Suarez pens new Liverpool contract

Luis Suarez

Luis Suarez has signed a record-breaking new contract, committing his long-term future to Liverpool.

Luis SuarezThe Uruguayan has been in excellent form since returning from suspension earlier this season, and the club has moved swiftly to reward Suarez for his run of fine performances. The club will also hope that the new deal will put off any potential suitors for the forward’s services.

Suarez is set to become the highest paid player in the club’s history, with the new deal believed to be worth around £200k per week.

An announcement on the official club website made no reference to either the length of the deal or whether any sort of exit clause is included – the second a pertinent question considering some of the claims made by the player and his representatives over the summer.

Suarez seemed set on leaving Liverpool during the last transfer window, but there was no sign of such feelings as he spoke to the club’s media team on penning his new deal.

“I am delighted to have agreed a new deal with Liverpool and have my future secured for the long term,” he said.

“We have some great players and the team is growing and improving all the time. I believe I can achieve the ambitions of winning trophies and playing at the very highest level with Liverpool. My aim is to help get us there as quickly as possible.

“Without doubt the backing I have received from the Liverpool fans has influenced my decision. I am so proud to represent them and go out to do my best for them every time I pull on the shirt.

“We have a special relationship; they have love for me and in return I love them back. I will always do my best for them and hopefully we can achieve success together.”

Spurs 0 – 5 Liverpool


Liverpool went back to second place in the Premier League table with a resounding 5-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane.

With Steven Gerrard missing through injury and vice-captain Daniel Agger only making the bench, the captain’s armband was handed to Luis Suarez for the day – and whilst some may argue with the decision to have him skipper the side there is no doubting that he dazzled in the role.

Liverpool’s first opportunity to take the lead came in the first minute, as Suarez played Philippe Coutinho through, but the Brazilian was unable to adjust himself quickly enough and snatched at his shot.

This set the trend for the early exchanges, with Raheem Sterling in particular proving to be a thorn in the side of the Spurs defence.

The breakthrough came on 18 minutes. Suarez received the ball from Sterling before playing it on to Jordan Henderson. Suarez was quickest to Henderson’s return ball, and coolly side-footed past Hugo Lloris to open the scoring.

The game continued along the same lines, with Liverpool asking all the questions and Tottenham rarely coming up with any sort of response.

It seemed only a matter of time before the Reds scored a second, and they duly obliged with five minutes of the first half remaining. Henderson was played through by Coutinho, but found himself thwarted by Lloris. The Spurs stopped then did well to keep out an effort from Suarez from the rebound, but could do nothing about the third bite at the cherry from Henderson, who coolly volleyed home to double Liverpool’s lead.

Roberto Soldado did manage to put the ball in the back of the net shortly before the half-time whistle, but was correctly adjudged to have fouled Simon Mignolet in the build-up.

Tottenham started after the interval in a much better fashion, and put the Liverpool defence under pressure early in the second half. Not that the visitors were sitting back themselves though, with Sakho hitting the post and Skrtel firing a shot over the bar that may well have resulted in a goal had it fallen to an attacking player.

Any hopes the home side had of a comeback were dealt a blow on 62 minutes though, as Paulinho was dismissed for an incident that resulted in his foot striking Suarez in the chest. The player will no doubt protest his innocence, but replays appeared to show a clear movement of the foot in the direction of the Uruguayan.

The Reds had no doubt been the better side in the clash, but Spurs had shown signs up to that point that they weren’t to be taken lightly. The red card seem to knock the last of the fight out of the North London side though, and the game was pretty much one-way traffic from that point onwards.

Liverpool could smell blood, and were in no way content to settle for just the two goal victory. They continued to probe and a third goal came on 74 minutes. Henderson looked like he was getting shut out down the right flank before playing a sublime backheeled nutmeg to Suarez. The captain for the day sent a cross to the back post, where Jon Flanagan was on hand to fire in a powerful volley which rattled the crossbar on the way in.

The Spurs defence looked in disarray, and and nine minutes later they suffered further humiliation as Suarez lobbed a the ball over the onrushing Lloris to make it 4-0.

There was still time for one more – as Suarez turned provider to play through Sterling for a fifth goal – and there was even a chance for a sixth in injury time which went begging.

Shortly after this final chance the final whistle went to confirm a resounding victory for Liverpool which puts them in touching distance of league leaders Arsenal once more, and sends out a clear message to their rivals.

Sakho looking for regular place


French defender Mamadou Sakho is looking to continue his development at Liverpool and wants to nail down a regular starting berth in the first team.

sakhoThe Summer signing from Paris Saint-Germain scored his first Reds goal on Saturday against West Ham at Anfield and is hoping to keep impressing the manager.

The French international, who recently scored to help his country qualify for the World Cup, understands that competition is strong at the club in the centre of defence, but believes that he can put in the hard work to help the club towards its targets.

“There is competition, but the most important thing is that all the players make themselves ready and available for the group, help the team to grow and help Liverpool get back onto the European stage.” he said.

