Rodgers: Don’t compare us to Tottenham

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Brendan Rodgers has won over a fanbase that initially doubted his credentials

Brendan Rodgers says Liverpool have a strategy behind their summer business, and has dismissed comparisons with Tottenham’s dealings last summer.


The Reds have £75million in the bank following the sale of Luis Suarez to Barcelona, and have so far brought in six new signings to strengthen the squad.

Brendan Rodgers has won over a fanbase that initially doubted his credentials

Tottenham brought in a host of new players last summer following the sale of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid, and ended up missing out on the Champions League.

Rodgers has looked to distance the Reds from comparisons with the north London club, claiming all business conducted this summer is part of a strategy.


“It’s a different club and different vision we have here. At Liverpool there’s a strategy behind what we are doing,” the boss explained. 

“We talked a lot with our recruitment team last season, knowing that through the summer we needed to improve the depth of our squad.

“Clearly we were not strong enough last season in terms of numbers and quality.

“We always planned to bring in a number of players, hoping we were going to be in the Champions League, so it would give us the opportunity to challenge on all fronts.

“The new players know their roles and we hope they can develop in the future as well. So far, the integration has been smooth.”

 


Reds complete Origi signing

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Liverpool have today confirmed the signing of forward Divock Origi from Lille.

The 19-year-old will return immediately to the French club to complete a loan spell for the 2014-15 season.

Divock Origi

Origi has been on the clubs radar since appearing for Belgium under-15’s, with the Reds seeing off competition from clubs at home and abroad for his signature.


The Belgian youngster said having completed the deal : “I am very, very happy and delighted a club as big as Liverpool showed interest in me. I’m very excited.

“I know it’s a club with a great history, great fans and a lot of great players. For me, Liverpool is one of the greatest clubs in the world and I’m very excited to be part of this great history.”

Origi began his career in the youth set up at Belgian club Genk.

He made the move to Lille in 2010, and scored on his first team debut in February 2013.

He has netted a further five times for the French club, and starred for his country at the World Cup, netting a last minute winner against Russia in the group stage.

Sturridge: We have the mentality to move on

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Daniel Sturridge is confident Liverpool will continue to move forward and progress, despite the sale of Luis Suarez to Barcelona this summer.

The Uruguayan scored 31 Premier League goals for the Reds last season, but Sturridge is of the opinion the Reds are far from a one man team, and the new additions brought in by Brendan Rodgers will aid the club’s ‘winning mentality.’

“Liverpool is a huge club, it’s an elite club and people don’t realise that.

Most valuable player - Daniel Sturridge

“We have a lot of players who can step up. Luis has left and that is football, he’s moved on.

“For me, with the signings the manager has made – exciting players, young players, real up and comers – we are going to have that winning mentality.

“Players come and go, that’s the nature of the game. Some will remain at a club their whole career like Stevie Gerrard and some will move.


“It doesn’t matter. We will still have the mentality to move forward, be an exciting squad, playing attacking football, and that’s the Liverpool way. We will continue to do that.”

The Reds fell agonisingly short of a first Premier League title during 2013-14, but Sturridge is confident his side will be up there challenging at the top once again this season.

He added: “I’m excited about the new season.

“Last season we were the underdogs, but now people expect us to kick on. It’s a great chance to show what we can do again. Regardless if we are underdogs or favourites, our mentality won’t change.

“We are a young, hungry squad looking to put our stamp down, not just in the Premier League but Europe as well.

“We will try to move forward with a great manager behind us who has the exact same mentality.

“He is hungry for success – everyone is. That is the motto and the key point I’m trying to make.

“I will give 100 per cent and the other boys will too. Whoever is selected will go out with the right mentality to try and win games – as has always been the way.”

Rodgers confirms Remy deal is off

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Brendan Rodgers has confirmed Liverpool have pulled out of a deal to sign Loic Remy from Queens Park Rangers, however refused to clarify exactly why the move collapsed.

