Liverpool 4 – 2 Notts County (AET)

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Liverpool suffered a scare at Anfield, giving up a two goal lead over Notts County before sealing victory with a pair of extra-time strikes from Daniel Sturridge & Jordan Henderson.


Raheem Sterling and Sturridge looked to have wrapped the game up in the first half for the Reds, but in the end they were unable to get the job done in 90 minutes – something that was clearly a priority for Brendan Rodgers ahead of the visit of Manchester United this weekend.

Aly Cissokho and Luis Alberto made their competitive starts in a strong Liverpool lineup which also included Sturridge, Steven Gerrard, and Glen Johnson.

It didn’t take long for Liverpool to make their mark – Sterling darting past several defenders before firing past Bartosz Bialkowski after just four minutes to give his side the lead.

A good start was dampened slightly shortly after the goal, with Cissokho seeing his full debut cut short by injury and being replaced by Daniel Agger.

Liverpool doubled their lead shortly before the half-hour mark. Gerrard cut the Notts County open with a pinpoint ball to Sturridge who controlled well before firing his shot into the far corner.

With the result seemingly in the bag the Reds looked confident, and could have extended their lead further before the break were it not for the woodwork and some good saves by Bialkowski.

The start of the second half saw a slightly more conservative approach from Liverpool – no doubt with Sunday’s clash in the back of some players minds. Despite the lower tempo though the Reds still looked firmly in control, until the visitors picked up a free kick.


The ball was floated in and Manny Smith nodded ball back across the face of goal to Arquin, who powered his header past Simon Mignolet to halve Liverpool’s lead.

There didn’t appear to be too much to panic about for the home fans though, as their side continued to play much of the game in the opposition half.

Perhaps though the Liverpool defence got too confident, as the visitors managed to net a second to bring the scores level with the 90 minutes drawing to a close.

Arquin squeezed his way behind the Liverpool defence before laying the ball back for substitute Adam Coombes, who coolly slotted home to send the visiting fans into a frenzy.

The Reds pushed forward following the equaliser, but despite both Agger and Sterling going close were unable to find a third goal before the ref blew for full time.

Following the earlier injuries to Cissokho and Joe Allen, Kolo Toure was the third Liverpool player of the evening to have his game cut short. Having already used up their three substitutions, the Reds were forced to see out the rest of the tie with 10 men.

Despite the numerical disadvantage, Sturridge sent his side back into the lead with his second goal of the evening right at the end of the first half of extra time.

Philippe Coutinho – on as a second half sub – found Sturridge unmarked in a good position. Bialkowski got a hand to the striker’s shot, but could only watch as the ball trickled over the line thanks to the power behind the strike.

The result was confirmed five minutes into the second period of extra time, when Henderson nutmegged Gary Liddle before slotting home to ensure embarrassment was averted.


Aston Villa 0 – 1 Liverpool

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Sturridge maintains 100% record
Well i think everyone was expecting a tough game with Villa already beating Arsenal and putting up a strong fight against Chelsea.  As expected Liverpool fielded an unchanged team with Aspas continuing up front wtih Sturridge and Coutinho,  Cissokho starting from the bench after completing his loan move earlier in the week.  Villa had Benteke starting who was already proving a handful after a great start to his campaign.

Liverpool made a bright start and were spraying the ball round with confidence without creating any real chances.  Villa looked nervous and struggled to retain the ball.  Liverpool make the break through on 20 minutes.  Enrique crossed a low ball, Coutinho dummies into Sturridge path.  He had a lot to do, beat one man, then took it round the keeper stabbing it high into the net from a tight angle, what a finish.  Liverpool were now looking very sharp and playing with a purpose – crisp passing and good movement.  Some nice crisp passing almost released Sturridge again on 30 minutes but the goalkeeper pushed out and smothered the ball.

Villa pushed on towards the end of the half and Bacuna cut inside Agger and looked to shoot but Toure came across and produced an excellent block. On the resulting corner the ball bobbled around the box and Benteke turned quickly and looked to curl one to the far post by Mignolget produced a good diving save.  The keeper was still looking shaky on corners but you can’t criticise his shot stopping.


Second half started much the same as the first with Liverpool on top.  Sturridge nearly broke free but his cross was cut out and the resulting corner left Agger with a hurt head after he challenged with the keeper.  Villa were still in the game though and Aspas conceded a needless free kick but Acuna didn’t get it over the wall.  Villa were much better but were still struggling to hold Liverpool or create any real chances.  Liverpool give a debut to Sissoko as Aspas made way.  Benteke rose well at a corner but could only direct his header wide as Villa grew into the game more.  Wieman also headed wide from distance as Villa continued to ask questions.

