Fowler excited by in form Reds

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Liverpool legend Robbie Fowler believes the Reds exciting brand of attacking football means they thoroughly deserve their second place position in the Barclays Premier League.


The Reds go into the final nine games of the season four points behind leaders Chelsea with a game in hand, and Fowler believes the form shown by Brendan Rodgers side has reason for supporters to get excited.

Coutinho


“At the start of the season Liverpool’s aim was to get into the top four,” said the 38-year-old.

“That was always going to be tough because the squad’s not as [deep] as a lot of the teams in the Premier League. I hope I’m right in saying this but I think they’re nailed on for a Champions League [spot].

“They deserve to be there. At the time now, they are second in the league, they are not lucky, they are there on merit and they’ve been exciting and they’re good to watch this year.

“It’s going to be tough because Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal are all good sides and potentially got bigger and better squads but Liverpool are there on merit and I don’t see any reason why they can’t win it. It will be tough but they have as good a chance as anyone else.”


Reds coach warns nothing has been achieved yet

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Liverpool coach Mike Marsh has called on the team to remain focused for the final nine games of the season, warning that nothing has been achieved yet.

The Reds have surpassed expectations this season, and currently occupy second place in the Premier League, trailing leaders Chelsea by four points with a game in hand.

Steven Gerrard

Liverpool also lead fifth placed Tottenham by nine points and also have a game in hand, meaning they look strong favourites to achieve a top four finish – the primary target set out at the start of the season.

“We haven’t achieved anything yet,” he told the Liverpool Echo. “We have nine games to go and are in the Champions League places.


“It has been well documented that we started the season wanting to finish in the top four and we are in with a shout of that. Anything more than a top-four finish would be a bonus.

“We are taking each game as it comes and just trying to win every game.

“We have nine games left and are trying to get as many points as we can and see where that takes us. Our goals haven’t changed since the start of the season.

“We are second with nine games to go and so are on course to get back in the Champions League; anything better than that would be fantastic.”

 

Sterling: I’m in the zone

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Raheem Sterling says he is focused and in the zone for the Reds remaining nine Premier League matches of the season.

The 19-year-old has been a first team regular since early December, and has thrived in for the Reds in an attacking role alongside Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge.

Sterling has also fired six Premier League goals this season, including a double in the recent 5-1 rout of Arsenal, which has further highlighted his progress.

Raheem Sterling

He explained: “When you train with players like Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez, it’s a bit nerve-wracking at first but you get used to it and start expressing yourself.

“I’m in that zone now where I can express myself and come out of my shell. I’m really settled and happy to be in the team.”

The England international was also keen to highlight the impact Brendan Rodgers has had on his game since taking charge of the Reds 18 months ago.

Sterling continued: “I’d say he has got me settled off the pitch and he’s made me realise that I’m here on merit because of what I’ve done in the youth team.


“He’s told me to do what I’ve been doing in the youth team and just be confident and get on the ball.”

Sterling delivered another fine performance during the Reds latest victory over Manchester United, although this time he featured at the tip of a diamond formation deployed by Rodgers, rather than out wide.

“Everyone is excited by the big win,” Sterling reflected, before lifting the lid on the positive atmosphere around the club.

“To go to Old Trafford and score three goals is great and we’re really happy with the performance, but the most important thing is to get the three points.

“It was a great atmosphere after the game in the changing room. Most games we try to attack but at the weekend we did what we need to do defensively and then counter-attacked.

“We try to take every game slowly. The United game we just wanted to try our best and get the three points.

“We will try to take it step by step and then hopefully we will be where we need to be at the end of the season – right up there at the top of the table.”

 

Rodgers: Gerrard is peerless

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Brendan Rodgers reserved special praise for captain Steven Gerrard following the Reds 3-0 win over Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday.

The Reds boss was delighted with another fine performance from his side, and a result which kept them firmly in the title race.

Brendan Rodgers

Gerrard put in a man of the match performance, striking two perfect penalties either side of half time, before hitting the woodwork with a third late on.

“It’s just a continuation of adjectives for Steven,” the Northern Irishman reflected.

“He’s a wonderful professional, peerless in many ways and an incredible captain for us. He’s just so focused and so calm under pressure. He was incredible.”

Rodgers continued: “It was a real team performance. The diamond in midfield worked tirelessly – Jordan Henderson and Joe Allen on the sides of the diamond blocking spaces, pressing and working, young Raheem [Sterling] playing at the top.

“The two guys up front speak for themselves, they’re a real threat. Maybe if we had shown that final pass a bit more, we could have had more goals. But it was an outstanding team performance and a great result.

