Brendan wants more goals from Henderson


Brendan Rodgers has revealed he has challenged Jordan Henderson to find the back of the net on a more regular basis next season.

The Reds midfielder fired five goals and provided six assists over the course of the 2013-14 campaign, and impressed everyone with his high energy displays in the middle of the park.

Rodgers believes the next stage of the 23-year-old’s development will see him contribute more goals from midfield, and has set the former Sunderland man an objective for the upcoming season.

Henderson scored a fine goal in the 2-2 draw with Manchester City in a friendly in New York last night, and Rodgers hopes it proves a sign of things to come.

Most improved - Jordan Henderson

“That’s the objective for Jordan [to get more goals],” the manager told his post-match press conference at Yankee Stadium. “The finish he produced to get the equaliser, he does that day in, day out in training.

“He’s a player that is so fit and strong, and he’s such a team player – he does a lot of unselfish work. This year we’re asking him to get more into the box.

“I thought he had more opportunities when he played just around the corner [of the striker] in the last 20 minutes of the game – he was able to time his runs better going forward and he got in a few times. That’s his strength – he can really penetrate the defensive line.

“He’s an athlete and can run all day. I would expect him to be getting up to 10 goals this season because he has the quality and tactical awareness to arrive into the area to do that.”


Gerrard told Suarez: ‘You’re too good for Arsenal’


Steven Gerrard has admitted he played a role in Luis Suarez sealing his dream move to Barcelona, having told the Uruguayan to reject Arsenal’s advances 12 months ago.

Suarez was at the centre of a summer long transfer saga which saw the Reds Premier League rivals attempt to lure the forward to north London – a move which never materialised.

Suarez and Gerrard

And the Liverpool skipper has revealed he told Suarez to concentrate on getting Liverpool back in the Champions League and be patient in the hope Barcelona or Real Madrid would move for him the following year, as he was ‘too good ‘ for Arsenal.

Suarez went on to fire 31 goals last season, as the Reds finished second in the Premier League, and sure enough Barcelona came calling with a £75million offer.

Gerrard said: “His dream all along from the first day he came was to play for Real Madrid or Barcelona.

“Last summer when he was out in the cold and training on his own that’s the conversation I had with him. I said, ‘Don’t go to Arsenal’.

“With all due respect to them, I said to him that he was too good for Arsenal.

“I said, ‘If you score 30 goals for us and win the PFA Player of the Year, the press Player of the Year, they (Barca and Madrid) will come back for you’.

“I have experience of those clubs myself and I know if you play well they will come back and come back. So I knew they’d be back for him as well.

“I just thought for his own sake, and to get respect off the Liverpool fans, he had to give us at least one year.”


Rodgers hoping to strengthen further


Brendan Rodgers has revealed he hopes to add more new signings before the 2014-15 season kicks off.

The Reds boss has spent close to £100million already this summer, having signed Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana, Emre Can, Lazar Markovic, Dejan Lovren and Divock Origi.

And with a return to the Champions League on the horizon, the Northern Irishman admits he hopes to add more strength in depth to the squad over the coming weeks.

Brendan Rodgers

Speaking after the Reds 3-1 victory over Manchester City on penalties following a 2-2 draw in New York, the boss said: “We still have some positions that we want to fill within the squad so that by the end of August we have a strong group of players to go forward with. We’ve still got some business to do.

Gerrard: This has been the worst period of my life


Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard admits the last three months have been ‘the worst period of my life’, but has vowed to bounce back when the 2014-15 season kicks off. The 34-year-old cruelly missed out on the Premier League title, when a slip gifted Chelsea a crucial goal in the 2-0 defeat at Anfield.

Gerrard then led England through a desperately disappointing World Cup campaign, in which the Three Lions failed to qualify from their World Cup group for the first time since 1958. Nightmare moment - Crystal Palace 3-3 Liverpool Gerrard has since retired from international football in order to focus entirely on his club commitments, and says he hopes to bounce back from the disappointment of the past three months when the new season kicks off.

“It’s probably been the worst three months of my life,” Gerrard admitted when questioned on the slip against Chelsea.

“I’ve seen it a few times. I don’t have to watch something like that to go through the pain again and again and again.

“I’ve been through the pain in the dressing room after and in the weeks and months since. I just stumbled across it. It didn’t hide away. I have TVs in my house and I read papers. There is social media.

“When something like that happens you have to face it up and be man enough to take it on the chin. Accept it happened. You can’t change it. I haven’t lost my man at a set-piece. I haven’t missed a penalty. I haven’t made a bad pass or a mistake. That’s why it was cruel. Every single person on the planet slips at some point in their life, whether it is on a set of stairs, on the floor or whatever.

“For me, it happened on the pitch at a really bad moment. But over the course of 38 games a lot happens for you and against you and that determines whether you win the league or not. That moment happened at a crucial time and I have to face that. And I will do.”

Gerrard remains adamant he will bounce back from the disappointment of the past three months, claiming he does not need any inspiration to finish his Liverpool career on a high.

“I don’t need something like that to inspire me. When I have had unbelievable highs for the club, it wasn’t because I was inspired by a mistake. You have to go through tough times. Unfortunately I have had that tough time at club level at the end of the season and then I have gone into a World Cup hoping that it was going to go really well to help me get over it.

“But it backfired. I have had two massive, unbelievable lows in a short space of time, so it is a good test for me this season. Can I hit form after that? I believe that I can.

“Of course it is tough to take but you have to move on sharpish. We have to try to win the league, progress in the Champions League. There are massive games to look forward to.

“When you’re the captain, you can’t afford to be down, feel sorry for yourself and mope around. Everyone in this group looks to me to see what mood I’m in, so I have to shake it off quick. Every time I speak to the media it’s going to be mentioned. I appreciate how big it is when you go out the World Cup and when you fall short after going close to the title. The level I play means it can be a cruel game.

“It’s not always going to be celebrations, smiles and highs. There are always going to be heartbreaks and disappointments and the last three months have been a massive disappointment. At 34, there is no way I am going to let the last three months be the things I remember. It’s important to finish on a high.”

Rodgers: Don’t compare us to Tottenham

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


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


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


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


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


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.