The France striker looked set to complete a move to Anfield for a fee of £8.5million, having agreed personal terms.

Brendan Rodgers

Reports suggested the Reds pulled out of the deal after the forward failed a medical, but Rodgers refused to be drawn on the exact reason as to why the deal was off.

Speaking after the Reds 1-0 win over Olympiakos in Chicago, the boss said: “It’s very simple, we have decided not to go ahead with the deal.

“It’s unfortunate for the player – we’re obviously disappointed – but there’s nothing more to be said. We move onto other targets.”

Remy had reportedly been offered the number 7 shirt vacated by Luis Suarez, but having watched a front three of Daniel Sturridge, Raheem Sterling, and new boy Lazar Markovic perform well in Chicago, Rodgers remains confident the Reds possess plenty of firepower.

“Luis Suarez isn’t a Liverpool player so I don’t need to talk about or reference Luis Suarez,” Rodgers told the club’s official website.

“I’ll just worry about the players I have, who showed in enough games last season and the season before, when we didn’t have Luis, that we can score goals. That won’t be an issue.

“I’ve seen a difference in Daniel since he came back; he has obviously got confidence from the World Cup and his season last year.

“I think he’s ready to take on the mantle. He got 20-odd goals last season so he’s a striker of great value.

“Markovic will only get better and better. He showed great strength when he burst through and hopefully later on when he picks up that speed and sharpness in his game, he’ll go on and finish that.

“We’ve got good speed. Raheem Sterling is always a threat – he’s a joy to watch. I thought those three were really exciting.”

 

Rodgers: Lovren will add leadership

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Brendan Rodgers believes Dejan Lovren will prove an excellent signing for the club, claiming the Croatian will add leadership and quality to a defence that conceded 50 Premier League goals last season.

Lovren completed his long awaited switch from Southampton at the weekend, and will now travel to the United States to join his new teammates on their pre season tour.

Dejan Lovren

“This is a very important signing for us and I’m delighted it’s completed so Dejan can join up with us on our US tour,” Rodgers told the clubs official website .

“He is a commanding and powerful presence and clearly has leadership skills, which is important; he fits the profile of player we are looking for.

“He is still relatively young, so his peak years are ahead of him and I believe he will improve and progress even further with us.

“I’m looking forward to him arriving and working with us as we continue our preparations for the new season.”

Lovren spoke of his delight at completing the switch to Anfield.

The 25-year-old said: “It’s a dream come true. I’m happy and glad to be here; I’m proud and can’t wait to start. 

I’m most looking forward to Anfield, of course. I played there last season in front of the crowd singing ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’. That is something very special for every player, every sportsman and every fan. I can’t wait to get started.”

 

Henry: The time was right to sell Suarez

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Liverpool owner John W. Henry believes the time was right for the club to sell Luis Suarez.

The Uruguayan fired 31 Premier League goals for the Reds last season, and was named the PFA Player of the year for his performances in a red shirt.

Player of the season - Luis Suarez

However, the club sanctioned the forward’s £75million move to Barcelona, after the 27-year-old was banned from all football for four months, following his bite on Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup.

And Henry – who watched the Reds fall to a 1-0 defeat to Roma at Fenway Park on Wednesday night – believes the time was right for the club to cash in on their star forward.

“It was time for Luis and time for the club to make a break,” he said.

“He brought so much to the club but we brought a lot to Luis. I thought we needed more depth; last year we needed more depth, and we’re playing a lot more games this year with the Champions League. I think you will still see a very explosive Liverpool offense.”

The Reds have set about looking to replace Suarez with the signings of Rickie Lambert, Emre Can, Adam Lallana and Lazar Markovic, whilst a move for QPR forward Loic Remy is understood to be nearing completion.

 

Rodgers expects a new deal for Gerrard to be ‘sorted’

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Brendan Rodgers says he expects a new contract to be ‘sorted’ for captain Steven Gerrard in the near future.

