Sakho happy with competition for places


Mamadou Sakho has said that he has no regrets about joining the club this Summer and is happy to fight for his place in the Reds’ defence.

The French international moved to Anfield in a multi-million pound deal from childhood club Paris Saint-Germain just before the close of the transfer window.

He is looking to hold down a place in the Reds’ defence – and then claim a place back in the French national side.

While speaking to the French press, Sakho pointed to the fact that he has been called up to face Australia and Finland as proof of the move being the right decision.

“I can only be happy to return. I had to leave Paris to come back to Les Bleus – every top level player works only for that.” he said.

“I know a lot has been said about me but to have been selected again proves a lot.”

“At Liverpool there are also a lot of players who play in my position. But the competition is healthy.

sakho“At Paris it became more complicated. I could say quite a few things about a certain directors but it would be of no use. I have put all that behind me and closed the door.

“My decision [to leave] was mature and one to which I gave a lot of thought. I did not leave for financial reasons.

“If I had wanted to do that I could have left in January. But no amount of money would have bought me the pleasure of playing. I am proud of the choice I have made.”

Sakho has said that he is beginning to settle into English life.

“I have just found a house in the suburbs of Liverpool, not far from Steven Gerrard’s.

“I often find myself driving on the right hand side of the road, but I am learning English.

“And as for the footballl, I am still working hard to adapt with the manager – it’s funny, he calls me killer.”

Liverpool 3 – 1 Crystal Palace


A dominant first half display saw Liverpool return to the top of the Premier League following a 3-1 victory over Crystal Palace at Anfield.

suarezLuis Suarez opened the scoring in the 13th minute before Daniel Sturridge doubled the lead with an excellent individual goal five minutes later. Steven Gerrard made it three with a spot-kick towards the end of the opening 45 minutes, and Dwight Gayle pulled one goal back for the visitors in a much quieter second half.

Brendan Rodgers made one change to the Liverpool side that had beaten Sunderland, with Raheem Sterling taking the place of the suspended Lucas Leiva.

Liverpool started the brighter of the two sides, and didn’t have to wait too long to see their efforts rewarded. Suarez exchanged passes with Jose Enrique in the 13th minute before slotting home as he was falling over.

Five minutes later Sturridge had fans on their feet with a superb moment of individual skill. Collecting the ball on the left flank he twisted and turned to find a way through the Palace defence before firing home from a tight angle with his left foot.

Palace started to get into the game a little, and Kolo Toure had to block on the line before Mamadou Sakho gave fans a scare by almost slicing the ball into his own net, but as the half was winding down the result was put beyond all doubt.

Raheem Sterling was adjudged to have been brought down in the box and the ref pointed to the spot. Steven Gerrard converted confidently, in the process becoming the first player in Liverpool’s history to score in 15 consecutive seasons for the club.

The second half was a much quieter affair – although both Sturridge and Victor Moses managed to hit the woodwork. The only goal of the half was a consolation for Palace.

Raheem Sterling gave away a free kick – earning himself a yellow card in the process. The set piece was swung in and Gayle managed to connect at the back post to head home.

With only 15 minutes left on the clock when Gayle scored a comeback was unlikely, and the goal proved to by the last clear chance of the game for the Eagles. After four minutes of injury time referee Anthony Taylor brought the game to a close to confirm another three points for the Reds and a return to the top of the Premier League table.

Rodgers praises Sturridge and Suarez


Brendan Rodgers has stated his belief that Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge are comparable to the frontline of European heavyweights Bayern Munich.

England striker Sturridge has started the season in blistering form with seven goals in eight outings so far with Suarez scoring twice on his Premiership return against Sunderland on Sunday – both supplied by assists from his strike partner.

UntitledAnd after watching Bayern demolish Manchester City on Wednesday, Rodgers has compared his front pairing to that of the German giants.

“If you watched their system last night, the right back and left back were going into midfield at times as well to go and join in,” Rodgers said.

“It’s just really wherever you can get superiority in the game.

“If I look at Daniel and Luis Suarez; I call them nine-and-a-halves, they’re not straight up and down strikers.

“They like to move and they like to get in between.”

Rodgers said Liverpool were able to employ a similar style of play to the Bavarians due to the qualities of their players.

“The system is normally based on the characteristics of your players, so for us we’ve tried it,” he said.

