Van Persie’s spot-kick sinks unlucky Liverpool

Manchester United earned a much desired victory against a 10-man Reds of Liverpool at Anfield this afternoon as a Robin Van Persie late penalty did the magic for the Red Devils.

Jonjo Shelvey’s sending-off brought down the host’s team to 10 men but still managed to take the lead through Steven Gerrard’s volley seconds after the interval.

Shelvey robbed Ryan Giggs in midfield but as the ball broke free he launched himself at Jonny Evans and the inevitable outcome was a red card.

However, Rafael equalised soon after and Van Persie, one of three United players to miss from the spot this term, scored his fourth goal in as many games against the Reds – although three of those had come for former side Arsenal – nine minutes from time.

Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra shook hands in a show of unity before the game – the Liverpool forward had refused to shake the United defender’s hand in the league meeting between the sides at Old Trafford in February, having previously been found guilty of racially abusing Evra in the corresponding fixture at Anfield last season.

Second-half substitute Suso, making his Premier League debut three days after his first-team bow in Switzerland, saw his cross half-cleared to Glen Johnson. A tackle from Paul Scholes, on for Nani at half-time, succeeded only in diverting the ball towards Gerrard who volleyed home left-footed in front of the Kop.

It was short-lived, however, as within five minutes United were level when Shinji Kagawa laid the ball off for Rafael to brilliantly curl left-footed over Jose Reina and in off the far post.

Daniel Agger and Johnson collided to allow Antonio Valencia to race 50 yards into the area and although Johnson got back he could only bring down the Ecuador international. Van Persie drilled home – although Reina went the right way and almost made the stop.

Loaning Andy Carroll a great mistake – Brendan Rodgers

Manager Brendan Rodgers painfully admitted that Liverpool made the worst move as regards the loan move of Andy Carroll over the summer transfer window.

According to the loan deal, the striker will be spending the rest of the season on loan at West Ham after it appeared he didn’t fit into the former Swansea manager’s new scheme and tactics at the Merseyside club.

With three Premier League matches in his kitty this season, Rodgers has already conceded that loaning Carroll was a mistake, and one that the club could regret throughout the 2012/13 season.

Rodgers’ admissions about the star striker’s departure from the club could not have come at a more interesting time for the Reds, with owner John Henry penning an open letter to the club’s supporters as to the reasons behind their lack of summer transfer activity—particularly on the transfer deadline day, when it was revealed they would not be able to sign Clint Dempsey from Fulham.

Henry stated that the club would not be drawn into “expensive, short-term quick fixes that will only contribute for a couple of years and went out to state they would not be making similar transfer mistakes to those made in the past few seasons.

On one level, not so much—the real mistake is the fact that they did not manage to sign another striker to add to their team this summer. The exit of Carroll on loan this season to try and regain some Premier League form is okay, as long as the Reds aren’t left a striker short for the remainder of the season—which it appears they have been.

Luis Suarez cannot be expected to shoulder all the attacking responsibilities, and Joe Allen simply will not be as effective as he could be at Anfield following the departure of Carroll—the same could also be said for Raheem Sterling.

Liverpool’s mistake was not ridding themselves of the £35 million signing; their mistake was not adequately replacing him with another striker and leaving themselves a man down for the remainder of the 2012/13 English Premier League season.

Podolski on target as Arsenal cruise past Liverpool

Arsenal kick-started their Premier League season at the expense of Liverpool with new signings Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorla both opening their accounts in a comfortable 2-0 win at Anfield.

Two 0-0 draws following the sale of Robin van Persie to Manchester United had raised questions over Arsenal’s firepower but Podolski answered them with an emphatic finish before halftime to put the visitors in charge.

Spaniard Cazorla sealed the points after 67 minutes to leave Liverpool’s new manager Brendan Rodgers reflecting on just one point from his first three league matches in charge.