“That said, of course I’m working really hard to earn my place in the side, like every player. It’s been going well up to now.”

Rodgers looking for signings in January


Brendan Rodgers is looking for signings in January – but not just additions, he wants quality players who can come into the squad and make quick impacts for the team.

RodgersLiverpool signed Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho in the January transfer window last season and both players made immediate impacts on the team and have continued to be important players for the Northern Irishman.

“It’s not just about getting the players. It’s about who is available, who can improve you. We did some remarkable business last January by bringing in Coutinho and Sturridge.” he said.

“What I do know is that if there is a player or players out there who will improve our team, the owners will support that. They have been outstanding for me. It just depends on the availability of the right type of player. That has to be a player who can come into the team and improve us.” he concluded.

Rodgers wants less mistakes


Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has told his players to cut out the mistakes ahead of the crunch Premiership trip to face Tottenham at White Hart Lane on Sunday.

rodclarHe has seen his side score four or more goals in his last four home games, but the away form hasn’t been as good – and nor has the ability to keep clean sheets with just one in the last twelve.

“We’ve made mistakes, we own up to that. We’ve made mistakes defensively and that has cost us goals and some of them have been cheap goals.” he said.

“But it’s been swings and roundabouts, really. We started the season with three 1-0 wins and people spoke about our lack of goals. And I think that’s one thing you can’t level at this team. But now they are scoring goals, it’s the clean sheets. So as long as we’re winning games, I’m happy.

“Of course, we always want to be perfect, score many goals and keep clean sheets. And certainly in these types of games [against Tottenham], when it’s going to be tight and you’re not going to run away and score lots of goals, you then have to make sure you don’t make mistakes.”

Can Joe Allen rise to the challenge?

Joe Allen
Joe Allen was a key player for Brendan Rodgers at Swansea, but has failed to make a similar impact so far at Liverpool.

Joe Allen is a player who showed bags of promise upon his arrival at Liverpool FC. Integral to Brendan Rodgers’ successful spell as Swansea manager, the Carmarthen born midfielder was considered by some to be the next great Welsh prospect along with countryman Gareth Bale.

Rodgers midfield maestro at Swansea, Allen’s successful combination with fellow central midfielder Leon Britton was one that ensured Swansea’s ‘Tiki-Taka’ high-possession strategy was extremely fruitful for the club. Under Rodgers’ stewardship The Swans finished 11th in the table, an impressive position for a team newly promoted.

Joe Allen
Joe Allen was a key player for Brendan Rodgers at Swansea, but has failed to make a similar impact so far at Liverpool.

This position was in no small part due to Allen’s incredibly high pass accuracy. In his final season, after attempting over 1500 passes it was shown that Allen had successfully completed 91% of these, only being edged as the best passer in the league by Leon Britton who managed a 93% pass success rate.

Moreover it was clear that although small in stature, Allen did not shirk from the prospect of a challenge. Again in his final season at Swansea he was third in the player standings for attempted tackles getting stuck in 110 times and successfully winning the ball 75% of the time.

This was the type of player from old the Liverpool faithful were crying out for, stylish and efficient in possession but combative, determined and hard. So it was with great expectation that Allen, the midfielder who The Swansea Faithful and Rodgers himself had dubbed ‘The Welsh Xavi’ followed Rodgers to Liverpool when the manager took the reigns at the club.

Allen’s initial taste of life playing for the famous reds was one of success. In his second league start for Liverpool against Manchester City he was voted Man Of The Match on the official Liverpool website. Furthermore, Allen continued this vein of form going on to capture the club’s player of the month accolade for August.

All seemed to be well for Joe Allen, but then his form slumped. Dramatically. Or so the Liverpool fans thought. Although his pass accuracy was relatively the same from his days at Swansea (90%) and his final third accuracy was down from 81% to 85% he was still just about living up to his impressive standards from his Swansea days.

So what was it the Liverpool Faithful were badgering him about? To be sure, I don’t think it can be quantified. Some would say his passion or enthusiasm wasn’t there and he wasn’t driving the team from midfield. All valid opinions, but there was no real evidence to substantiate this.

Remember though, Liverpool fans have been known to sometimes unfairly criticise players when fortunes aren’t good. Lucas Leiva is the name that comes quickest to my mind and now he is lauded as fan favourite. It is also vital to remember that Allen’s injury to his shoulder was kept quiet from the fans for many months until it was impossible for him to play. This could also have been a factor in some of his poorer performances last season.

We can go over past mistakes as often as we like, but it is what the player does going forward from now that is most important – and Joe Allen has been gifted with a golden opportunity to win back the affections of some fans. Liverpool are in somewhat of an injury crisis with Steven Gerrard ruled out for 10 weeks and Jordan Henderson being reported to have left hospital in a protective boot last week. The scene is set.

It appears that Allen will get some playing time over the coming month or two, but with fierce competition for a starting slot in midfield the Welshman will need to impress to retain his place. So can he get back to his best? Let’s go to the stats.