The 34-year-old is entering the final 12 months of his current deal, but is tipped to sign an extension that would see him stay at the club until 2016.

And Rodgers remains confident his captain can go on performing at the highest level beyond this season, especially since confirming his international retirement this week.

Steven Gerrard

“I am very happy that Steven is now going to commit to Liverpool and I am sure that (his contract) is something that we will look at,” Rodgers said.

“He is in really good condition and I’m sure it is something that will happen at some point.

“Listen, for his own mind, I’m sure he will want it sorted out, absolutely. You never want to leave players with not too long to go on their contract.

“A lot has gone on at the club over the course of the summer. It is something I am sure will get sorted.

“I know he can continue to play beyond this season. I have always said that. Now he doesn’t have international football, he will have that freshness.”

Rodgers: Our signings are strategic

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Brendan Rodgers was keen to stress Liverpool will not spend the money gained from the sale of Luis Suarez on just anyone, with the boss insistent all signings made this summer are strategic.

Rodgers has explained before he does not want to spend money simply for the sake of spending, and is only likely to do so if the right player becomes available for the right price.

Man of the season - Brendan Rodgers

The Liverpool boss has so far spent close to £60million on the signings of Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana, Emre Can and Lazar Markovic – whilst more players are expected to follow.

Rodgers explained: “You only spend the money if the players are there. The money is there if the right players are available.

“What we can’t do is spend for the sake of it. The players we’ve brought in were players we wanted anyway.

“It was well documented our squad last year was too thin so we needed to bring in players to get that level and depth up.

“Our signings are strategic. They are not just names. They all fit into the purpose of the team but, of course, we want them to make a contribution.

“If that means we do not spend all the money or the net spend is the same, then so be it.

“The character is important. It is not just about the player, but the right type of person.”

Rodgers was also keen to point out the Reds did not pay over the odds for midfielder Adam Lallana, who completed a £23.6million move to Anfield from Southampton after the World Cup.

“For British players across the board, there is always that premium and the value is always pushed up,” the boss explained.

“We paid what we thought he was worth and would not go higher.”

 

Rodgers offers praise for Coutinho

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Brendan Rodgers was full of praise for Phillipe Coutinho, after the Brazilian produced a stand out display in the Reds 1-0 defeat to Roma at Fenway Park.

Liverpool went down to a late Daniel Agger own goal, but Coutinho especially delivered a performance of real promise during the Reds first match of their pre-season tour of America.

Coutinho 5

“Coutinho is the brain in our team, the continuity player,” Rodgers said. “He might not score many goals, but he’s a wonderful reference for the team.

“He is the one that gets the team ticking, gets the movement in front of the ball. He goes and gets on the ball. He’s a fantastic talent for such a young player and he’s still gaining his fitness.

“He makes the crowd get off their seat. For someone so small, he’s very tough and robust. He’s a wonderful technician that has a great idea, tactically, of the game.”

On the game itself, the Northern Irishman continued: “These are two Champions League teams, two teams that are at a good level of pre-season and two sets of committed players that are very competitive.

“Pre-season friendly or not, both teams wanted to play well and work well. I thought it was a perfect game at this stage of our preparation phase.

“This is one of a number of good games that we’ve got coming up that are going to really sharpen us up for the beginning of the season.”

 

Gerrard deserves more respect, after England retirement

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They say you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. And that statement could soon prove very true for the minority of England fans who have taken to social media to have a pop at Steven Gerrard over the last few weeks, firstly after England’s World Cup exit, and after his international retirement was announced this week.

Make no mistake – Steven Gerrard’s decision to retire from international football will have without a doubt been one of the hardest of his long and distinguished career.

The Liverpool captain called time on an international career that spanned 14 years and 114 caps, of which 38 came as captain.

Steven Gerrard

But perhaps the most difficult part of his decision to call it a day, will be the manner in which the 34-year-old was forced to bow out.