Agbanglor struck a snap shoot which went wide but was probably Villa’s best change.  Allen came on for Liverpool as they look to see at the game.  Villa continued to have a lot of possession and Tonev hit a good strike but Mignolet had it covered and made a routine save,  Villa were pushing now and a good header through sore Benteke clean through and hits a strong shot which Mignolet gets a hand too with another excellent save.

Agger happy at Anfield

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Daniel Agger has committed his future to the club after speculation linking Barcelona with a move for the defender.

Barcelona head coach Gerardo Martino has said that he has postponed his search for a defender until January as he seeks cover for Carles Puyol, who is now 35 and prone to injury.

“I know what the club was doing before I came here and what they wanted, even with Tito here.” said the Argentinian.

agger“What I say is that as long as (Carles) Puyol is fine – and he will be because his recovery is going well – with Gerard Pique, Javier Mascherano, Marc Bartra, Adriano or Sergio Busquets as centre-backs, we are fine.


“If we have an injury, there is always the winter transfer window.” he concluded.

 

Agger has been the subject of transfer speculation all summer, with online betting websites at one point listing the player as odds-on to leave Anfield. The player has now ruled himself out a move to Spain – for the meantime at least.

“It is clear that the club is a big club, but never thought to leave Liverpool, unless I wanted to sell,” Agger told Spanish paper Sport.

“Persons, officials and players are an integral part of my life. I have YNWA  tattooed on my fist.” he said.

Liverpool sign Cissokho

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Aly Cissokho today joined Liverpool on a season-long loan switch from La Liga club Valencia.

Cissokho has garnered a great deal of Champions League experience playing for Porto, Lyon and Valencia and will be hoping to help his new club into the competition.

“I feel extremely proud to be here and I’m proud of all the hard work I’ve put in so far throughout my career,” he told Liverpoolfc.com

ac“I’ve always dreamt of one day signing for a really legendary club. I’ve been lucky enough to play for a few top sides and so to now get the chance to play for a club like Liverpool, it’s just fantastic.

“I’ve always said, along with a lot of other French players, that I really love the English league, and although I’ve been fortunate enough to have played at some big clubs, in the back of my mind, I’ve always wanted to play in England.

“It’s really pleasing when a club like Liverpool shows interest in you, and when that interest becomes more serious, you really can’t wait for the move to go through. Now that the transfer has been completed, I’m really happy.

“I hope to feature in as many games as possible, I know it’s going to be quite tough and I need to get to work as soon as possible as pre-season is over and we are into the league programme.

“I was fortunate enough to play at Anfield and it was a really special occasion for me. I have some great memories of that night. Although it was us that grabbed the win, it still remains a good memory.

“We’d been preparing for that game for four or five days before, on the outskirts of Liverpool at a golf hotel in Formby and, of course, a game against Liverpool at Anfield was something special for myself and the whole team.

“Although we knew it was going to be tough, we managed to win, and so that made it an even bigger occasion for us, as did the special atmosphere of the crowd – so typical of England and especially Liverpool.

“The Champions League is a competition that you dream of taking part in and I think that a club like Liverpool richly deserves to be involved in it because of the quality of its players and the atmosphere and quality of its stadium.

“Champions League nights at Liverpool are the kind of games that are really special for the players in any away team coming to Anfield, and that’s why Liverpool very much deserve to be a part of that competition.”

Liverpool 1 – 0 Stoke City

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Liverpool got their 2013/14 Premier League campaign off to a winning start thanks to a Daniel Sturridge strike, but it is new goalkeeper Simon Mignolet who is likely to be most talked about in the aftermath of this fixture thanks to a penalty save on his full debut that ensured his side collected all three points.

Brendan Rodgers named three new signings in his first starting XI of the season – Mignolet, Kolo Toure and Iago Aspas. It had been questioned if Sturridge would be fit enough to start this game but the England forward was indeed selected to spearhead the Liverpool attack.

The Reds started brightly, and spent the opening 5 minutes of the game camped in the Stoke half. A succession of chances from Aspas, Jose Enrique and Philippe Coutinho meant Stoke ‘keeper Asmir Begovic needed to be at his very best to keep his side in contention.

