Shelvey pleased to see Lucas back

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Jonjo Shelvey has backed Lucas Leiva to have an immediate impact in the first-team once he makes his latest return from injury in the coming weeks.


Lucas was injured early against Manchester City in the first home Premiership game of the season back in August and was replaced by Shelvey in that game.

The Brazilian made a return to action yesterday for the Reds’ U21 side in a 1-0 win over Middlesbrough – with the midfielder seeing an hour of action.Jonjo-Shelvey[1]

“I think he has been a big miss,” Shelvey said.

“In the holding role, his tenacity and willingness to get the ball back and then the way he is able to keep it simple has been missed.”

“I think Joe Allen has done very well in his absence but Lucas is a brilliant player. Over the last few years he has been tremendous. Ever since he came to this club he has been superb.”


“You see what he does in training every day. He’s so determined to get back playing and when he returns he is going to be a great asset to the squad.”

Brendan Rodgers has stated that he hopes to see Lucas back in the first-team mix soon, but he will not be risking him against Swansea in Wales on Sunday afternoon.

Shelvey will certainly hope to be involved after scoring another Europa League goal against Young Boys on Thursday evening.

After beating Wigan 3-0 last Saturday, Shelvey is feeling confident that his side can push on and challenge for a Champions League place this season.

“Swansea pass and move so it will be a good footballing game on a big pitch,” he said. “We’ve got to get in their faces and let them know that we are the team not to be underestimated this time.”

“The other teams’ results always come in when we get off the pitch and you always go and have a look,” he said. “But I don’t think we can pay too much attention to what other teams are doing at this stage because there is still a long way to go in the season.

“But at the end of the season, I think we will be in and around the top four.”


Liverpool 2 – 2 Young Boys

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By EddieC, 23-11-2012, 11:15:01

Liverpool had an opportunity to book their place in the last 32 of the Europa League with a game to spare, but failed to capitalise on it – drawing 2-2 with Swiss side Young Boys.

A late equaliser from Elsad Zverotic means the Reds’ hopes of moving into the knockout stage of the tournament will now be decided when they face Italian side Udinese in two weeks’ time.

Liverpool had taken the lead in the 33rd minute when Jonjo Shelvey headed home from close range following good play between Suso and Joe Cole.

Young Boys levelled the tie early in the second half, but Cole regained Liverpool’s advantage – finishing neatly at the Kop end on 72 minutes. But with time running out Liverpool appeared to lose their concentration a little, giving Zverotic the chance to keep his team in the competition with a fearsome drive.

From the word go Young Boys showed they weren’t overawed by the occasion and it was the away side who made the brighter start to the game – carving out two very early chances through Gonzalo Zarate and Raphael Nuzzolo.

Liverpool quickly began to find their stride though and began to produce some crisp football and sharp interchanges, the main architects being Suso, Cole and Shelvey.


The home side looked set to take the lead on 26 minutes when a deft flick from Shelvey put Jordan Henderson clean through on goal. Henderson looked set to score, but his shot was tipped around the bottom left-hand post by Marco Wolfli.

The Kop didn’t have to wait much longer for an opening goal though, with the breakthrough coming on 33 minutes. Cole played a lovely one-two with Suso that left him clear in the box. The former England international did well to chip the ball over the Young Boys keeper, and Jonjo Shelvey headed into an empty net.

Another great chance fell to the Reds on 42 minutes when Suso shot just wide from range, but Liverpool had to settle for a one goal lead going into the break.

Young Boys were not slow in reminding Liverpool that a one goal lead is never enough after the restart – Zverotic and Alex Farnerud both going close with long range efforts in the opening five minutes of the second half.

Liverpool didn’t heed the warning and the Swiss side fired themselves level on 52 minutes. Farnerud aimed a diagonal ball towards Raul Bobadilla, and the Argentinian fired a ferocious left footed half-volley straight into the top corner.

With the result in the balance Liverpool once again looked to their top scorer, Luis Suarez coming on to replace Suso shortly after the equaliser.

It didn’t take long for the Reds to get their noses back in front, and Joe Cole slotted home from Gerrard’s pass on 72 minutes with a confidence that has been missing from his game in previous outings.

Back in the lead, Liverpool pushed on in  search of a third goal that would kill the game off. An admirable attitude to have, but they commited too many men forward, leaving gaps at the back.

The Reds paid the price for their lack of defensive discipline, and Zverotic smashed home a left-footed shot in the dying minutes of the game to ensure that Europa League Group A won’t be decided until matchday six.

Rafa Benitez – unfinished business?

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Tonight, as I write, it has just been announced that Rafael Benitez is to take over as Chelsea manager.

This will both worry and disappoint many Liverpool fans who still revere him and look upon his reign as a golden era for LFC.

The thought of him taking the reins at one of our most bitter rivals rankles somewhat, especially given the fractious, hostile relationship the two clubs have.

It is possible that a move to Stamford Bridge could cause irreparable damage to the special relationship that Benitez has with our club and its fans. There are many fans that hope that one day, Benitez will return to Liverpool, to continue what some consider to be unfinished business.article-2310891-195AE62E000005DC-663_634x350[1]

Being Liverpool manager seemed to be Benitez’s calling, and evidently he regarded it as more than just his job. He cultivated an extraordinary bond with the city, and an enduring mutual affection between him and the fans that somehow transcended football. It is unpalatable to imagine this bond being fractured but taking over at Chelsea may test even his biggest advocate’s loyalty.