Arsenal, who are yet to concede a goal this season, moved up to seventh in the fledgling Premier League table with five points while Liverpool languish fourth from bottom.

Later on Manchester United face an away trip to Southampton while Newcastle United are at home to Aston Villa.

Liverpool signs Moroccan Oussama Assaidi

Moroccan winger Oussama Assaidi has been signed by Liverpool  from his Dutch club Heerenven.

Oussama, 24, signed a long-term deal after passing a medical at the club’s Melwood training ground today as he becomes the third signing for the club under the new manager Brendan Rodgers the first two players being Fabio Borini and Joe Allen respectively.

Oussama said he is very happy with his signing as he will be playing with a big club like Liverpool and he has always had a good feeling about the deal ever since he first spoke to the coach on the phone.

Although, Liverpool manager Rodgers admitted that it may take Assaidi a while to settle in but he believes if given time to settle in properly, the winger will be a success.

Capital One, new sponsor of English League Cup

The English League Cup known to football lovers and English Club Football lovers alike as the Carling Cup due to Carling’s sponsorship of the cup has been taken over credit card company; Capital One and will also be known as Capital One Cup from 2012-2013 as the new title sponsor for the next four seasons as the new deal has been signed and agreed upon.

The league cup has called Carling Cup since 2003 when Carling took over the sponsorship of the knock-out tournament.

The tournament which is between English club sides is a less prestigious cup if compared to the FA cup but advantageous for the winner of the major cup who gets a spot in the year’s Europa league.

The draw for the 2012-2013 first round will be made on June 14.

Richard Heaselgrave, chief commercial officer of the Football League, said it is a very great way for the 2011-2012 seasons to end as sealing the deal with Capital One is good news for the League.
This year’s competition was won by Liverpool who beat Cardiff City in a dramatic final after a 2-2 score line after extra-time went to penalties.

Liverpool sack Dalglish

Earlier, it was reported that Liverpool club management has been mum over the rumoured exit of their present manager, Kenny Dalglish. Now there is a new twist as the Merseyside club owners, Fenway Sports Group and club management confirmed that the contract of the former Anfield legend has been terminated.

The announcement came barely 24 hours after the former Liverpool player’s return from the United States assisted by his assistant coach to attend a meeting with John Henry and Tom Werner who are the principal owners.

“This is a price for failing to close the gap on the top four as the Reds finished the league with eighth position even after so much investment” Dalglish said.

The Scot was given a three-year contract a year ago but an inability to sufficiently close the gap to the top four despite a significant outlay on transfers appears to have persuaded Fenway Sports Group a change was required.

In a joint statement by Fenway Sports Group and the Club management it was confirmed that Dalglish is to relinquish his position as the manager of the Anfield club as his appointment has been terminated with immediate effect so as for change to be effected and the decision was not taken hastily.

Part owner Werner said they had made a tough decision to remove a man who is held in such high esteem at Anfield following his exploits as a player and manager in his previous spell in charge.

He acknowledged the effect the 61-year-old had had in putting things back in shape after a disastrous six months under Roy Hodgson but felt a change was required.

Despite winning the Carling Cup and reaching the final of the FA Cup the Reds’ league results were disappointing.

A 14th defeat of the season at Swansea on the final day of the season condemned the club to their worst league finish for 18 years and their lowest points tally (52) since 1953/54.

Prior to the start of the season Henry had suggested that Champions League qualification was the minimum requirement.

There had been progress made under Dalglish, who initially took temporary charge in January 2011 with the club dangerously close to the foot of the table after Hodgson failed badly.

Liverpool mum over Dalglish exit rumour

The management of Liverpool FC is yet to respond to reports that Anfield legend and coach, Kenny Dalglish will be leaving the club due to the poor performance in the just concluded season of the English Premier league.

The Merseyside club management has refused to respond to the report stating that Kenny Dalglish has relinquished his position as the manager of the Reds.

His departure is attributed to a dismal performance on the league table, despite winning the Carling Cup in February and reaching the FA Cup final.