England’s disastrous World Cup campaign saw Gerrard play out his final minutes in an England shirt as a late substitute, in a meaningless goalless draw with Costa Rica – a result that confirmed England finished bottom of Group D on a single point and without a win to their name.

For a man who had served his country with such distinction, Gerrard deserved far better.

Yet, there were those who still made the England captain the scapegoat for the team’s exit – blaming Gerrard for both Luis Suarez goals in the 2-1 defeat to Uruguay which sealed the three lions fate.

It always seems to be the case with England – there always needs to be someone to blame for the countries failure at a major tournament.

Look at David Beckham in 1998, Phil Neville in 2000, David Seaman in 2002, Beckham once again in 2004, Wayne Rooney in 2006, Fabio Capello in 2010 – and those clutching at straws have pinpointed Gerrard the reason behind England’s latest disappointment.

Firstly for his failure to make a tackle stick in the middle of the park in the build up to Suarez’s first goal saw the finger pointed at the Liverpool skipper.

Whilst for the deciding goal, the fact the ball skimmed off his head and fell into the path of Suarez was more unlucky than anything, and hardly a glaring error.

Surely the positional play of centre backs Phil Jagielka and Gary Cahill needs to be called into question?

Gerrard is his own fiercest critic, and he himself will tell you that night in Sao Paulo was hardly one of his finest in an England shirt.

But the comments that were delivered afterwards from supposed England fans, and press – with Spanish newspaper Marca reportedly refusing to give the England skipper a rating for his performance – seemed nothing short of ridiculous.

After 14 years of service to his country in which he had never given less than 100% with every performance, Gerrard deserves more respect.

He claimed to be ‘broken’ following England’s humiliating early exit from Brazil, and wore an expression in the days that followed of a man both physically and emotionally shattered.

Gerrard had always given his all for his country, and it seemed to have finally all caught up with him following events in Sao Paulo.

His decision to retire at the age of 34 is the right one for all concerned, despite Roy Hodgson’s plea for him to stay on as skipper.

Gerrard has never quite been able to carry England in the way he has Liverpool, but the responsibility has been shared with a group of star players over the course of his international career.

The so-called ‘golden generation’ consisted of a midfield that included Gerrard, David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Frank Lampard and Joe Cole at one time or another.

Yet Gerrard still managed to have a baring on big matches, netting three World Cup goals, one European Championship strike, as well as providing more assists than any other player at the 2012 Championships.

Whilst his first England goal – a stunning strike in the famous 5-1 win over Germany in England – will be perhaps remembered as his best.

Moments such as events in Sao Paolo, a missed penalty in the shootout defeat to Portugal in 2006, and failure to qualify for the Euro’s in 2008, will go down as the lowest points of his international career.

And perhaps the most recent low point served as the reason behind so many nonsensical comments on social media following his international retirement – which all but said good riddance.

Roy Hodgson said Gerrard’s leadership of a young squad and his quality on the pitch will be sorely missed by England, and those fickle fans who looked to blame the captain for events in Brazil may discover that to be true now he is gone.

Those who called for Gerrard to be dropped could never justify their claims with an able replacement, whilst his performances for Liverpool last season showed he is still the best midfield player in the country.

England must now move forward without their most respected player, with the next in line for the captaincy facing a tough act to follow.

Gerrard had unconditional respect from the young and senior players in the England squad, just as he does at Liverpool – the difference being that with his club, the same can be said about the supporters.

England’s loss will prove to be Liverpool’s gain, with Gerrard citing the club’s return to the Champions League as a crucial factor behind his decision.

At 34, squeezing a Euro 2016 qualifying campaign into his schedule simply did not make sense.

The Liverpool skipper can now focus on seeing out the rest of his career at the club he loves, for those who love and respect him as he deserves to be – and in time, perhaps he will be by all England supporters as well.