“It confirms that we’re getting better and confirms that we can go to any arena. 2009 was the last time that Liverpool won here.

“I know that was a convincing performance that day, but this will be equally, if not more. The supporters really enjoyed that. It’s a great result; we just need to stay calm, stay focused and get ready for next weekend.”

 

 

Carra: That was twice as good as 2009

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Jamie Carragher has revealed he text Steven Gerrard in the aftermath of Sunday’s 3-0 over Manchester United at Old Trafford with the words: “Twice as good as 2009.”

Carragher was a part of the last Liverpool side to win at Old Trafford, as Rafael Benitez oversaw a 1-4 victory five years ago.

However, despite not being a part of Sunday’s win, Carragher was adamant the 3-0 victory over the Reds bitterest of rivals was even sweeter.

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“On my way home from White Hart Lane on Sunday evening, I sent Steven Gerrard a message as I do after most Liverpool games,” Carragher wrote in his column for the Daily Mail.

“Normally I’ll ask him how he felt the match went or for his views on any major talking points but this time, having watched Liverpool dismantle Manchester United, no questions needed answering. So I punched the words ‘Twice as good as 2009’ into my phone.

“I know what it is like to go to Old Trafford and win by three goals but I couldn’t tell you how it feels to go there, play United off the park and make them spend the last 10 minutes chasing shadows as Liverpool’s ecstatic fans shout ‘Ole!’ with each tormenting pass.

“When we won 4-1 in March 2009, the final score was a little distorted.

“Don’t get me wrong, our display was superb but we had to deal with spells of pressure, trailed to a Cristiano Ronaldo penalty and only pulled away in the last 13 minutes with two goals after Nemanja Vidic had been sent off.

“I remember the celebrations in the away end being raucous and we were delighted as we walked off the pitch, yet our elation was tempered.

“We were still four points behind United, having played a game more. We hoped we would win the title but they still held the upper hand.

“Sunday’s performance, however, was completely different. United may be an inferior side to the team they were five years ago but that should not detract one bit from what Liverpool did to them.

“The intent was there from the first kick and 6-0 at the final whistle wouldn’t have been flattering.”

Carragher also reckons Sunday’s win has established the Reds as genuine title contenders, and claims the likes of Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal will be nervous of Liverpool’s threat between now and the end of the season.

“What’s more, the impact of the result and performance will have been felt across Manchester at the Etihad Stadium, reaching Stamford Bridge and the Emirates Stadium in the process. Nobody will dare underestimate Liverpool now,” Carragher continued.

“Manuel Pellegrini, Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger will have looked at the two games Liverpool have just faced, away trips to United and Southampton, and probably expected them to return with, at best, four points.

“That they have come through them with six unanswered goals, maximum points and confidence soaring will be causing Pellegrini, Mourinho and Wenger concern. The more they get into this race, the more impressive Liverpool look.”

The 36-year-old also reserved praise for former manager Brendan Rodgers, who masterminded another fantastic victory over a bitter rival.

“Full credit to Brendan Rodgers, who is handling the situation supremely well. What you get with Brendan is exactly what you see.

“In his interviews and in the technical area, he never gets over-excited, always remaining in control.

“That’s what you want from a manager – focus and composure, a clear plan and unshakeable belief in his methods.

“He is a coach who thinks progressively, coaxing improvement from his players with encouragement and giving them opportunities.

“We get told constantly about the problems with the British game.

“How players can’t play the right way or retain possession, yet here is a British manager defying the critics and showing it is possible for young players to play with style and great technique.

“He has been repaid with consistent performances and increasingly impressive results and you only have to see how Jon Flanagan, Raheem Sterling and Jordan Henderson have come of age during this campaign, maturing from boys to men.”

 

 

 

Gerrard urges owners to offer Rodgers new deal

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Steven Gerrard has urged Liverpool’s owners to offer Brendan Rodgers a new contract as soon as possible.

The Reds boss is entering the final 12 months of his three-year-contract which he signed in the summer of 2012 when replacing Kenny Dalglish.

Although there is an option for a year extension in Rodgers current deal, Gerrard hopes Liverpool’s owners will reward the Northern Irishman for a season in which he has transformed the Reds into genuine title contenders.

Steven Gerrard

Rodgers insists he is happy to wait until the end of the season to open negotiations, so as not to provide a distraction to his teams title challenge, although Gerrard voiced his surprise at the fact the club have not already offered a new deal to a manager he described as the finest man-manager he has worked with in football.

The 33-year-old said: “I have been absolutely blown away by his sessions, his tactics and his maturity in the job and I am learning off him every single day.