Despite the early one-way traffic it was the visitors who first came close to breaking the deadlock, with Robert Huth’s fierce drive cannoning back off the crossbar after Mignolet had failed to deal with Peter Crouch’s header.

Huth’s shot will have reminded the Reds not to get complacent, but following the temporary glimmer of hope for Stoke the home domination continued, and it seemed only a matter of time before the Reds had the lead.

The goal did come in the 35th minute, courtesy of a left-footed Sturridge strike which caught Begovic short-footed.

Sturridge scores against Stoke
Daniel Sturridge opens the scoring for Liverpool

The Stoke goalkeeper had done exceptionally well to keep his side in the game up until that point, but when Jordan Henderson found Sturridge unchallenged outside the box the forward was able to get his shot away without giving his opponent any time to react.

The first half ended with a surge from Stoke that had a few home fans worried, but the Reds were able to see out the opening 45 minutes with their lead intact.

The second half started in pretty much the same vein as the first, with Liverpool fastest out of the blocks. Coutinho, Aspas and Sturridge were combining well and looked a threat every time they broke forward.

For all their dominance though it was still only a one goal lead that the Reds held, and despite their best efforts the result still hung in the balance coming into the closing exchanges of the game.

With three minutes left on the clock, their failure to score a second goal looked to have come back to haunt them, as Stoke were awarded a penalty following a handball from Daniel Agger.

The new Liverpool vice-captain could have few complaints as replays showed he clearly led with his arm, and the majority of Anfield held their breath as Jon Walters placed the ball on the spot and began his run-up.

Mignolet though was able to make himself an instant hero at Anfield, first saving the spot-kick at full stretch before keeping out the rebound with his body seconds later.

The Belgian stopper’s heroics seemed to knock the last bit of fight out of Mark Hughes’ men, and a triumphant Kop burst into song to see out the remaining minutes.

Referee Martin Atkinson blew for full time shortly after to confirm Liverpool’s first winning start to a Premier League campaign for five years.

Glen Driscoll on TRX Training & LFC’s Best Ever Shape

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Glen Driscoll has spoken of his confidence that Liverpool FC will return to action later this year in the best shape they’ve ever been in. With pre-season training having already kicked-off at Melwood, players have faced intensive double-sessions almost every day which include exceptionally challenging and effective TRX workouts.

Head of Performance Driscoll is so far extremely encouraged by the progress the team has made and says he cannot wait for the August 17th home game with Stoke City, officially kicking off Liverpool’s new campaign for Premiership glory.

glen_driscoll“These days players do look after themselves when they’re away from the club and we’ve probably come back better than we did last season for a number of reasons,” Driscoll beamed this week.

“It always helps when you’ve got a manager in place and the targets we set at the end of last season have to be adhered to.

“The players get back and they have to make sure they’re within the targets we set them, otherwise they have extra sessions in order to do so. There’s always an incentive for them to come back in good shape.

“The whole point of pre-season is to get the players able to cope with 90 minutes of football without injury – and that’s why we do doubles (training sessions). It enables us to increase the volume and modify the intensity so we can get them fast-tracked into achieving that fitness.

“The reason we want to get them to that level of fitness and able to hit 90 minutes of football as quick as possible is because, by the time the season starts, we want them on a rhythm of games.  So, come Stoke, it’ll be like their fourth game – and then we’re up and running.”

While it’s common knowledge that Driscoll teams up with medical experts and scientists to create unique workout regimes for each player, the Liverpool team as a whole is put through its paces with TRX.

TRX is essentially a concentrated and high-intensity form of training that helps build massive core strength and the kind of stamina needed for players to go the full 90 in high gear. The use of unique positions and movements has been found to deliver truly explosive results, while at the same time improving flexibility and significantly lowering the risk of common football related injuries.

What makes TRX a universally appropriate training method for Liverpool FC is the way in which routines and exercises are 100% scalable. This means that TRX fits in perfectly with the tailored training programs each and every player is given and allows for precise monitoring of performance and improvements as training progresses.

And what makes the TRX system such an excellent choice for amateur and professionals footballers alike is the way in which it is extremely lightweight and portable and any personal trainer in Liverpool can easily adopt it. There are no heavy weights to carry and no specific anchor points needed to use the straps and harnesses – all players can continues their intense workout regimes no matter where they may be called to travel.

You can find out more about TRX training and other techniques used by the LFC squad at Tim Hayes Lifestyle Fitness.