The club finished on the eight-place of the Premier League which has been their lowest in 18 years with a total overall points of 52, also the lowest since 1954.

The priority of the American owners of the club has been to compete in major competitions in the football world and clinching the Premier league title to take the club back to the glory days.

However reports suggest that a ready replacement for the Anfield legend is already in place as the board of the club is looking at bringing in Wigan’s Roberto Martinez.

Recently, an internal re-structuring at Anfield saw the exit of director of football, Damien Comolli along with other senior staff.

Dalglish and his assistant manager; Steve Clarke flew to the United States to talk about the future plans of the club with the owners and after discussion, reports revealed that the Scot had decided to quit after a season-and-a-half back in charge.

Manchester City claims premier league title after 44 years

For the first time in 44 years, Manchester City football club were crowned as champions of England in a pulsating encounter where the English champion was not known until the last minute of the last game of the league.

In their final fixture, which was played simultaneously alongside 9 other games, Manchester City defeated Queens Park Rangers (3-2) to emerge as champions of the English Premier league. The victory left City with 89 points, same as Manchester United, winners of the last three editions of the Premier league.

City emerged league winners following a better goal difference over their city rivals. City have a goal difference of 64 while United have a goal difference of 56. (Goal difference is a difference between goals scored by a team and goals conceded (over the course of the season).

Manchester City would however count themselves lucky as they scored their winning goal against QPR in the 94th minute courtesy of a strike by Argentinean Sergio Aguero.

Nigerians escape relegation

Though on the losing sides, two Nigerians who played full 90 mins for QPR, Taiye Taiwo and Nedum Onuoha, have reasons to be thankful as their club escaped relegation from the premier league.

QPRs escape follows a 2-2 draw by Bolton against Stoke city. Taiwo is on loan at QPR from Italian side AC Milan.
This ensures that it is Bolton that joins previously relegated Wolverhampton Wanderers and Blackburn football club (the club Nigerian Yakubu Aiyegbeni plays for). Bolton needed a win against Stoke to escape relegation as the draw saw them finish with 36 points while QPR finished with 37 points.

Tottenham will pray against Chelsea

Fans of Tottenham football club will be hoping that a German club, Bayern Munich, beat their London city rivals on Sunday, next week. This is because Tottenham’s fourth placed finish which would ordinarily have guaranteed them a champions league play-off spot is now dependent on the UEFA champions league final between Bayern and Chelsea.

Should Chelsea win on Sunday, Tottenham would have to settle for the second tier Europa league as Chelsea would automatically fill the fourth spot meant for English clubsides. Arsenal, meanwhile have qualified for the Champions League after finishing in third place with 70 points, one ahead of Tottenham.

Chelsea, as expected rested several players who are expected to feature in next week’s Champions league final. Nigerian midfielder Mikel Obi; Frank Lampard; Salomon Kalou, Jose Bosingwa and others were rested as Chelsea came sixth in the league (their worst showing since Roman Abrahamovic took control of the Club in 2003) with 64 points.

 

Injury bout for FA Cup finalists

The two English clubs; Chelsea and Liverpool will be getting ready for the FA Cap final showdown as one team will emerge winner of the FA Cup at the end of the clash which will also make up for the disappointment of a dismal performance in the English Premier League for the team that will lift the FA Cup trophy.

Liverpool claimed the Carling Cup this season and will be gunning for a title this season with the FA Cup final in view while Chelsea will be looking to win the Champions league title against Bayern Munich come May 19th.

Looking at statistics of both clubs in the FA Cup history, this will is the 31st clash between the two clubs in the last eight years will be taking place at Wembley Stadium. Chelsea has won the FA cup thrice while the Reds once.

But this year the two English FA Cup finalists are on a common ground ahead of the clash ; a weakened squad setup as they are both battling injury which as made the squads fitness level to fall below standard with some key players of both Chelsea and Liverpool making the bench.

