu,  Routledge; Graham.


Scoreline prediction

 Liverpool should have enough at home to keep their unbeaten run going and progress into the quarterfinals—stopping Swansea doing so for the first time in their history in the process.

A 2-0 Liverpool victory for Brendan Rodgers against his old side.


Sunday, October 28, 2012

KOP News # 1778 ---> Who Are Anzhi Makhachkala..?

They're Russian, they're rich and they're in a hurry... the Anzhi explosion

By Ashley Gray

PUBLISHED: 21:37 GMT, 24 October 2012 | UPDATED: 23:21 GMT, 24 October 2012


When Anzhi Makhachkala faced Rangers in their UEFA Cup debut 11 years ago, one observer thought Russian boasts of a £68,000-a-man win bonus were a  little far-fetched.

'One suspects that £68,000 would be more than enough to buy the whole club,' quipped a Scottish football writer. How times have changed. That amount is now barely enough to get Anzhi captain Samuel Eto'o to tie his bootlaces.

A spirited 1-0 defeat by the then Scottish giants was the last we heard of Anzhi — until Suleyman Kerimov invested his billions.

Big names: Guus Hiddink and Roberto Carlos have been enticed to Anzhi as manager and technical director respectively

Plenty to cheer: The Anzhi fans will soon have a 40,000 stadium in which to watch their side

An acquaintance of Fabio Capello, the 46-year-old financier eyed Roma before the authorities in Dagestan, a Russian republic by the Caspian Sea, convinced him to buy the club in his own back yard just under two years ago. Politics and football are intertwined in the Russian regions and Anzhi are a tool to promote a northern Caucasus republic which has a deadly mix of ethnic and  religious diversity.

Anzhi, who play Liverpool in the Europa League tonight, are hated by many in the rest of Russia — particularly in Moscow — partly for being the wealthy new kids on the block and partly because of a dislike for the area.

Money man: Oligarch Suleyman Kerimov is bankrolling Anzhi's bid to conquer Russia and Europe

Yury Zhirkov saw the strength of feeling when he played for Russia against Serbia in a friendly soon after he joined Anzhi from Chelsea last year. Far from a returning hero, he was roundly booed by the  Moscow crowd, called a 'whore', and apparently later broke down in tears in the dressing room.

But once he bought the club,  Kerimov did not hang around. Inside a month the football world learned of Makhachkala, the capital of Dagestan, when Roberto Carlos, then 37, turned up on a whopping £65,000 a week. The move was little more than PR, the Brazilian World Cup winner having since retired and moved into an ambassadorial position, following an unsuccessful spell as a coach.

Destination Dagestan: Samuel Eto'o signed for Anzhi from Inter Milan and reportedly earns £250,000 a week at the Russian club

Pointing the way forward: Eto'o has nine goals in 13 outings so far this season

Solid as a rock: Christopher Samba joined Anzhi from Blackburn for £12.3m last season

More than £100million has been spent on talent, with the £18.5m arrival of Eto'o from Inter Milan 14 months ago the real breakthrough.

This summer they signed two players with plenty of offers from the Barclays Premier League. Former Arsenal, Chelsea and Portsmouth midfielder Lassana Diarra joined from Real Madrid for around £4.5m, and Ivory Coast striker Lacina Traore came in for £14.5m.

Traore, 6ft 8in, is built for the English game and was a  target for Brendan  Rodgers while he was at Swansea — the Liverpool boss also considered a bid this summer. A mooted £6m deal with another Russian club, Kuban Krasnodar, was blown out of the water.

No-one ever says they are joining a club for the money, only for the 'exciting project', which is why Chris Samba left Blackburn for £100,000 a week to go to Russia's poorest and most volatile region.

Former Chelsea boss Guus  Hiddink joined last winter, tightened up the defence and secured fifth in the Russian Premier League to ensure a Europa League place. Now they are top of the table and  seemingly heading for next  season's  Champions League.

Chelsea connection: Yuri Zhirkov has linked up with former boss Hiddink at Anzhi

Investment has been matched off the pitch. An  academy is planned, and two stadiums are being built to replace their 15,000-capacity temporary home. Eventually they want a swish 40,000-plus arena, if UEFA ever let them play a home game in the lawless region — they play Europa League home games at Lokomotiv Moscow's stadium.

How this fits in with Financial Fair Play rules is anyone's guess. You can watch Anzhi play for £2, with the best seats setting you back a tenner. Russian Premier League TV deals bring in paltry amounts of cash.

Bright future: Hiddink and Carlos are determined to take points from Liverpool to maintain their good start to the season

But money isn't everything.  Liverpool have not won the league title in the 21 years that Anzhi have existed, although a trip to Anfield is still a special thing.

Hiddink said: 'I've been to Anfield. The atmosphere is awesome. It will be a landmark game for us. It is great that Anzhi has achieved such progress in their short history.'

On the pitch, he has a midfield crisis. Diarra is injured, while key players Odil Ahmedov and Jucilei are also likely to miss the game.

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