“I’ve looked at it a number of times last season with Daniel Sturridge through the middle and Luis Suarez just off as a number 10 but he’s not a number 10.

“He’s more midfield or an attacking midfield player type and playing one of them off the sides.

“I think it just gets better the longer they play with players or goalscorers, there’s no question about that.”

Hyypia aiming for Reds job


Sami Hyypia has spoken of his desire to one day return to manage the club.

UntitledThe big Finn, who left Anfield in 2009, is currently manager at German club Bayer Leverkusen – the club he left Liverpool for four years ago.

“I have got two special places in my heart,” he told German newspaper Bild.

“I was born in Finland, and there the job as the national team coach is the biggest job.

“Liverpool has the other place in my heart. I don’t want to say, ‘That’s my goal’, but — after the ten years I played there — it would also be a dream to one day be the Liverpool manager.

“I live in the here and now, and that means Bayer Leverkusen, which gives me a lot of pleasure.”

Hyypia had ten successful years at Anfield, making 464 appearances for the club. He went away with a Champions League winners, and runners up, medal as well as two FA Cups, a UEFA Cup and a couple of League Cup successes under his belt.

He will be mentored by former Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson over the international break fortnight and will shadow the England manager while they take on Montenegro and Poland.

Reina looking for Barcelona move


Pepe Reina has spoken of his desire to return to Barcelona.

The Spanish goalkeeper was with the Catalan giants as a youngster but left for Villarreal in 2002 after being deemed surplus to requirements.

UntitledCurrent Barcelona custodian Victor Valdes is expected to depart the club next Summer when his current deal expires and Reina is eying up the opportunity to replace his compatriot.

“I would very much like to return to Barcelona. I’m delighted that my name has been suggested, but my goal now is to have a good season in Naples. And in the summer, we will see.” Reina told Catalunya Radio.

“Nothing is signed. I imagine that the club has spoken with many and have several in the pipeline. We will see what happens next year with Victor Valdes.”

Reina unlikely to remain with Napoli


Napoli have cooled suggestions they will sign Pepe Reina on a permanent deal at the end of the season after director Riccardo Bigon commented on the Spaniard’s position with the Italian club.

UntitledThe shot-stopper joined the Serie A club on a year-long loan in the summer after the Reds signed Simon Mignolet from Sunderland.

Reina has impressed so far in Italy with his new side unbeaten domestically, but Bigon is unsure if his stay at the Stadio San Paolo will prove to be a permanent one.

“Will Reina stay? At the end of the year he will return to Liverpool. In life you can re-examine everything, but to date Reina is a player of Liverpool. It’s too early to talk about it – at that moment we could only take him on loan.” he told Mediaset.

“When Morgan De Sanctis expressed the idea of choosing another team we tried Rafael as first-choice goalkeeper. The Brazilian will be the future of the club in that role. We chose Reina because Rafa Benitez knew him well.”

Lucas hails return of Suarez


Lucas Leiva has hailed Luis Suarez as “one of the best in the world” and believes his return to action will be a catalyst for success for the team.

Suarez returned to Premier League action on Sunday and scored two goals in the 3-1 win over Sunderland – and his Brazilian team mate has said the return of the Uruguayan gives everyone a lift of expectation about Champions League qualification.

Untitled“Luis was the best player in the Premier League last year, so having him in our side again this season is just a real boost for all the team and the squad,” Lucas told the club’s official website.

“He’s really happy to be back. He’s always been training with us, but now he’s available to help us in the official games, it will be much better.

“We just hope he can have the same season that he had last year because he was a really important player for us. If he does the same as last season, we will have a better chance to achieve what we want to achieve.

“He’s just given us more confidence. The squad that we had without him was a good one, but with him back in it, we’ll be even better. He’s one of the best in the world.”

Suarez stated his desire to leave Anfield in the Summer, with a move to Real Madrid sought after and a switch to Arsenal rejected by the club.

“The fans know Suarez very well. He’s been here for two or three years and we all know how he is. He’s a fighter and he will do everything he can to help the team, just as he did last year and the season before.

“That’s what everyone expects from him and I don’t think he’s thinking any other way. He just wants to play his game and score goal and help his team-mates because he has a really good relationship with everyone here at Melwood.”

