Johnson and Cissokho back

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toonBrendan Rodgers has announced his team for this afternoon’s game against Newcastle United at St James’ Park.


Glen Johnson and Aly Cissokho return from injury to take their places at wing-back on either flank against the Magpies today, while Joe Allen takes his place on the bench.

There’s no Jose Enrique or Lucas Leiva today, however.


Starting XI: Mignolet, Cissokho, Toure, Skrtel, Sakho, Johnson, Henderson, Gerrard, Moses, Suarez, Sturridge.

Subs: Jones, Agger, Kelly, Flanagan, Alberto, Sterling, Allen.

 


Rodgers: Gerrard is remarkable

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Brendan Rodgers has showered praise on Steven Gerrard – describing the Liverpool captain as a ‘remarkable man’.

Gerrard was in good form during the international break last week – scoring England’s second goal against Poland to secure automatic qualification for next year’s World Cup in Brazil – and heads to Newcastle this weekend in search of his 100th Premier League goal.

And Rodgers was keen to stress that whilst he offers plenty in terms of leadership his quality as a player should not be forgotten.

“It’s remarkable really; you saw him in the game during the week as well,” said Rodgers.

“What gets lost with Steven sometimes is that people talk about him as this great captain and a great leader, and what people forget is that he’s still a world-class player. He’s got big talent.


“He scored what you would probably say was a typical Gerrard goal the other night – breaking forward with power and pace and just when it looked like it was getting away from him, he reached and got his toe to it with a great finish.

“It’s something I’ve been fully aware of since I’ve been here. He’s probably the best player that I’ve ever worked with at tempo.

“The quality he can play with when the tempo is really high in a game is incredible.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to have worked with top, world-class players at Chelsea and some brilliant technicians when I was at Swansea.

“He’s a remarkable man and a remarkable captain. England should be honoured to have someone like that represent them on and off the field.

“I’ve said it before and I’ll repeat it again – he looks after himself so well and he’s so professional and he’s still got a number of years left in him yet to turn in great performances.”

Allen says his season just starting

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Welsh midfielder Joe Allen is coming back from his latest injury setback and has stated that his season “starts now”.

The former Swansea midfielder has been out since the League Cup victory over Notts County in August and is hoping to be fit for selection for next week’s game at Newcastle United.

“I’m almost there, basically,” he said.

“The plan is to get back into training, get a good few days leading up to the Newcastle game and hopefully I’ll be available for selection from there on.

“It has been a bit of a frustrating time – it always is when you’re injured – but I’m finally getting there. It was the one I had in the back of my mind anyway, so it has worked out quite nicely in that sense.

“I was disappointed; I thought I would get back for the Wales games but unfortunately they just came a bit soon. But it has meant that I got a bit of extra rehab leading up to that game. I have been able to get ready.

Borini


“With the timing of the injury, I hadn’t really got into the swing of things. This is a fresh start of the season for me personally. It is great to come back with the team doing so well.”

“I tell myself it comes with the territory of this job, unfortunately,” he added. “There are players who have had worse injuries than I have had and have been out longer.

“That’s the way to look at it sometimes when you’re feeling sorry for yourself – you have to remember these things. But I’m through the tough part of it and almost there now, so I’m really looking forward to getting my season up and running.

“The lads have been great, as usual. When you’re injured, you almost feel useless because you can’t get out there and help the team.

“When matchday comes around, you’re disappointed not to be a part of it.

“But the lads have told me to stick with it, be patient and I’ll be back soon.

“I’m grateful to them for that. It’s easy to feel sorry for yourself. Unfortunately, you can be unlucky and these things can happen. You’ve got to deal with it in the best way possible.

“I think the best way to do that is to look further forward at the end product of doing all your rehab – getting back out there playing and doing what you love.”

Aspas aiming for Spain call up

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Iago Aspas has stated his frustration at not being able to hold down a regular place in the first team since signing for the club from Celta Vigo in the Summer.

aspasThe Spaniard has made four starts so far this season and has been unable to make an impact. He’s not managed to break his duck for the club yet either.

Despite this, the twenty six year attacker believes that he can break into the Spanish national squad ahead of next year’s World Cup.

“I’m finding it hard to be a sub at Liverpool having started games in the past few years. When I left Celta Vigo I was aware that to start for Liverpool wasn’t going to be easy. And now the team is winning and we are among the leaders in the Premier League, it’s very hard to get a game.” He’s quoted in the Daily Mail.

“I hope to carry on working hard and little by little to get more game time with Liverpool. I want to change the current situation.”

“Now it’s difficult to get in the Spain team because I’m playing less but I’m not worried about that. However, I will try to get in the squad.” he concluded.

Ngoo returns to Kirkby

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ngooReserve striker Michael Ngoo has returned from his loan spell at Yeovil Town after it was terminated early by mutual consent.

The 20 year had agreed to spend the season with the promoted side, but that agreement has been ended and he will return to Alex Inglethorpe’s youth ranks.

Ngoo made seven appearances for the Glovers, two of which were starts. He failed to score, however.

Gerrard big factor in Suarez stay

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Luis Suarez has told his national media that Steven Gerrard played a big part in keeping him at Anfield this season.

“I do not know if he prayed but what he said is what he feels because he was talking to me all the time.” said the Uruguayan.

“Gerrard, for me, is a legend in Liverpool and a great team-mate that helped me a lot.

