Suarez: I’m an angel with a bit of demon

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Luis Suarez has described himself as ‘an angel with a little demon’ during an interview with French television.


The Uruguayan striker discussed the difficulty in changing peoples perceptions of him, after a string of controversies throughout his career.

suarez

This season has seen Suarez’s discipline improve, as his 24 Premier League goals have fired the Reds to second in the Premier League table.

“I think that I am someone who is shy, really – I know how I am off the pitch in my everyday life, and I’m more of an angel with a little bit of the demon,” he said.


“It is very difficult for me to have this image because of who I really am. But I have learned about my behaviour, and today, you have to know I am someone very timid and for that I am very careful what I say.”

Liverpool currently sit six points clear of fifth placed Tottenham, and also hold a game in hand over their north London rivals, making Brendan Rodgers side strong favourites to secure a top four finish.

And Suarez has revealed he is driven by experiencing a Champions League night at Anfield.

“Being able to play a Champions League match at Anfield, that would be incredible, something unforgettable,” he explained.

“I would really like to live this experience. Today with my club the main aim is to qualify for the Champions League.”

 


Reds handed double fitness boost ahead of United clash

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Liverpool have been boosted by the news Mamadou Sakho and Lucas Leiva will both be fit for Sunday’s trip to Old Trafford to face Manchester United.

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Both made their comebacks for the Under-21’s last week, coming through the 2-0 victory unscathed.

Both have since resumed full training, and are in contention to make the short trip to Manchester on Sunday.


Lucas has not featured for the Reds since the 2-2 draw with Aston Villa in January, after damaging knee ligaments.

He played the entire 90 minutes of the Under-21’s clash with West Ham, but is unlikely to start at Old Trafford, with Rodgers preferring a midfield three of Jordan Henderson, Phillipe Coutinho and Steven Gerrard in recent weeks, whilst Joe Allen was impressive in the 3-0 win over Southampton.

Sakho has not featured since tearing a hamstring in the 2-1 defeat to Chelsea in late December, and came through 70 minutes against the Hammers.

Again, the French international is unlikely to start, with Daniel Agger and Martin Skrtel managing only the sixth league clean sheet of the season in the Reds latest victory at St Mary’s.

But Rodgers will be delighted to have both players back for the final ten games, as the Reds look to cement their top four position whilst still remaining in the title hunt.

Gerrard: Sturridge can star at the World Cup

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Steven Gerrard has backed in-form Daniel Sturridge to shine for England at the summer’s World Cup.

Sturridge fired his 23rd goal of the season as England beat Denmark in a friendly at Wembley last week, and is on a run of scoring 12 goals in 12 games.

Raheem Sterling

And his Liverpool and England skipper believes Sturridge is more than capable of carrying his form onto the biggest of all international stages in the summer.

“Daniel’s got the world at his feet and he can be whatever he wants to be if he keeps working hard,” Gerrard said.


“His form has been scintillating this season and, to see him close up in training, I see what qualities he’s got.

“Everyone will be looking for Suarez, Ronaldo, the usual suspects to stand up and be the star of the tournament. But Daniel is certain capable of starring at this World Cup.”

Gerrard gave an indication of exactly how highly he rates Sturridge, by suggesting he could outshine club mate and Uruguay forward Luis Suarez, who England are set to face in the group stage.

“I can’t speak highly enough of Luis as a player,” Gerrard continued. “For me he’s in the top five players in the world.

“I’d rather play in the same team as him. He’s a world-class player and I know him well. I know his strengths and his very few weaknesses.”

 

Reina still refusing to rule out Reds return

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Pepe Reina has once again refused to rule out the possibility of returning to Liverpool once his season-long loan at Napoli comes to an end.

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The Spaniard has made 20 appearances for Rafael Benitez this season, but admits his future is still very much up in the air.

Brendan Rodgers recently said he did not expect to see Reina back at Anfield, after the shot-stopper wrote an open letter to the clubs supporters in which he said his goodbyes.

However Reina was keen to stress the letter was not his way of saying goodbye for good.

Reina told BBC Sport: “It was strange but I don’t regret it. The only thing about the letter is that I just could say goodbye in a different way and I couldn’t do it in person.

“There are always up and downs in a career and in the last two and a half years at Liverpool there were different methods and perhaps I didn’t do as good as I used to with Rafa (Benitez). But I don’t think I was ‘bad’.

Asked about whether he was expecting to leave the club, Reina added: “That is what the manager says apparently but I have two years left on my contract.

“Liverpool got another goalkeeper and they told me they were happy to loan me for a season. Liverpool is an offensive team, and they will win more games 3-2 than 1-0, that’s the nature of the team.

“I believe they are really happy with Mignolet, and they are happy going that way, in terms of being that offensive.”