Reds legends join Academy staff


Steve McManaman, Robbie Fowler and Rob Jones are to assist the Under-21 and Under-18 squads at Liverpool’s Kirkby Academy.

Untitled“It’s great to have Robbie, Steve and Rob on board,” Rodgers told the Liverpool Echo.

“I wanted to get more former players involved and over the off-season I spoke to a number of them about a possible role here.

“For me it’s so important to have players like that around. These are players who the young guys look up to.

“The three of them have come in recently and I know they have thoroughly enjoyed having that involvement of working with the kids.

“We’re starting with the older academy players as they are ones they can really affect at this moment.

“It’s both coaching and mentoring.”

Rodgers has also previously spoken about using the wealth of experience that is recently retired Jamie Carragher, but he has chosen to take up a job with Sky Sports for the time being.Untitled

The Kop boss has pointed to tradition and history as key assets available to him at Anfield and this will come as no surprise to many fans.

“Sometimes managers feel the need to distance themselves from players like that but I love what this institution is all about at Liverpool,” he added.

“It’s important to retain that connection with the history of the club.

“I want to protect that great history to ensure these players get the opportunity to be involved at a club they love.”

Gerrard: Foreigners in the sport are hurting young talent


Steven Gerrard believes the ever-increasing number of foreign players plying their trade in the Premier League is hurting the sport, as young players struggle to get first-team opportunities at top clubs.

The Liverpool legend made his debut aged 18, and featured regularly for the club as a teenager. However he’s concerned that up and coming players today are not afforded the same opportunities he received as a youngster.

Speaking to the BBC, Gerrard said: “At Liverpool, Brendan Rodgers has been fantastic because he’s been brave and he’s given young players a chance.

“But there’s no two ways about it, it’s a lot more difficult to break through nowadays because of the standard of players and because there are a lot more foreigners about.”

Whilst the Reds may have given plenty of young players a chance in recent seasons it hasn’t always been that way at the club, and sports betting fans would have been unlikely to place a bet on a youngster getting the nod while the club were regularly securing a place in the top four.

This situation is by no means unique to Liverpool though, and Gerrard believes the pressure faced by managers competing for honours means they are less likely to give unknown youngsters a chance to prove their worth.

“Managers are only ever eight to 10 days away from the sack.” He added.

“So to take risks on unknown young players is difficult.”

Despite making his feelings clear that clubs are stifling the progress of young players, the Liverpool skipper also made it clear that the fault can sometimes lie with the players themselves – with a move to a big club going to their heads.

“I think a lot of players fall away and don’t get it right when they come to Melwood. They think the job’s done and they become big-time, they become footballers for the wrong reasons.”

Sunderland 1 – 3 Liverpool


A brace from Luis Suarez saw Liverpool secure a 3-1 victory over Sunderland in their Barclays Premier League clash at the Stadium of Light on Sunday.

Having only picked up one point from their last two league outings, the Reds were determined to change their fortunes, and started the brighter of the two teams. They found the back of the net early on, but referee Howard Webb correctly ruled Martin Skrtel offside.

Simon Mignolet’s wasn’t called into action by his former side until the 24th minute, when Sebastian Larsson’s free kick rattled his crossbar.

Shortly after though, it was Liverpool who took the lead. Steven Gerrard swung a corner in which Daniel Sturridge managed to tuck away after a deflection off Larsson’s leg.

The Reds had doubled their lead within minutes, this time Sturridge turning provider as he played the ball across the six-yard box for Suarez to tap into the unguarded goal.

Sunderland twice came close to halving the lead in the closing exchanges of the first half – first through Craig Gardner then Adam Johnson – but the Reds held on to keep their clean sheet going into the break.

Sunderland did manage to pull a goal back shortly after the restart however. Mignolet failed to contain Ki Sung-Yueng’s longe-range effort, gifting Emanuele Giaccherini an easy tap-in to bring his side back into contention.

Liverpool pressed forward intent on re-establishing their two-goal lead, with Victor Moses and Kolo Toure both coming close with driven shots from distance. Keiren Westwood in the Sunderland goal was standing firm though.

Just as it appeared the Reds would have to settle for a one-goal victory, Suarez managed to find his second and Liverpool’s third goal of the game. Sturridge was again the provider as he pulled the ball back for Suarez to side-foot home.