Skrtel tells Russian press that he misses Zenit

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Martin Skrtel spoke to Russian newspaper Sport Express after the game and said “You know, this game was ambiguous. We had a lot of moments. Suarez could have scored four times, but in the end Zenit scored. This is a typical illustration of the phrase: ‘This is football’.”



article-1069829-02E9140800000578-671_468x431[1]The defender was clearly disappointed but it had been a good opportunity for him to return to a club where he enjoyed a good spell before moving to Anfield. The reporter asked Skrtel if he missed Zenit and replied: “Of course, because I had a very good year here.”

When his name was read out in the stadium, a lot of the home fans cheered him and although he didn’t hear it himself, he said he was informed by others “In the dressing room, a massage therapist told me some applauded, and some whistled. But I believe that more of them clapped!”


‘We can beat Zenit’ says Rodgers

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Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers believes that his side can overturn last night’s 2-0 defeat against Zenit St Petersburg in next week’s return leg at Anfield.

His team were beaten in the first-leg tie by second half goals from Hulk and Sergei Semak. Liverpool had several chances of their own before falling behind, with Luis Suarez guilty of missing a glut of chances.the-kop-at-anfield-620-214562832-3003944[1]

Rodgers still believes that his team can progress despite the defeat: “It’s not over by any means,” he said. “If we can get the next goal back then we can really put them under pressure with our fans behind us and what gives us great hope is that we created loads of chances.”


“We have a chance in the second leg. The next goal is hugely important, if we can get that then we can create great momentum. We know it is retrievable and we believe we still have a fighting chance.”

Rodgers added that aside from the goals conceded, he felt his side’s performance was “almost perfect” for an away match in Europe. The former Swansea City manager put the goals conceded down to inexperience and insisted his players would not make the same errors in six months’ time.

A fast start and no goals conceded will both be crucial next week if Liverpool are to progress to the last sixteen of Europe’s second cup competition.

Liverpool supporters attacked in Russia

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954542-15690400-640-360[1]Liverpool supporters were attacked in Russia before and after the Europa League match at Zenit St Petersburg last night.

A report on St Petersburg’s Peter TV channel said that on the night prior to the game that a 40-strong group had attacked travelling fans as they emerged from a bar in the city.

Liverpool supporters were forced to take shelter inside before security staff used baseball bats to disperse the attackers. Local media reports said nobody was seriously injured in the incident.


Supporters also said they had been attacked on metro trains as they travelled to and from the Petrovsky Stadium, with some also claiming to have been attacked inside the ground.

The Zenit fans have been under the spotlight of late after sections claimed that the club should employ no homosexual or black players in the squad.

Brendan Rodgers had commended the home support for their behaviour during the game and thanked them for a warm welcome.

Zenit 2 – 0 Liverpool

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Europe is no strange terriory for three time Europa League winners, Liverpool, but with the odd run of games they’ve had they may find it challenging.

The Reds made a far trip to the Eastern borders of Europe to face Russian champions Zenit Saint Petersburg in their first leg clash of the last 32 round of their Europa League campaign.

When the match kicked off it was the home side who were ready and off to the races with an early chance and two very close corners that nearly slipped into the net, but the Spanish international Pepe Reina was there to see them off.

Liverpool were not to be undone when Luis Suarez when played through on goal thanks to the clever ball from Glen Johnson, but Suarez decided not to chip the keeper who was well off his line and go around his left. The goal would have rolled over the line if it wasn’t for clever defending that saw the ball go just wide of the net.

Suarez was on fire with his speed and clever ability on the ball, but his next two runs were judged offside.

His South American counterpart, Hulk, was being quite the pest for the home side with speed and agility in the 26th minute that left Jamie Carragher in the dust, but once again it was Pepe Reina who came to the rescue with his lightning quick reflexes.

The rest of the half remained goalless and continued the same back and forth pattern between the two clubs with just one booking in the 17th minute to make any news.

The second half kicked off with Liverpool attacking to the left and with everything they’ve got. Pseudo-striker Glen Johnson ran all the way from the back and through three defenders to dispatch a weak, but effective shot that earned a corner for the reds. Liverpool clearly using all their weapons in the search for an illustrious away goal.