“When you become an older player you look to see how the manager does certain things and he has been fantastic for myself personally. I am sure the rest of the players would echo what I am saying. I am absolutely delighted he is here and I just hope that there is a lot of movement now in Boston [home to FSG] because they have got to get him signed up as soon as possible.

When players are in this situation with a year to go and you want to keep hold of them so desperately, then the club reacts really quickly and gets it sorted. For me, I think he deserves a very long contract here and he is perfect for this club.”

Gerrard scored two penalties in a man of the match performance as the Reds recorded an impressive 3-0 win over Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday.

The Reds captain has flourished in a slightly deeper role during the second half of the season, and was full of praise for Rodgers tactical decisions.

“He has been a revelation,” Gerrard said.

“He keeps tweaking and tinkering with the formation and making little subtle changes to personnel and tactics, and it is coming off from week to week. He is a young coach who has been there and earned the right to be Liverpool manager. From week to week he is helping us improve and get better, and he has been an absolute breath of fresh air to this football club.

“He manages every single player differently, he knows we have different characters in the dressing room and his man-to-man, one-on-one management is the best I have known.

He makes you go out on the pitch feeling a million dollars with confidence and belief, and he is a very confident manager. When you play for Liverpool you have to accept pressure, you have to take it on the chin and perform. But when you have a manager who is making you feel good, but who is also not scared to give you a good one-on-one telling-off as well, then he has the perfect ingredients.”

The win at Old Trafford has left the Reds four points behind league leaders Chelsea with a game in hand, and Gerrard insists Liverpool are up for the fight for the remainder of the season.

Gerrard said: “As a team we have to keep making statements. A lot of the so-called experts questioned us before the United game. ‘Are we capable of coming to Manchester United and beating a good team – one that has been performing quite well of late besides the Olympiakos game?’

“I think we answered the question with flying colours. Not just that, but we were slightly disappointed it wasn’t a five- or six-goal thrashing because the way we performed from start to finish, with everybody in the team contributing, was magnificent.”

 

 

Gerrard hails Rodgers’ impact

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Reds captain Steven Gerrard has said that manager Brendan Rodgers is the “best man-manager he has ever worked with”.

rodgerRodgers, who joined from Swansea City in the Summer of 2012, is the sixth different manager Gerrard has played under for Liverpool.

“He has been a revelation,” said the skipper.

“He keeps tinkering and tweaking formations, making little changes to personnel and pulls it off.

“You go out feeling full of confidence and belief. His one-on-one management is the best I’ve known.”

Gerrard has also made his feelings about Rodgers’ contract situation clear by publicly stating that the club should offer the Northern Irishman a new deal as soon as possible – and on long terms.

“He is a young coach who has earned the right to become Liverpool manager and from week to week he is improving,” Gerrard added of the 41-year-old.

“We are absolutely delighted he is here and I just hope there is a lot of movement as we speak because they have got to get him signed up as soon as possible.”

Liverpool currently sit in second place in the Premiership table, four points behind Chelsea and with a home game against Sunderland in hand. Arsenal are level on points and games played with the Reds while Manchester City are two points back, but with two games in hand on Liverpool and three on Chelsea.

Liverpool face a trip to Cardiff City on Saturday as they bid to keep their title challenge on track.

Gerrard: We are title contenders

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Steven Gerrard confirmed Liverpool title contenders following the Reds 3-0 win over Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday.

The Reds skipper buried two penalties and hit the post with a third, as Liverpool moved back up to second place with a comfortable win over their bitter rivals.

Steven Gerrard

Liverpool now trail league leaders Chelsea by four points, with a home game against Sunderland in hand.

And Gerrard believes Liverpool have now firmly established themselves as title contenders.

“I’ve come here many times and been played off the park. They’re a fantastic team,” he told Sky Sports.

“This is one of the most difficult places to come in the Premier League so to come here and dominate from start to finish, we’re still going away slightly disappointed that we never got more goals.

“It’s a fantastic day personally, getting a couple of goals. We came here to win the game.

“I said before the game it’s difficult and we need to just take each game as they come and try and win them all.

“We’ll enjoy tonight. We need to move on very quickly because Cardiff’s going to be tough.

“I think we’ve shown today that we’re genuine contenders and we’re going to fight to the end for this.”

The 33-year-old was also keen to praise manager Brendan Rodgers, who made one tactical alteration from the 3-0 win at Southampton last time out, bringing in Raheem Sterling for Phillipe Coutinho.

“I think you’ve got to give credit to the manager,” Gerrard said. “He keeps switching it, tinkering with the formation and the tactics. We played a diamond today and totally bossed it in the middle of the park.

