Europa League: Liverpool Held In Klopp’s Anfield Debut

LiverpoolLiverpool were held to a 1-1 draw by 10-man Rubin Kazan in the Europa League on Thursday night, leaving new boss, Jurgen Klopp frustrated in his first game at Anfield.

The visitors took the lead through Marko Devic’s stunning half-volley but had captain Oleg Kuzmin sent off for a second yellow card soon after.

Kuzmin opted to bundle over Can as the German tried to power past him down the wing. The referee had no option but to give him his second yellow.

The red card seemed to have paved the way for a whitewash in favour of the reds as Liverpool soon equalized.

Divock Origi nodded down Philippe Coutinho’s free kick for Emre Can to fire home from close range the first goal of the Klopp era.

However, after the goal, Liverpool pressed for the entire second half but struggled to truly test Sergei Ryzhikov in the Kazan goal.

Liverpool were limited to half chances in an ultimately difficult evening for Klopp and Liverpool as they struggled to break down their opponents for large periods of the match.

Christian Beneteke came on to add some power upfront but hit the post in the final 10 minutes as Liverpool were held to a third successive Group B draw.

The Russian visitors would have earned some credit for keeping their discipline in a difficult away match.

Liverpool have kept just one clean sheet in seven games at Anfield this season – against Bournemouth in August.

Klopp Expresses Optimism Ahead Of Europa League

Klopp New Liverpool manager, Jurgen Klopp, says success in the Europa League could be important for his team’s progress this season.

His first match in charge of the Reds was a 0-0 draw with Tottenham Hotspur.

He told the Reds’ website that he was really looking forward to the game, especially because it would be his first home game with the club.

Klopp now takes the reins at Anfield for the first time with a Europa League match against Russian side, Rubin Kazan.

Liverpool have two draws in the Europa league, and take on a Kazan side who currently sit bottom of Group B.

Liverpool’s Rodgers Bullish Ahead Merseyside Derby

Rodgers-liverpoolLiverpool Manager, Brendan Rodgers, remains confident heading into Sunday’s Merseyside Derby, despite another disappointing result in Europe.

A 1-1 draw at home to Sion has put the spotlight firmly back on the Liverpool boss, who made seven changes for their first home Europa League match.

But Rodgers who is expected to recall striker, Daniel Sturridge, insists Goodison Park holds no fear.

According to him, his team is fully focused on getting all three points, despite Everton’s marginal lead of one point on the Premier League table.

Rodgers Pleased With New Signings

RodgersLiverpool Manager, Brendan Rodgers is optimistic that the new players signed by the club will help the team compete for major titles this season despite the record sale of Raheem Sterling.

The club have already signed Adam Lallana and are on the verge of adding Aston Villa top hit man Christian Benteke to their line up.

Rodgers believes Sterling’s move will not affect the team and described the 20-year-old as a talented footballer.

Aston villa striker Christian Benteke has been strongly linked with a move to Liverpool, who now have money in their pocket following the sale of Sterling to Manchester City in a deal worth up to 49 million pounds.

The Reds are closing in on Benteke who has a 32.5 million pound buyout clause in his contract.

However Aston Villa manager, Tim Sherwood reiterated the club’s stance that he would not be leaving unless the clause was activated.

Rodgers Hails Gerrard’s Recovery After Penalty Miss

Gerrard
Steven Gerrard celebrates his winning goal during Liverpool’s English Premier League match against QPR at Anfield on May 2, 2015.

Liverpool Manager, Brendan Rodgers, has hailed the determination and quality of Steven Gerrard after the Liverpool captain recovered from a penalty miss to earn his team a 2-1 win against Queens Park Rangers.

The Reds created a host of chances at Anfield and took a lead during the first half when Rickie Lambert expertly teed up Philippe Coutinho to send a curler beyond Robert Green.

But Leroy Fer levelled for the Londoners on 73 minutes and Gerrard was thwarted from 12 yards by a reflex save from the QPR goalkeeper in front of a stunned Kop.

But those same supporters were on their feet in the final moments as the No.8 leapt to meet Coutinho’s corner and glance a header home, securing all three points.

“It’s world-class talent,” said Rodgers to media after the match.

“There’s a very, very small group of players in that bracket, where in the big games they score the big goals and make the big contributions.

“He’s done that, everyone has seen that throughout his entire career at Liverpool.

“He missed the penalty and sometimes you think it may go against us, but there is no-one more determined to score and make up for it than Steven. It was a very, very good header.

“He was very determined, especially after the penalty. You sometimes find with a lot of players that when they miss a big penalty like that, normally their game goes and their confidence goes.

“But he’s the total opposite. He’s one of a unique group of players that whenever they need to respond, they normally do. It was an outstanding header and obviously gets us the win.”

Gerrard left the field to a standing ovation in the closing seconds, marking his penultimate Anfield appearance before he bids farewell to the club at the end of the season.