First substitution of the evening was in the 53rd minute for the home side when the Portuguese number 10, Danny, made way for Russian international Sergei Semak.

Second booking of the match came to Slovakian midfielder Tomáš Hubočan when he held on to captain Steven Gerrard a bit too long for the referee’s liking.

Seconds later Gerrard was off to the races again when he raced down the middle and laid he ball off to Stewart Downing on the right wing, Downing then ran along the 18 yard box and laid the ball out for Luis Suarez who took a finessed shot that curled just wide of the net. Another one bit the dust for Liverpool’s number seven and his third chance went begging yet again.

Despite Liverpool’s dominance in the second half it was the appropriately named Hulk who smashed in the 69th minute; the 26 year old found space on the right side of the net from 30 yards out and fire such a curling shot that it hit the inside of the net just under the crossbar. 1-nil to the home side.

Zenit had momentum and capitalized on it in a major way just moments later when the ball was crossed from the right side of the pitch all the way across the face of goal and fell to the feet of Sergei Semak who carefully chipped just over the reach of Reina and into the back of the net for the 2-nil lead. Some Liverpool supporters now sensing the end of their European run.

First sub for Liverpool when Raheem Sterling was replaced by Lucas Leiva. Experience over speed, would it pay off for the reds?

Alexander Kerzhakov was taken off for Viktor Fayzulin in the 81st minute, shortly before a yellow card was shown to Neto for his trip up of Luis Suarez. That foul made way for a free kick to be taken by Luis Suarez which fell right in front of the bottom right corner of the net and was nearly put into the net, but for a scramble in front of goal and a desperate clearance by Zenit which gave them a minute to catch their breaths.

But minutes were all that was left as the 85th minute rang in and another Zenit corner was awarded with the scoreline reading 2-nil to the home side.

The final minutes came and went and 2-nil was the final score after 92 minutes of play. It will be a mountain climb for the reds now. The math for the next week’s fixture is as follows; Liverpool must score two goals at Anfield to send the tie into extra time and obviously three to win, but if Zenit score an away goal Liverpool must then win 4-1 to move on. Only time will tell and when the second half of this exciting drama will be written.

Liverpool’s next fixture is on Sunday the 17th when Brendan Rodgers’ old club, Swansea City come to town and try to continue their run up the table with immense resistance from Liverpool. Four days after that Zent will make their visit to Anfield for the second leg of this European tie and the home fans will pack the stadium to the rafters when they host another magical European night.

Keep The Faith

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It was too predictable. It was all too repetitive. It was all too easy.

Monday’s final whistle at Anfield sounded the latest onslaught from the keyboard warriors calling for the head of Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers much as it has done after each disappointing result for the men in red this season.

In today’s society of instant gratification, football fans focus on this need for this immediate fix whenever regarding the current fortunes of their team. All too often, players become #legends after scoring against foes or deemed “not good enough” after a few flat performances.Liverpool-Keep-the-Faith-Hoodies---Sweatshirts[1]

While Monday’s game represented another harsh lesson that must be learned from, too much of the positive vibe gained from outplaying Arsenal and Man City in their own back yards was lost in the space of 10 minutes.

To look at the game itself, let’s start with the line-up. The team selection remained strong with few changes, Carragher continuing as expected after man-of-the-match recent performances and the forward-thinking Shelvey, fresh from scoring for England u-21s, coming in for the injured Sturridge showing the intent of attacking West Brom. The bench contained 3 attacking options, which is in stark contrast to earlier this season when the bench was usually overloaded with defenders and midfielders.

It became apparent during the game that the team just wasn’t playing well as a whole, in particular with the full backs, who usually provide spark for attacks when on form and allow the team to push up just seemed to have no ideas when in possession. Rodgers, realising this again took positive action by making a double substitution bringing on a winger and a forward for 2 midfielders with plenty of time to influence and try to win the game, holding onto his final attacking option until the latter stages when tiring legs can be taken advantage of. Again, this seemed like a sensible approach as when in control of the game for as long as Liverpool were, there’s no need to go gung-ho until the last 5-10 minutes or if unfortunately, as happened the other night, you fall behind.