Reina was also full of praise for former Reds boss Rafael Benitez, who he has been reunited with at Napoli this season.

“He’s the best manager I have ever worked with,” said Reina. “I know exactly what he wants from me as a goalkeeper, and I know exactly how his teams play.

“I believe he is good for my way of playing, and it is very easy to work with him.”

Speaking to Italian press last week, Benitez said: “Reina is having a great season. He is in exceptional physical condition and it performing at a great level. At Liverpool he is amongst the best in the world.

“His future? He must continue to work hard and we’ll see.”

 

 

 

Allen: Our target is to replicate Arsenal rout

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Joe Allen insists Liverpool’s target is to replicate the level of performance shown against Arsenal last month, week in, week out.

The Reds produced perhaps the performance of any team all season on February 8, beating Arsenal 5-1 at Anfield, scoring four goals in the opening 20 minutes.

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It was the perfect of example of the high pressing, attacking game Brendan Rodgers has tried to implement, and Allen insists they are focused on producing more performances to a similar level.

The Welshman told the official Liverpool FC magazine: “I don’t think I’ve seen a better performance in 20 minutes of football from the first whistle. Our target now is to make sure we do that in every game.

“Obviously it’s difficult to play to that level all the time, but that’s our dream and what we’re aiming to do. How clinical we were with the ball and how many chances we created was one thing.

“But with Arsenal being such a great footballing team as well, the way we stopped them playing and won the ball back and pressed them hard was equally as pleasing.”

Allen was also keen to highlight the aggressive nature of the Reds performance that day, something he feels has been a constant theme throughout the season.

“From the manager’s point of view, a lot of people talk about the passing game that we like to employ with the ball at our feet,” Allen said.

“But certainly from the work that we put in day in, day out, it’s also about when we haven’t got the ball. I think that was one of the biggest things the manager talked about when he took over the club, and that’s a way of playing that I’ve been brought up with.

“You can obviously see the benefits of it when you get it right – such as the game against Arsenal at Anfield. It was similar to the derby in that we really took the game to Everton from the kick-off.

“That’s probably the best way to approach any match – to have an aggressive stance from start to finish. Some people might argue against that and be happy to shut up shop at 1-0 or 2-0.

“But I feel that if you try to do that, you’re always giving the opposition a chance to get back in the contest. With teams like Arsenal, for example, you don’t want to give them any opportunity to do that. In many ways, that was why it was such a perfect display.”

Suso keen to return for Champions League football

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On loan Liverpool midfielder Suso admits he would like to return to the club to experience Champions League football.

The 20-year-old Spaniard is on loan at La Liga side Almeria, where he has featured 24 times this season.

Suso

A permanent transfer at the end of the season has been mentioned, whilst Sevilla are also understood to be considering a move for the playmaker.

But with the Reds well set to make a return to the Champions League next season, Suso admits he would relish the chance to return to Anfield.

“I’ve been talking with Liverpool, to see if they’re going to renew my contract,” Suso told Estadio Deportivo.

“Next season they could be playing in the Champions League and I’m really keen to be a part of that.”

There remain concerns as to whether Suso would get much first team football at Anfield however, with the likes of Phillipe Coutinho, Raheem Sterling and summer signing Luis Alberto ahead of him in the pecking order.

That fact means the Spanish youngster has not ruled out the possibility of a summer switch to Sevilla, who have recently been linked.

He added: “I don’t know anything about that, but maybe they’ve spoken with my agent.”Sevilla is a club I’ve always admired, for how they live and breathe football, their character, their stadium… It would be a really good place for me. Also, it’s just an hour down the road from my home.”

 

 

Johnson yet to be offered a new contract

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Glen Johnson has revealed he is yet to be offered a contract extension by Liverpool.

Glen Johnson

The 29-year-old has been a first choice under Brendan Rodgers this season, and made a landmark 50th appearance for England on Wednesday evening.

But Johnson – who joined Liverpool in an £18million deal from Portsmouth in 2009 – will enter the final year of his contract in the summer, and whilst he is adamant he wants to stay at Anfield, he has revealed the decision is out of his hands.

“I’ve loved every minute of the five years I’ve been here and I’d love to stay but really the only truth in it is that I’ve not been offered a new contract on any level,” Johnson said.

“I know some people have been saying Liverpool don’t want to pay me my current wages, but I’ve not heard that. No-one has come to me from Liverpool at all.

“I don’t know the situation the club are in or if they want to renew it. So I’ve not got a decision to make other than to see my contract out because no-one is telling me any different.

“It is an unnecessary distraction. I’m more than happy to sign a new contract and I’d love to stay here for many more years. But at the moment that is not for me to decide because I’ve not been offered anything and I’ve not been told I’m going to be sold.