On the side of the Liverpool, Lucas Leiva and Charlie Adam in the midfield and for Chelsea, they will be going ahead without David Luiz and Tim Cahill in the back line positions.

Both clubs have to dip into their bench for this FA Cup final, but it does give Chelsea an advantage. One such player not even mentioned yet, former Liverpool star Fernando Torres, could easily make an appearance for the Blues as well. The scary part is that he’s actually been on form as of late.

Kenny Dalglish and interim coach for Chelsea Roberto Di Matteo will be going onto their action board for a game plan that will bring out the possible choices from among the remaining fit players so that result can be achievable which will produce one winner at the end of the clash.

There is no denying that the talents of guys like Terry, Cole, Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard gives the Blues a distinct advantage over the youth of Liverpool. Sure, they have Steven Gerrard, but they also boast inexperienced stars in Luis Suarez, Andy Carroll, Stewart Downing, Jordan Henderson and others.

Fernando Torres might be the man to watch out for in the FA Cup finals with the recent turn of events since his stay at the Stamford Bridge as he would struggle to ditch the dreams of his former club and mates.

Liverpool to recall young shot stopper from loan

Liverpool will recall youngster  from a loan spell at Hull City to help them cope with a goalkeeping shortage ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup semifinal against Everton.

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish will have to field third-choice Brad Jones in the all-Merseyside clash at Wembley Stadium because both of his senior keepers are suspended.

But he dismissed talk of a crisis following the 3-2 win at Blackburn Rovers on Tuesday. “We don’t have a problem going in with any players, no problem whatsoever,” he told reporters.

Kulacsi, a 21-year-old Hungarian who joined Liverpool five years ago but has never made a first team appearance, has spent time on loan at Hereford United, Tranmere Rovers and Hull.

“Goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi is set to be recalled from his loan spell with the Tigers by parent club Liverpool,” Hull said on their official Twitter feed on Wednesday.

Liverpool’s first choice keeper Spaniard Pepe Reina is suspended after being sent off at Newcastle United in a Premier League game on April 1.

Back-up Alexander Doni, who made his long-awaited debut against Aston Villa on Saturday, is banned after the Brazilian was shown a red card at Blackburn.

Jones, who came on after 26 minutes following Doni’s departure, is a 30-year-old Australian international.

However, until his appearance on Tuesday Jones had only played twice for Liverpool in the League Cup and Europa League since joining from Middlesbrough. The last of those two appearances was in December 2010.

He had a mixed night against Rovers.

Jones saved Ayegbeni Yakubu’s penalty with his first touch but was at fault for conceding another spot kick from which Yakubu equalised. His blushes were spared when Andy Carroll headed home in stoppage time to give Liverpool a 3-2 win.

“It was a great first contribution (from Jones) in the Premier League to save a penalty, I am sure he will remember that,” said Dalglish.

Jones said the penalty save was in memory of his son Luca, who died from leukaemia in November. His girlfriend gave birth to a son Nico Luca a week ago.

 

Yakubu ends Liverpool goal drought

Blackburn Rovers’ Nigerian striker Yakubu Aiyegbeni finally ended his goal drought against Liverpool in the 3-2 defeat at Ewood Park in the English Premier League. The burly striker had faced the Reds on 14 occasions, during his stint Portsmouth, Middlesbrough and Merseyside rivals Everton,  without finding the back of the net.

Andy Carroll struck a dramatic injury-time winner as 10-man Liverpool beat Blackburn Rovers 3-2 at Ewood Park in a keenly contested Premier League clash on Tuesday.

Liverpool looked to be cruising to victory after goals from Maxi Rodriguez fired them into a 2-0 lead early on.

But a red card for goalkeeper Alexander Doni – himself filling in for the suspended Pepe Reina – changed the complexion of the game and thrust third-choice goalkeeper Brad Jones into the limelight.