“When you come away from home you’ve got to keep the ball and dominate the middle of the pitch and we know if we do that, we’ve got two of the best strikers in the world to do the damage.

“I’m sure if you ask the Manchester United defenders today, I don’t think they’ve ever had a harder 90 minutes than that.”

Speaking of his three penalties, Gerrard added: “It was strange. I maybe got a little bit cocky with the third one but I was confident I was going to score and I’m very pleased with the two.”

Gerrard was keen to play down his teams title chances earlier in the season, but has now claimed the team have their sights set on a first league title since 1990.

“We believe it but I’ve said it many times, in football, the easiest thing is to talk the talk and we’ve got to go and treat Cardiff like Manchester United and then Sunderland like Manchester United,” he said.

“And if we do, we’ll win a lot of games between now and the end of the season so the rest of the people that are fighting for it with us have got to believe we’re going for it.”

 

Flanno: We have put down a marker

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Jon Flanagan reckons Liverpool’s title rivals will be worried after the Reds ‘put down a marker’ by beating Manchester United 3-0 at Old Trafford.

The Reds established themselves as genuine title contenders after closing the gap on league leaders Chelsea to just four points with a game in hand.

“I think they are going to be worried,” said the Liverpool full-back.

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“We put a marker down (at Old Trafford). I think we are ready to push on and keep going.

“We all believe but our priority was top four at the start of the season. We are on track for that and anything else is a bonus.

“It’s always good when you see other teams around us getting beat. We saw the Chelsea result (losing at Aston Villa on Saturday) but we just concentrate on ourselves.

“We are just taking it a game at a time and keeping our feet on the ground.”

Flanagan has been part of a back four that has now managed back-to-back clean sheets, having previously conceded five games in a row.

And the full back believes the change in fortunes at the back is all down to hard work on the training ground.

“All the lads are working hard,” added Flanagan.

“We have had a bit of criticism about our back four lately but we have been working hard in training and keeping it tight.

“To keep clean sheets has been great for us and hopefully we can keep many more.

“It’s not just the back four, it’s the whole team working hard in defending as well, so the manager has been working hard and we are just trying to put that in our game.”

Rodgers plays down title talk

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Brendan Rodgers remained keen to play down Liverpool’s title chances in the aftermath of the impressive 3-0 win over Manchester United at Old Trafford.

Two Steven Gerrard penalties and a Luis Suarez strike took the Reds back into second, within four points of leaders Chelsea, and with a game in hand.

Brendan Rodgers

But Rodgers was reluctant to discuss his sides title chances, insisting he is focused on winning the next game whilst his team continues to improve all the time.

“It’s exactly the same,” he told Sky Sports. “I think we’re a developing side. We’re probably a year ahead of where we’ve been but that’s testament to the players and how quickly they’re adapting to the methods.

“The biggest difference is that we’re believing all the time. You come here, you win 3-0 playing like we did today and it’s another statement in terms of where the team is going.

“I repeat (what I said) before, we could win the next nine games and still not win it but certainly our focus now will be to get ready.

“We’ve got a tough game against Cardiff next week away and it’s five games on the spin now. Terrific results against tough opponents and we’ve just got to keep it going.

“I think that we’re coming into a real strong stage of the season. We did the same last year and we’re doing the same this year.

“I think as the players work together, the personalities connect, they understand how we want to work. They’re improving all the time.

“The beauty of this team is we have a lot of young players that are improving. We remain humble as a team and as a group and we’ll manage the expectations.

“The only expectation is to win the next game and that’s what we’ll look to do. Everyone’s got tough games.

“We’ve had a tough game today, we’ve done our job and that’s all we can concentrate on. If we continue to do that, let’s see where it takes us.”

The 3-0 victory at Old Trafford meant the Reds secured the double over their bitter rivals, and Rodgers was delighted with his teams performance.

“I thought we were outstanding, the dominance in the game was very apparent from the beginning right the way through,” he said.

“We obviously created lots of chances, we scored three goals, missed a penalty unfortunately, but we could have had three or four more, so I think we were clearly the dominant team.

“I think as a team, first and foremost, we controlled the ball. I thought in particular in the second half we were better with the ball, combined greater and obviously we’re a very aggressive team going forward.

“We set up to defend well and obviously we attack in numbers as well and I think that aggression and confidence in our game is clear to see.

“To come here and to get a result like that and a performance like that is very good. I thought our focus and composure today was very good.

“We’ve had a terrific season and for 14 or 15 months we’ve been excellent so to come here, I remember coming here last season and playing okay but Man United were the better team.

“But I think the development in our side was clear today and you could see the players’ confidence.”