The personal joy he took from the winner was clear, as was the appreciation from every corner of the stadium, with the time to say emotional goodbyes moving ever closer.

Rodgers continued: “His career is probably all flashing before his eyes now.

“It was brilliant to get it at the Kop end as well – it was a really special moment for him. It all goes very quickly, but you can see he is still contributing at this level.

“There was no-one better, especially when he missed the penalty. I knew that if you keep him on, you’ve got every chance of getting a goal. He always steps up to the plate.”

The victory halted a disappointing run for the Reds.

In the two league matches since enduring the heartbreak of defeat at Wembley against Aston Villa, Rodgers’ side drew against West Bromwich Albion before losing out against Hull City at the KC Stadium earlier this week.

Rodgers concluded his press conference with a message of support for Rio Ferdinand and his family after the QPR defender confirmed the tragic news of the passing of his wife, Rebecca.

He said: “I’d just like to say one thing on behalf of us all here for Rio Ferdinand and his family. I think football was secondary today, with all due respect.

“This is a guy who has been an incredible player and today, when I was coming to the training ground, I heard the news about his wife.

“So on behalf of us here at Liverpool Football Club – the players, fans and the people of the city – we pass on our condolences and respect to him and his family.”

 

Culled from http://www.liverpoolfc.com

Arsenal’s Giroud, Wenger Win Monthly Awards

ArsenalArsenal Manager, Arsene Wenger, has been named Barclays Manager of the Month alongside the Gunners’ striker, Olivier Giroud, who clinched the Player of the Month Award.

The Gunners won four Premier League games consecutively in March, scoring nine goals and conceding two.

The French international Giroud scored five times, with a brace at Newcastle adding to goals against Everton, QPR and West Ham in the English Premier League.

The Arsenal boss had earlier won the award 13 times, while this will make it the 14th time of winning the same award in 19 years at Arsenal.

The Gunners are third in the Premier League table with eight matches remaining.

They are seven points behind Chelsea, who is leading with a game in hand and Manchester City who is just a point ahead.

Arsenal’s remaining games also include a home match against Chelsea on April 26 and a trip to fourth-placed Manchester United on May 17.

Fifth-placed Liverpool travel to the Emirates on Saturday.

Although, based on current form, the Gunners seem likely winners against Liverpool on Saturday, Arsene Wenger is not taking chances especially as the international break could have affected the momentum. He just wants to keep on winning!

“It’s a big game and an opportunity for us to continue our run, which is what we want to do,” Wenger said. “We are on a strong run and we just want to focus on winning our games, winning the next one. Liverpool is a big opponent but we play at the Emirates and we want to do it.

“You know after the international break it’s always important that you come back and straight away you are on it.”

Liverpool Manager, Brendan Rodgers, is also confident he can get a result at the Emirates after a disappointing home loss to Manchester United.

“It’s a game we will want to get something from,” he said.

“In terms of the objectives going into the game, it’s no different to what it was before Manchester United. But of course we had a disappointing result and performance last time out.

“We really want to make sure we perform and give ourselves a chance to get a positive result.”

EPL: Liverpool Confident Of Victory Over Chelsea

Brendan RogersLiverpool Manager, Brendan Rodgers is confident his Liverpool players possess the necessary ingredients to get the better of title rival Chelsea when the two teams meet at Anfield on Sunday.

Liverpool will go into the game five points ahead of Jose Mourinho’s side following an unexpected victory by bottom club Sunderland at Chelsea which Liverpool took advantage of with its 3-2 win at Norwich City on Sunday.

Beating Chelsea on Sunday would put Liverpool closer to its first ever Premier League title with two games left to play.

Rodgers gave an insight into the philosophy that has helped the team get to the top of the league table, crushing teams like Arsenal and Liverpool along the way.

“When they are in the changing room just before we go out, I always tell them, ‘Lose yourself, focus on the ball and focus on the team. If you do that, then we can be a real force,’ ” he said.

“You have seen all the characteristics of our team today (Sunday) — wonderful invention and creativity, courage, arrogance on the ball, goal-scoring, young players and senior players all playing, and instructions that allow them to express themselves.

“It’s going to be a brilliant game next weekend with Chelsea coming to Anfield. The supporters will be right up for it and the players as well. We are looking forward to it.”

Raheem Sterling scored two of Liverpool’s goals at Carrow Road, either side of Luis Suarez’s 30th Premier League goal of the season, and Rodgers hailed the England international for his contribution.

“He is arguably the best young player in European football at the moment,” Rodgers said.

Liverpool Massacre: Wenger Questions Arsenal’s Title Credentials

Arsenal Manager, Arsene Wenger has raised questions over his Arsenal side’s performance in their heavy 5-1 defeat to Liverpool with the battle for the Premier League title beginning to tighten.

Liverpool run riot over Wenger’s side at Anfield on Saturday with two goals each from Martin Skrtel and Raheem Sterling plus one from Daniel Sturridge saw.