Sadly, the only tired legs in the latter stages belonged to Gerrard and Agger. Gerrard’s penalty wasn’t bad but he was out-witted by a busy and on form Foster, while Agger, flat-footed on 2 occasions was found wanting after having little to do all game from a defensive point. It’s difficult to build a case to blame the manager for these instances, these are not cases that can be used in an argument to prove that Rodgers’ philosophy isn’t working.

Gerrard has played every minute of every league game this season and after 2 recent high-octane games away from home and another for England at Wembley, looked a little flat on Monday and maybe just starting to show signs of fatigue during this game. Agger, while being lauded for his transparency through Twitter over his recent performance must now be fearing for his place when considering the goals conceded from Monday added to those conceded against Dzeko and Van Persie.

Back to the manager now and while he’s not yet proven that he is the man to take Liverpool forward, he must be allowed at least another season to try to build on what he’s started especially given that he hasn’t had it all easy from the start.

In the summer, Rodgers inherited a squad with serious problems. Over-priced, under-performing players was the obvious one but perhaps more important than players he inherited were the players he would lose. Regardless of whether they moved to be closer to home or to reduce the wage bill, the loss of Maxi, Kuyt and Bellamy represented a huge loss of experience and given their ages, the lack of revenue generated by their departures (€1m for Kuyt), Rodgers was hamstrung by having to spend considerably to keep the squad size steady.

Rodgers spent approximately £30m over the summer which was always going to happen following the Return On Investment from the purchases of the previous summer and the lack of inheritance already discussed. Given he had no scouting structure in place, he set out to try to put his own attacking stamp on the team with the purchase of his Swansea keystone, Joe Allen, plus an array of attacking options. Liverpool had scored 47 goals in 38 league games last season so in retrospect this looked like a wise move. In addition to this, it was clear that Brendan would have to work with what he had.

While many fans were not happy with Rodgers publicly criticising players, it cannot be discarded that in the cases of Downing, Henderson and Enrique it has had the desired in increasing the performance level of these players. Jose himself testified during a recent interview that while not initially happy with this open approach to motivation, he now understands the manager’s motives.

Those who criticise Brendan often cite that he has no Plan B and was wrong to get rid of Andy Carroll, who would offer just that. In the early part of the season the absence of a game changer can largely be attributed to the lack of squad depth and injuries to Lucas and Borini. Without taking into account the latter’s early season form, his injury, coupled with the owners refusal to replace the big Geordie led to the over-reliance on Suarez and to put it bluntly, there was no other option. Meanwhile, the injury to Lucas resulted in stifling the creativity of Gerrard and Allen by resulting in them being deployed than originally intended.

Since the return of Lucas and Borini, plus the reinforcement and impact of Sturridge it has been seen that Rodgers isn’t afraid to change from a 4-3-3- to a 4-4-2, most notably during the 2nd half at Old Trafford. What has allowed him to do this is having a fully fit squad and options in each position.

One aspect of Brendan that has been particularly pleasing is that he doesn’t shirk making decisions. The first and probably most brutal, was to fire off Andy Carroll and informing him in no uncertain terms that he was not part of his long-term plan for the club. This trait was displayed more recently last month in Rodgers admitting a mistake and cutting his losses with Nuri Sahin. A player, who 2 years ago was player of the year in Germany and one of the finest midfielders in Europe simply wasn’t up to the task in England. Not enough praise was given to the manager for firstly recognising his own mistake and secondly taking swift and decisive action.

While only time will tell whether Rodgers as a manager will be regarded alongside Shankly or alongside Souness it’s important to note that as part of any rebuilding process, success doesn’t generally come instantly (unless bought with oil millions) and more often that not failures and with them their lessons must be tasted along the way.

To most football fans, it’s common knowledge that it took Alex Ferguson 5 years to win a trophy and 8 years to win the league. He has now profited from the support in faith shown in him by fans and the club over the last quarter of a century.

Bringing matters back a little closer to home it needs to be noted that the great Bill Shankly didn’t succeed at Liverpool from Day 1 but had his own journey and obstacles to overcome. Taking over Liverpool in 1959 in the old Second Division is where the legendary man began his Anfield tenure. Before taking Liverpool back to the summit of the English game and laying the foundations which saw the club grow into the force of the 70s and 80s the first task was to get promotion back to the Old First Division. During his first 2 seasons at the club, this legendary man failed on both occasions to achieve promotion, finishing 3rd each season when only the top 2 clubs were promoted.