Last weekend Liverpool made it two high scoring wins in a row, following on from their 5-1 rout at Norwich by beating West Ham 4-1. Luis Suarez – as usual – was the main talking point in these games with his genius continuing to amaze football experts across the globe. But, it is Allen’s performance in the West Ham game which I want to focus on. It did not go unnoticed by many keeping a keen eye on the game and rightly so.

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Kelly looking to make his mark


Liverpool and England defender Martin Kelly has stated his intention to make a return to the Liverpool starting lineup in the coming weeks.

kellyThe academy graduate has been a fringe player for some time now after a troubled spell of injuries, but he’s looking to put that behind him and get back to regular first team action.

“I’ve been working hard and I feel a lot fitter than back in pre-season,” he said.

“I don’t think there’s been a mental barrier to get through as such, it’s more about not feeling as sharp as I wanted. Ask anyone who has had a long-term injury and they’ll tell you it’s tough to get back to that level you were at before the injury. It takes time and it comes back slowly. Now I’m back nearly to peak fitness and I’m ready to go.”

Kelly made his latest appearance as a late substitute for fellow academy product Jon Flanagan against West Ham at Anfield on Saturday – in a left-back role, which is somewhere he has not featured before in the first team. But he was happy just to be back on the pitch and says that he will readily slot in anywhere across the backline.

“I’m happy playing anywhere across the back four for Liverpool,” he said.

“I’ll just concentrate on my own fitness and do all the extra work I can. It’s a case of biding my time, being patient and making sure that when the manager gives me another opportunity I am ready to take it.”

Suarez awarded goal

Luis Suarez

suarezLiverpool striker Luis Suarez has been awarded an extra goal by the Premier League’s Dubious Goals Panel.

The last goal in the 4-1 win over West Ham on Saturday had initially been put down as an own goal by Hammers’ defender Joey O’Brien.

The strike going under Suarez’s name now means that he has scored fifteen times in just ten Premiership outings after missing the first five league games of the season.

Gerrard set to miss festive period


gerrardLiverpool captain Steven Gerrard will be out for at least four weeks, after picking up a hamstring injury in the 4-1 Premiership win over West Ham at Anfield on Saturday.

A scan can to take a closer look at problem was carried undertaken this week and the club has now confirmed that Gerrard will miss the club’s busy Christmas period, joining Daniel Sturridge and Jose Enrique on the sidelines.

Liverpool are set to face their toughest run of fixtures so far this season in coming weeks with tough trips to face Tottenham, Manchester City and Chelsea on the horizon.

Liverpool 4 – 1 West Ham


Liverpool made it ten goals in the space of a week as they ran out 4-1 winners over West Ham at Anfield. The victory sees them move back to second place in the Premier League table at the expense of Chelsea.

Daniel Agger missed the match through illness and was replaced by Mamadou Sakho, but aside from that Brendan Rodgers named an unchanged side from the one that had beaten Norwich so convincingly in midweek.

As was expected the visitors appeared to be content to play for a draw, and the Reds struggled to break down the West Ham defence in the early exchanges.

As the game went on though the Liverpool front line managed to find more and more holes in their opponents back line, some of the finishing on show left a little to be desired though.

West Ham’s best chance of the half came when Matt Jarvis crossed to Modibo Maiga, who was perfectly positioned to score. Simon Mignolet in the Liverpool goal showed great reactions though, and got a hand out to palm away the forward’s header.

The breakthrough finally did come for the Reds a few minutes before the half-time break. Luis Suarez managed to get a shot away which Jussi Jaaskelainen was able to get down to, but the keeper’s deflection then bounced off the legs of Guy Demel and into the back of the net.

Liverpool continued to push forwards after the break, in search of a second goal to put breathing space between them and their opponents. Two minutes of play was all it took, as Sakho met Steven Gerrard’s free kick at the far post. The defender’s touch was already looping into the goal, but was helped on it’s way by an attempted clearance from James Collins.

It appeared to be game over as West Ham found themselves pegged back in their own half as the home side went on the offensive, but they were gifted a way back into the game by Martin Skrtel – who miscued his overhead clearance to put the ball into his own net.

Any hope the travelling fans had of a comeback promptly disappeared 15 minutes later though, as Liverpool regained their two-goal advantage. An excellent cross from Glen Johnson was met at the back post by Suarez, who firmly headed home to score his 14th goal of the season.

Things went form bad to worse for West Ham, as Kevin Nolan saw red for a challenge on Jordan Henderson that was as unnecessary as it was vicious.

And there was still time for one more goal to round off the proceedings. Suarez showed clever footwork on the edge of the box to create space for himself before hitting a shot that took a looping deflection off Joey O’Brien, leaving Jaaskelainen helpless as the ball sailed into the opposite corner.

Even with the game well and truly won Liverpool still didn’t rest on their laurels, but there was to be no repeat of the 5-1 scoreline from midweek. Shortly after the final whistle news came through that Chelsea had lost to Stoke, confirming a return to second place in the league for the Reds.