“His attitude was an extra boost for me to take the decision to stay in Liverpool – both he and the fans of Liverpool influenced much for that. I admire him for the great player he is worldwide.

“For me he will always be a benchmark and at club level he is the best player I have played with in my career, as a person and as a footballer.” he concluded.

Wilson called up to Wales squad

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wilson

Liverpool youth player Harry Wilson has been called up to Chris Coleman’s Wales squad for their fixtures against Macedonia and Belgium in the coming week.

Wilson is yet to appear for the Reds’ first team.

Werner happy with Rodgers

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Tom Werner has praised the work done so far by Brendan Rodgers and said: “We’re very excited about the club’s future.”

After an impressive start to 2013-14, the Reds headed into the current international break in second place in the Barclays Premier League, only behind leader Arsenal on goals scored. Werner admits he’s been impressed by what he’s witnessed, not just this season but since Rodgers was appointed to the Anfield helm in June 2012.

werner“I think Brendan has made remarkable progress,” the club’s chairman told the Mirror.

“He’s a great strategist and has shown strong leadership. When we hired him, we were confident we were getting one of the brightest managerial talents in the game and he is proving his worth.

“He’s dedicated to improving the club as a whole and shares our vision of developing a club that is built for sustained success.

“He has shown a willingness to use young players and at the same time, demonstrated the ability to get the best out of our established stars. “Brendan is respected by the players. They feel he is a good strategist and a good leader and his philosophy has been embraced by everyone.

“We are all moving in the same direction, and Brendan is very much the leader.

“We’re pleased with the progress we’re seeing on the pitch, but our goal is to create sustainable, long-term success at Liverpool and to consistently compete for silverware, so we’re not getting carried away with a few good months.

“The club is definitely moving in the right direction under Brendan and as owners we’re very optimistic and excited about the future.”

“The team has played brilliantly at times,” Werner added.

“It is not unfair to say that Suarez and Daniel Sturridge are as powerful a striking force as any in the league. They both score brilliant goals and I am excited about the future but I don’t want to be accused of wearing rose-coloured spectacles.”

Werner was in attendance at Anfield when the Reds defeated Manchester United 1-0 thanks to a Daniel Sturridge header early on.

“There is nothing like a goal scored at Anfield,” he said.

“You almost feel like the whole place is levitating. To have been there when we beat Man U this season, it was one of the great afternoons of my life.”

 

Redknapp wanted Rodgers as assistant

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Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers had been lined up as Harry Redknapp’s number two, were the now QPR manager given the job of England manager ahead of Euro 2012.

 

The former Spurs boss has revealed that he spoke to Rodgers when Swansea faced Spurs in early 2012 – when he looked nailed on to be given the opportunity to manage his nation.

But it was not Redknapp who would be handed the reigns – former Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson was given the chance to lead the national side.

redrodRodgers subsequently left Swansea for Anfield while Redknapp was sacked by Spurs and left without a job in a massive turnaround.

“If I had become the England manager I would have taken Brendan Rodgers as my number two,” said Redknapp.

“My thinking on Brendan was this: if he can do it with players from the lower leagues at Swansea what can he do with Rio Ferdinand and John Terry or Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard?

“So when Tottenham played Swansea on April 1, 2012 I pulled Brendan after the game and said that if all the speculation about me and England was true would he consider coming to the European Championships in the summer as my part-time coach?

“I told him I wanted England to play with as much technical ambition as Swansea. He was up for it.

“Some Tottenham fans might think I was distracted from my club job, but I can assure you the conversation took five minutes. And we beat Swansea 3-1 that day, by the way.

“It didn’t work out. On April 1, I was contemplating the way forward for England with Brendan Rodgers – and on April 29 the FA offered the job to Roy Hodgson.

“I’ll admit, I thought it was mine. Everyone seemed so certain, everyone I had met from all parts of the game seemed utterly convinced it was my job.”

Redknapp says he has no grudge against Hodgson after being snubbed for the job, but the following quote doesn’t suggest that.

“I wouldn’t trust the FA to show me a good manager if their lives depended on it,” said Redknapp.

Sakho happy with competition for places

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Mamadou Sakho has said that he has no regrets about joining the club this Summer and is happy to fight for his place in the Reds’ defence.

The French international moved to Anfield in a multi-million pound deal from childhood club Paris Saint-Germain just before the close of the transfer window.

He is looking to hold down a place in the Reds’ defence – and then claim a place back in the French national side.

While speaking to the French press, Sakho pointed to the fact that he has been called up to face Australia and Finland as proof of the move being the right decision.

“I can only be happy to return. I had to leave Paris to come back to Les Bleus – every top level player works only for that.” he said.

“I know a lot has been said about me but to have been selected again proves a lot.”

“At Liverpool there are also a lot of players who play in my position. But the competition is healthy.

sakho“At Paris it became more complicated. I could say quite a few things about a certain directors but it would be of no use. I have put all that behind me and closed the door.

“My decision [to leave] was mature and one to which I gave a lot of thought. I did not leave for financial reasons.

“If I had wanted to do that I could have left in January. But no amount of money would have bought me the pleasure of playing. I am proud of the choice I have made.”

Sakho has said that he is beginning to settle into English life.

“I have just found a house in the suburbs of Liverpool, not far from Steven Gerrard’s.

“I often find myself driving on the right hand side of the road, but I am learning English.

“And as for the footballl, I am still working hard to adapt with the manager – it’s funny, he calls me killer.”