In this day and age, both the fans and the board probably wouldn’t give him a third chance. However, he was given a third chance and it proved to be third time lucky. Liverpool won the 1961-62 Second Division and were promoted. Fast forward another 2 years to 1964 and the First Division Title came to Anfield for the first time in 17 years. The rest is history.

One result does not a crisis make

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Shortly after the full time whistle on Monday night, and just seconds after the pre-match bet365 latest football odds were shattered in style by the away side, well-known radio phone-in received calls from disgruntled Reds fans suggesting boss Brendan Rodger’s system of football isn’t working and that his job is now untenable.

Granted, we can all appreciate a 2-0 defeat at home to West Brom is not the kind of result we are used to seeing at Anfield, but to call for the manager’s head on this occasion is simply wrong.

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Even the most devout of Liverpool fans must realise this team is not in a situation as yet to challenge at the top of the table. Supporters may be frustrated, but to get rid of a manager now would be to start from scrap again and we cannot afford to keep losing our patience. The best Liverpool sides in history took time to develop and these players have proven they are heading in the right direction.

Fans may not be happy about recent results, but bar an FA Cup loss to Oldham our form has been good, as any genuine fan who follows the football betting news will know deep down. Away draws to Manchester City and Arsenal – both clubs with far greater resources than ourselves at the moment – come after three league wins on the trot at Anfield.

Results against Norwich, Sunderland and Fulham prove we can see off bottom-half teams with ease and although the West Brom result was a shock had Steven Gerrard netted his penalty we’d all be eyeing up Europe.

Performances like these can only help Rodger’s men grow into their new system and with this secure base we can excel next year. No one at the start of the season realistically expected us to challenge for a Champions League post and that task will come next season when Rodgers thoroughly bloods his young side.

Dynasties are not made overnight and Liverpool need time to rise again. This may sound like a pro-Henry, pro-Rodgers piece but the most important thing for the club right now is stability, and in this boss we will eventually get it.

Jonjo Shelvey

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I hate to say I told you so but the stick and abuse I got for the 1st piece I wrote for Kopworld has just proved to being 100% accurate. Players and twitter do not mix.

I got a lot of grief and minimal support when I called out Jonjo for not giving a monkey’s dangler about being ripped apart in Eastern Europe and completely humiliated in the defeat to Anzhi, then taking to twitter to show how much it mattered to him by ripping the proverbial out of Flanno’s gear and how him and Hendo were off to the England camp tomorrow.

Jonjo-Shelvey-Liverpool-Player-Profile_2835468[1]Now he has taken to twitter again after ANOTHER shocking performance against West Brom, this time to slam us fans who spend thousands of pounds on this club for voicing frustrations and criticising his awful display tonight.

If you have not seen the tweet, it reads:

” Love people giving me stick.. When half of people on here haven’t got a clue what they’re on about. #welldone #keyboardwarriors”

Well Jonjo I am here to tell you, us “keyboard warriors” pay your f***ing wages pal and we have every right to voice our discontent at the embarrassing display you put in tonight for the club we quite clearly love more than you. You either need a history lesson in what this club stands for and realise that a few years ago you were a Charlton player, now, you are at the best club on the planet for support and you have come out *AGAIN and slammed us fans, or you need to start playing well.

*”Again” meaning you threw your toys out of the pram last week to Sky Sports claiming to be a “scapegoat” for the Stoke game, in which you did the square root of f all again, and wanted another chance. Tonight you got that chance and you did…. not a damn thing mate. To top it off you have come out and slammed us fans, the best fans in the world, how very dare you. Remember where you are!

You could have just said, “disappointing” or “I’ll make it up to you” but no, you have attacked the people who come to see you week in week out. The people who give up everything for this club, yes, you have the right to defend yourself but bear in mind…. YOU PLAY FOR LIVERPOOL FC, and that carries great responsibility, we as fans reserve the right to voice our frustrations but, AS ALWAYS, we are there the following week right behind the Red Men again in the next game. We aren’t Chelsea. We know our football and if you do not like the criticism then you are in the wrong job. FYI it’s every man’s dream job, and to be in your position wearing that Red shirt is everything to a lot of us. Grow up and do your talking on the pitch or take your bad attitude somewhere else.