Jones promptly announced his entrance by saving Ayegbeni Yakubu’s spot-kick but Rovers hauled themselves back into the contest and eventually drew level.

Yakubu made amends for his penalty miss to head home for 2-1 and then levelled from the penalty spot in the second half to make it 2-2 and give Rovers hope of pulling clear of the relegation zone.

However Carroll was to have the final word with his header a minute into stoppage time to give Kenny Dalglish, the Liverpool manager, another Ewood Park occasion to put in his memory bank.

It will always be a special ground for Dalglish after winning the Championship while in charge of Blackburn in 1995.

And it became extra-special within 16 minutes as Liverpool’s lightning start eased the pressure on Dalglish.

Only 13 minutes had gone when Blackburn went behind, with much of the credit going to Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel who speared a splendid 80-yard pass into the feet of Craig Bellamy.

The winger charged forward before delivering a perfectly-judged cross that Rodriguez turned in from close-range.

Three minutes later, Liverpool stretched their lead – and Rodriguez was again the scorer after impressive work from Jonjo Shelvey.

The midfielder won the ball in midfield and surged forward to force a save from Rovers’ keeper Paul Robinson.

Carroll’s shot from the rebound was blocked, but Rodriguez was more clinical when the ball dropped to his feet and he swept it in.

Liverpool’s stunning start came despite a much-changed side with Dalglish clearly eyeing this weekend’s FA Cup semifinal against Everton.

Another regular missing was Pepe Reina, serving the second game of his three match suspension to give a rare opportunity to Brazilian Doni.

Reina’s red card at Newcastle had presented Doni with the chance to play in Saturday’s semifinal – but his Wembley dream was shattered after just 25 minutes after he brought down Junior Hoilett.

Third-choice keeper Jones replaced Jon Flanagan, the full-back whose mishit back-pass had left Hoilett racing clear.

And Jones, now heading to the Wembley showpiece tie, made an instant impact when he saved the unconvincing penalty from Yakubu.

Jones was beaten, though, in the 36th minute when a fine free-kick from David Dunn gave Yakubu the chance to head inside the post rom eight yards.

Dalglish’s outnumbered team was pinned back for long periods during the rest of the match.

Jones dealt with a 55th minute shot from Dunn and also went down quickly to clutch a 58th-minute header from Grant Hanley, but Blackburn did draw level three minutes later.

But Jones was at fault when he allowed Yakubu to charge down a clearance and responded by pushing the striker.

The penalty award was followed by a yellow card for the keeper and, this time, a decisive finish from the spot by Yakubu.

It looked certain to earn Blackburn a valuable point and they were the more inventive team in the closing stages, but their hopes of moving out of the bottom three were destroyed by Carroll’s dramatic late winner.

 

Dalglish sings Doni’s praise before Reina replacement

channels_television_alexander_doniLiverpool Coach Kenny Dalglish has prepared the mind of goalkeeper Alexander Doni who is going to be a stand-in for first choice goalkeeper for Liverpool Pepe Reina by psyching him with praising his attitude towards the task ahead.

Recalling the game between Liverpool and Newcastle, where Reina was suspended for Liverpool’s next three games after he was red carded for unprofessional behaviour on the field of play.

Pepe Reina who has made about 183 successful Premier League appearances will be solely missed by the entire Liverpool team.

Leaving Reina, Alexander Doni; a Brazilian International who will be replacing him for the game he is to miss has garnered experiences from playing days with Roma has only played a friendly back in October for just 57 minutes and has not played any reserve team game this season.

According Dalglish the attitude of the Brazilian International Doni has been tremendous and he is really up for the challenge.

“He’s very experienced and has worked really hard in training since he got here. He has done as much as he can to try to be ready.” Dalglish concluded.

Dalglish admitted that it won’t be easy initially for Doni considering the understanding that has to exist between the keeper and any other player in the squad as it is very hard to get that except you play in first team games, but he knows it will pass.