With several key fixtures coming – including Manchester United in the league and Bayern Munich in the Champions League – Wenger admitted his team’s showing was “naïve” and only the fans gave a credible performance for the entirety of the drubbing.

“It was a very poor day. We were poor defensively, offensively,” Wenger told BT Sport.

“Only our fans were good for 90 minutes. All the rest, we were poor. Liverpool played very well, so congratulations to them. But it was a poor performance on a day when we couldn’t afford it.

“Of course it raises some questions today because we were caught many times and were naive. Defensively we need to be more stable. Today we were too open. From the front to the back we were not at the level we are used to.”

Liverpool Manager, Brendan Rodgers however, has hailed what he described an “incredible performance” from the home side, in which they scored five goals against Arsenal at Anfield for only the third time in their history.

Rodgers said: “It was an incredible performance. It’s not the first time we’ve been outstanding at home, but everything about us today was incredible. Everything was outstanding.

“We’ve been getting better and better. We’ve got a lot of young players, developing well. But for us it’s just about improving.”

Daniel Sturridge, who scored Liverpool’s fourth goal to cap a devastating opening 20 minutes for the Gunners, said in his post-match interview: “We went out there and did what the manager told us.

“The first 20 minutes were unbelievable and it’s about the team. We worked as a team and we are getting results.

“It starts form the back and the boys have been excellent. Martin Skrtel got two goals and Raheem Sterling two and got a well-earned Man of the Match for all the hard work he has put in.”

Suarez is unstoppable – Liverpool Manager

Liverpool and Uruguay International; striker Luis Suarez has secured the backing of his manager Brendan Rodgers after he dismissed fears that the striker will be forced out of the English game by continuing criticism.

Since his leaving his former club Ajax for the English Premier League and Liverpool precisely in January 2011 the forward player has had to endure so much and with the last game played by the Reds, there’s no signs of them easing off.

Looking back, the Uruguay international was banned for eight matches last season after being found guilty of racially abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra, now he’s been accused of diving which from some quarters a sending-off from the game would have been the only option.

Former Liverpool striker John Aldridge expressed his concern the 25-year-old could walk away from the club because of the hard time he gets from opposition managers and supporters but Rodgers rejected that.

And according to Rodgers “I think he loves playing in English football,” said Rodgers of Suarez, who only signed a new long-term contract at the start of the season.

“I speak with Luis regularly and he loves the passion and excitement of the game over here.

“What he is a player who is mentally very strong – as you can see from his time here the amount of stick he has taken.

“It is actually a driver for him. It really motivates him and he loves being at Liverpool: he loves the city, the club and the supporters so I can’t see that (being forced out) happening.”

Suarez answered his critics, and more pertinently David Moyes with a sarcastic dive at the Everton manager’s feet after his deflected shot brought the opening goal in Sunday’s Merseyside derby draw.

Rodgers has been impressed by the way the South American has shouldered the burden of being the club’s only fit senior striker and insists it is a privilege to coach him.

“I thought he was outstanding (against Everton). He is a breath of fresh air with his enthusiasm,” added the Northern Irishman.

“He is our only fit senior striker here and he was tireless against Reading and then we had to play a strong team against Anzi (in the Europa League).

“People maybe thought the condition of the team and him in particular would waver but the condition of the group, and particularly him up front, was amazing.

“He is a wonderful talent who will always provoke comments both positive and negative but the bottom line is he is a fantastic player.

 

“He is goal scorer and his goals to games ratio this season is fantastic.

“He is really inspirational for the group because he works hard every day and he is quality at that top end of the field: he genuinely is a world-class striker.

“It is a privilege to work with a player of that quality every day.”

After three tough games Suarez is likely to be given the night off tomorrow when Rodgers’ former club Swansea visit in the Capital One Cup.

Liverpool, the defending champions, came through the last round with a 2-1 win at West Brom having fielded a team with an average age of 24 years 10 days, while seven of the 13 players used that night were under 22.

The Reds boss has admitted league performances are his priority and so the side he puts out in this competition will be shorn of first-team stars and tomorrow is no different.

But he intends to pay every respect to the club he left in the summer, insisting the close relationship he had with Swans chairman Huw Jenkins remains strong and that actually helped when he went back to buy midfielder Joe Allen.

“It improved the Allen deal as I was able to speak to Huw and ask if there was a market for Joe and he came back to me and told me there was a possibility he could be sold,” he said.

“We became close both professionally and personally there and our relationship is still strong.

“Leaving there was sad but I knew I was coming to one of the biggest clubs in the world.

“We are not in contact as much – we would have spoken every day and had many great football conversations – but there is still that respect there and an admiration for the work they do.

“I always like to leave on good terms. There is no problem there.

“But we want to get through and nothing will get in the way of that.

“No sentiment gets in the way of wanting to progress to the next round.”