Downing leaves for West Ham

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Liverpool Football Club has today confirmed that Stewart Downing has left to join West Ham United on a four year contract after completing his medical and signing the deal.

downing3The 29 year old former England international signed from Aston Villa for £20m in the Summer of 2011 and leaves for a fraction of that figure with a £6m fee being reported as the price tag for his services.

Downing played in ninety-one games for the club and scored seven goals during that time. He famously failed to contribute a single goal or assist in his first Premiership season with the club.

The highlight of his time at Anfield is the League Cup final of 2012 where Downing was named man of the match and scored a penalty in the shootout, helping the club to lift the trophy.

He will link up with former team-mates Andy Carroll and Joe Cole, who have both also signed for West Ham this year.

Downing set for West Ham move

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downing2It is being reported this morning that Stewart Downing is undergoing at medical with fellow Premiership side West Ham United after a fee, said to be around £5m, was agreed with the club.

Downing has struggled to make an impact at Anfield since arriving from Aston Villa for £20m in the Summer of 2011 as one of Kenny Dalglish’s signings – and he will join another in Andy Carroll should he complete his switch. He would link up with two other former Reds at Upton Park in Joe Cole and Alou Diarra.

Downing notably failed to notch a single goal or assist in the Premiership in his first season with Liverpool, but he managed a total of seven goals in all competitions in his two seasons with the club.

Agger interested in Barcelona move?

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Daniel Agger’s agent has confirmed that Barcelona are interested in his client – and the defender could be interested in making a switch to Spain.

“We are aware that Barcelona have made an offer for Daniel that Liverpool have rejected. Daniel has a contract with Liverpool for three years and it would be up to the clubs to agree a fee for his transfer in order for that to change,” Per Steffensen said.

It has been reported by The Guardian that the Spanish champions have made an offer of just under £15m, which has been rejected by Liverpool – but they are expected to come back with an increased bid.

The Spanish side are desperate to sign a centre back this Summer with club captain Carles Puyol now 35 and suffering more frequently with injury. Gerard Pique, Puyol’s usual partner, is their only other established centre-back with former Red Javier Mascherano, Adriano and Sergio Busquets often required to fill in. Marc Muniesa has recently transferred to Stoke City.

aggerNew Barcelona coach Gerardo Martino has prioritised signing a central defender and has reportedly seen a £35m offer for Chelsea’s Brazilian stopper David Luiz rejected – and Agger is seen as a more realistic target by the Camp Nou hierarchy.

Brendan Rodgers, who last week appointed Agger as vice captain, expects the Dane to remain loyal to the club.

“This is all about loyalty. He’s obviously a world-class defender. Daniel is very committed to Liverpool; he’s one of the players that have really impressed me. If we’re talking about loyalty, he was one of the first players that I spoke to when I became the manager,” he said.

“At the time, there were a number of big clubs looking to sign Daniel. But he gave me his word that for as long as I wanted him to be at Liverpool, he would be at Liverpool. He has never swayed from that,” he added.

Rodgers looking to fix Suarez situation

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Brendan Rodgers has said that he will do what he can to fix the situation between the club and wantaway striker Luis Suarez.

The Uruguay international has been training with the reserves and alone since publicly admitting that he wants to leave Anfield and move to a Champions League club, with Arsenal having two bids rejected. He has also claimed that the club have gone back on their word that he could leave this Summer after they failed to qualify for the Champions League themselves.

lsRodgers has taken a hard line approach to Suarez and has publicly demanded an apology from the striker, something the 26 year old is reportedly refusing to do.

But the Liverpool manager seems to be patient in waiting for Suarez to come round to the idea that he will not be allowed to leave Anfield this Summer.

“It is something that we have to do everything we can to fix,” Rodgers told Liverpoolfc.com

“If we have got to sit and wait, then so be it. But this is a club that has got great values, and we hope that the situation can be resolved amicably, and I am sure it will be.

“There has been a lot said and a lot reported, and we have made a stance, as a club and as a manager, of the commitment and the standards required.

“If you don’t have that commitment and those standards then you won’t play. It’s as simple as that.

“There’s no problem between me and him, it is quite calm. But obviously I have got to respect the club and the team.

“It doesn’t matter who you are, if they’re not pulling their weight then they are letting down the club, the city and everyone who has stood by them.

“So until I get that assurance that we are going to get nothing but 100 per cent commitment, then there will be no solution.”