I know I will get slammed again for this but sometimes the players need to take responsibility and certainly not slam us fans.

Liverpool 0 – 2 West Brom

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By AmericanKopite, 11-02-2013, 22:54:40

The smart money for this fixture would bet on Liverpool to win, but what not many know is that West Brom have won three of the last four against Liverpool. On the same hand, Liverpool have won four of the last five at Anfield.

West Bromwich are currently in their most successful campaign since the late 80s and Liverpool are still in their revival stage looking to recapture their magic of the 80s.

Northeastern referee Jon Moss was in charge for this exciting fixture.

The sparks and excitement flew within the first 10 minutes as the ball hit the back of the net very early with a low volley from Jonjo Shelvey, but the volley came off a rebound and was struck by the offside midfielder to the dismay of the home crowd.

Luis Suarez raised the excitement 10 minutes after that with a ridiculous amount of skill after the Uruguayan crossed the ball from the byline with a Rabona flick, but unfortunately no conversion was made there.

One surprise on the night was English midfielder Stewart Downing who has repeatedly been under fire for his questionable play, but tonight Downing was on point with clever passes and a rocket of a shot in the 29th minute that stung the hands of ex-United goalkeeper Ben Foster.

The pressure remained heavy and visually took a toll on the visiting defence in the 41st minute when defender Steve Reid attempted to clear the ball off the line and instead kicked the ball in an awkward way to bounce back toward goal but just over. Two minutes later Reid was booked for a challenge on Luis Suarez.

More chances came and none were converted as the whistle for halftime blew to end the first 45 minutes level at nil.

Stewart Downing was yet again the focus of attacking attention when his 49th minute shot was too much to handle for keeper Ben Foster again, but again to the dismay of the home fans there was no goal.

There was a certain goal after a corner in the 53rd minute when a good header from Jamie Carragher was parried to the forehead of Jonjo Shelvey, but this time the ball rolled across the face of goal and had it gone in it wouldn’t have counted because of Shelvey being offside again.

The first and second substitutions of the match were Liverpool’s when Brendan Rodgers decided to smake a 60th minute switch with Jonjo Shelvey and Jordan Henderson coming off for Fabio Borini and Raheem Sterling respectively. Certainly a faster side after those two subs.

The second booking of the night came in the 69th minute when Raheem Sterling was felled by West Brom defender Liam Ridgewell.

A minute later Liverpool nearly went ahead when Steven Gerrard blasted a ball toward the upper left corner of the net and Ben Foster was able to manhandle the ball down to the feet of Luis Suarez who had a chip himself, but edged just to the left of the post.

Yellow was the colour of the night when their third and fourth yellow cards were shown to Jim Morrison for wasting time and Chris Brunt for tripping up Suarez in front of the 18 yard box.

The 72nd minute free kick was no good and West Brom shortly followed with their first change of the night. Romelu Lukkaku came on for Graeme Dorrans.

The drama only continued when Luis Suarez looked to be fouled in the area, but it looked a rather soft challenge. The pen was given and it was captain Steven Gerrard to step up. But Ben Foster had none of it. The low shot to the keeper’s left was stopped with some force and the score remained level at nil. Poetic justice the the visitors perhaps.

One last fresh player in red came on and it was the new signing Phillipe Coutinho.

But it was a mere blip on the radar when West Brom’s Mulumbu fired a wicked shot from 25 yards out and Pepe Reina just got fingers on it to earn West Brom a corner from their first shot of the night. 81 minutes in and on their second shot of the night West Bromwich Albion made themselves giant killers once again when Gareth McAuley headed a goal onto the underside of the bar and knocked in a shocker of a goal to silence the home crowd an turn the tables upside down. Five minutes later West Brom made their second substitution when Marc-Antoine Fortune replaced Shane Long.

The final nail was shockingly hammered hammered in the coffin when Lukaku converted his 90th minute chance after beating Daniel Agger in a foot race toward goal. Anfield’s 44,000 was unsurprisingly cut well short of that after the goal.