“I just have to honour my contract and try not to let it distract me.”

 

Sturridge: Sterling is only going to get better

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Daniel Sturridge has hailed Liverpool and England teammate Raheem Sterling as ‘exceptional’, and reckons the 19-year-old is only going to get better in the years to come.

The pair were two of the five Liverpool players to start for their country on Wednesday night, with Sturridge scoring the winning goal, and Sterling putting in a man of the match performance on what was only his second cap.

Raheem Sterling

Sterling’s breakthrough to the England team has been reward for a fantastic run of form with the Reds, stretching back to when he broke into the first team at the beginning of December.

“Raheem is a great guy,” Sturridge said. “I get on with him very well, we banter.

“I think it was easy for him because he had the captain of his club playing for the country out there. He also had Jordan [Henderson] on the same side as him and the same with Johnno [Glen Johnson].

“I think it felt probably like playing for Liverpool with how we went out there. The football he plays is exceptional and he is only going to get better.

“You see with Raheem now, he is getting the opportunities to play week in, week out and is flourishing. For every young player it is important to play regularly.

“I think it is important that young players realise that it is not going to be an easy journey. You will have highs and lows. My journey has certainly not finished, I am not the complete player.

“I’ve got to keep improving and keep pushing myself. Young players have to realise that you can never stop improving. It doesn’t matter what you achieve, there is still more to achieve.

“It doesn’t matter how many goals you’ve scored, there are still more goals and more appearances. Everything is possible if you believe in yourself and have the opportunities to show what you can do.”

 

Agger: My conscience is clear over Wilshere tackle

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Reds vice-captain Daniel Agger insists his conscience is clear about the tackle that broke Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere’s foot.

Daniel Agger

Agger was involved in a 50-50 challenge with Wilshere during Wednesday night’s friendly fixture between England and Denmark at Wembley.

The Gunners midfielder is facing six weeks on the sidelines with the injury, after a scan revealed a hairline fracture to his left foot.

Wilshere played on for 50 minutes following the tackle before being substituted.

“It was 50-50. You have to go for those challenges,” Agger said.

“I was going for the ball and I think I got the ball, but the referee didn’t.”

England boss Roy Hodgson also insisted that Agger wasn’t to blame for Wilshere’s injury.

“It’s always sad when you have a player come from a club, use him on international duty and he gets an injury,” Hodgson said.

“It’s very sad and disappointing for Jack and Arsenal but unfortunately these things happen.

“It was an honest challenge but he took a nasty kick and I can only hope he recovers as early as possible.”

Carra: Sturridge benefitting from ‘world class’ Suarez

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Jamie Carragher believes Daniel Sturridge’s form this season has improved from working closely with ‘world class’ strike partner Luis Suarez.

Sturridge&Suarez

Sturridge continued his fine form in front of goal for his country last night, scoring the winner against Denmark at Wembley.

And Reds legend Carragher is delighted to see his former teammate has taken his club form onto the international stage.

“Daniel Sturridge has been the outstanding English striker in the Premier League this season and is even giving his Liverpool team-mate Luis Suarez a run for his money in the goals department,” Carragher told Sky Sports. 

“He has now scored in 10 of his last 12 games following his goal for England against Denmark, and I am delighted that he has taken his form into the international arena because it took him a while to get there.

“Wednesday night was only Sturridge’s 10th cap and considering he is 24 years of age that should probably be higher, but it is only since he joined Liverpool that he has been playing week in, week out and forced his way into England’s plans.

“He played quite wide against Denmark but he still got on the scoresheet and I think his confidence is growing from playing and training every week with a world-class footballer in Suarez and then every now and again at international level with Wayne Rooney.

“Sturridge is getting used to playing in a partnership, whereas before he almost went it alone, as he played on the right-hand side at Chelsea under Andre Villas-Boas and was only a bit-part player at Man City earlier in his career.

“I think Daniel is now a definite England starter and we all know Wayne Rooney will go to the World Cup, too, so it will be interesting to see who else Roy Hodgson picks up front – and whether he takes three or four strikers.

Carragher also had words of praise for Reds winger Raheem Sterling, who picked up the man-of-the-match award on what was only his second appearance for the Three Lions.

Carragher believes the 19-year-old has benefitted from working closely with Reds boss Brendan Rodgers, and called for him to start England’s opening group game against Italy.

“I also think Raheem Sterling should play on the right in the position Theo Walcott’s injury has opened up; he is the form wide man in the Premier League and did himself the power of good on Wednesday by really looking the part.

“Sterling has really benefited from his time under Brendan Rodgers and I think that backs up the point I made on Sky Sports earlier this week about managers being given time to build their side.”