Luis Suarez was booked shortly before the end when his attempt at earning a free kick was seen as nothing but a dive and the Uruguayan was shown his eighth yellow card of the season; two short of a two match ban.

That was the last action of the match until the final whistle sounded at 95 minutes and 24 seconds. A horrendous result for the home side as the final score was Liverpool nil, West Bromwich Albion, two.

West Brom have well over a week before their next match back at the midlands when mid table Sunderland come and try to climb back up the table.

Liverpool are back to their European travels on Thursday when they make the trip to Saint Petersburg to face Russian Premier League champions Zenit in the round of 32. The Sunday after that Brendan Rodgers has familiar visitors when Swansea City come to Anfield looking for a second straight win at the famous ground.

Until then
–AK

A Team of Carraghers

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The song we sing for one of the greatest centre backs to ever play the game seems to be taking bigger steps to a reality. Everyone in the game, players, pundits, managers and all staff lucky enough to have worked with this great man will all say the same thing, Carra lives and breathes football. I don’t think it’s even a question of if he will become Liverpool manager, but WHEN he wants it and when the time is right.

Imagine, his attitude instilled to a squad of players who would look at him like he looked at Kenny. The attitude of, you never stop or give up til the job is done. Personally I love seeing a manager celebrating a goal but how often do you see Carra run to the scorer if it’s 1-0 or in the first half or if we aren’t 6-0 up? Not very, is the answer, he knows there is a job to do for the rest of the game before he can let himself go, such is the professionalism of the great man.PHOTO_12773340_173471_30113255_ap[1]

A lot of “funny” football twitter pages and forums keep pointing out he has scored 7 goals against Liverpool and that only 2 more players have scored more against us, but I genuinely do not see it as a bad thing. Those of us who have read his book will know he used to not look forward to marking Didier Drogba and to be fair who would? The fact there are only 2 players to score more against us than him, says to me that he has managed to shut out and stop more strikers in the world, and do it with such aplomb, that in the 16 years he has played for us, only 2 players have managed to break him down more than him being very unfortunate by trying to do his job. Keep in mind that he will have played against these guys a crazy number of times in so many seasons in the leagues and cups, names that will include great players like Alan Shearer, Drogba, Rooney, Bergkamp and Giggs.

You cannot fault anything about the man, yes his pace started to leave him, but if any of you can say you are quicker than him when you are 30+ then please let me know where you are and I will come and sign you for my Sunday team. He is everything that the club stands for, die hard, work hard, play harder and a great leader. This legend will never walk alone and I cannot wait to see him in the dugout next to Brendan or on his own, instilling his ideals into his team of Carraghers in the not too distant future.

Thank you Carra.

Carragher to retire at end of the season

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Liverpool Football Club have released this statement about our vice-captain:

Jamie Carragher has today announced that he is to leave Liverpool Football Club at the end of the season and will be retiring from football.

The Reds defender has enjoyed a glittering career at Anfield, having joined the club’s youth system aged nine before going on to make his first-team debut in January 1997 against Middlesbrough. He has subsequently made more than 700 senior appearances for Liverpool, winning a host of major honours. He is second only to Ian Callaghan in the club’s all-time appearance table.article-2274952-1756F40D000005DC-973_634x582[1] The 35-year-old has made the announcement this week to end speculation surrounding his future.

He will continue to concentrate his efforts on helping Brendan Rodgers’ side achieve success in the Barclays Premier League this season and the on-going Europa League campaign.

Carragher said: “This will be my last season at Liverpool and my last as a professional footballer.

“I’m making this announcement now because I don’t want the manager or the club to be answering questions on my future when I’ve already decided what I am going to do.

“I will be fully committed between now and the end of the season to doing the very best for Liverpool Football Club, as I’ve done my entire career since joining aged just nine-years-old.

“It has been a privilege and an honour to represent this great club for as long as I have and I am immensely proud to have done so and thankful for all the support I have had. There are many memories I want to share and people to thank, but now is not the time for that.

“I won’t be making any further comment on this decision until the end of the season; all our focus and concentration should be on achieving the best possible finish in the league this season and trying to win the last remaining trophy we are competing in.”