That said, I don’t blame Benitez for taking over at Stamford Bridge – he is a top class manager and free agent after all – and deserves to manage at the highest level. And then there’s the money – I would defy anyone not to accept such a lucrative job offer were they in his shoes. The fact that Chelsea have had 9 managers in as many years should serve as a warning that the relationship between manager and owner at Chelsea is a fragile one, with Roman Abramovich ever impatient and anxious to see immediate returns on his investments. He is nothing if not ruthless.

This is of course, not of any concern to Liverpool fans. The frequency with which Chelsea dispose of their managers helps rather than hinders their rivals, and as such we should greet the news of Roberto Di Matteo’s sacking with glee.

But Rafa Benitez? Our Rafa Benitez?!

He just seems way too much of a class act to be associated with them. It is already evident that there is much opposition to his appointment from the Chelsea fans – their ingratitude makes my blood boil. It comes as no surprise to me that they are devoid of class and common sense and are oblivious to the fact that Benitez’s record is outstanding and achieved with a fraction of the resources that have been available to them in recent years.

I’ve heard voices of dissent from Liverpool fans too, outraged at Benitez’s “betrayal” of Liverpool.
But what was he to do? He was sacked by the club he loved, then when it seemed that he may get a second chance he was overlooked in the summer in favour of Brendan Rodgers. That is pretty shoddy treatment in my book.

It’s not a betrayal of us, if anything he was betrayed by Liverpool. We moved on, and so must Rafa. We really can’t justify complaining about that he’s accepted another job, even if it is at Chelsea.

I know I am not alone in feeling that we should never have got rid of Rafa. He loved Liverpool, he fought for Liverpool, even when woefully short of allies. He stood up to Hicks and Gillette, recognising their corrosive effect on the club and doing his upmost to resist it. He endured boardroom warfare, and being undermined and ridiculed by the owners but was determined to fight on.

Moreover, he restored Liverpool’s pride, dragged us from mediocrity back into European greats, whilst bringing us closer to winning the league than any manager in 20 years. With Valencia he succeeded in the monumental task of breaking Real Madrid and Barcelona’s stranglehold on La Liga and he did it with limited resources – and this is no mean feat. I am at a loss as to how anyone could dismiss him as being a poor manager.

For me, any Liverpool manager from now on will be compared unfavourably to Benitez, it is difficult to avoid this juxtaposition. The best way I can describe it is like breaking up with the love of your life, then feeling that no one who comes along afterwards, however wonderful, will ever compare.

I would not expect any better from large sections of the media but I am perplexed the hostile attitude of some Liverpool fans towards Benitez.

Incidentally, I feel it prudent to point out that my affection for Benitez does not mean that I am anti Brendan Rodgers and I certainly don’t advocate getting rid of him. He’s a good young manager who needs time and the backing of the fans and it’s the very least we should afford him. Fans who suggest otherwise are deluded and irrational and it quite frankly embarrasses me that we have such small minded idiots in our midst.

But I digress.


Whenever I reflect on the Benitez era, I am immersed in nostalgia. It pains me to think that it was only 4 or 5 years ago that we were bossing Champions League matches in Milan, Madrid and Barcelona. What I wouldn’t do for that right now.

For me, it was unmitigated folly to sack Benitez, so although I have nothing against Brendan Rodgers per se , it’s difficult to embrace him as a manager when he was preceded by such a esteemed manager, whose achievements were so outstanding.

I loved the way he didn’t care one jot what the press thought of him, which was just as well because by and large they were myopic, xenophobic and intolerant of him and his methods. I’ve written in the past about the xenophobia that surrounds Luis Suarez and how he is treated differently by the press than his peers and I feel that Benitez was subjected to similar treatment which was entirely unfair.

They didn’t understand him, they didn’t want to. They chose to completely ignore his record as a manager, ever going so far as trying to re write history in their desperation to denigrate and belittle him and his achievements.

They castigated him for “rotating” players. They demonised him for zonal marking and criticised his meticulousness, his lack of ‘warmth’, his reluctance to praise the players, he couldn’t do anything right -you name the stick, they beat him with it.

They mistook (or deliberately misread) his calm, unflappable demeanour for arrogance. But he didn’t care, and we loved him for it.

Some people have no appreciation for the fact that he worked wonders with a largely unsatisfactory team he inherited from Gerard Houllier. Some sections of the media bizarrely had a profound, perplexing distaste for a manager whose 6 year reign heeded silverware aplenty and it is baffling and infuriating that his triumph in Istanbul was belittled as a fluke.

We beat Fabio Capello’s Juventus, Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea and Carlo Ancelotti’s AC Milan for crying out loud. Can this be done without managerial knowledge or skill? Or tactical aptitude? I think not.

Even the astounding accomplishment of winning the Champions League aside, (which was achieved with such mediocre players as Traore, Smicer and Biscan) we went on to reach another final in Athens in 2007 and a semi final in 2008 – hardly a ‘fluke’.

I’m not so naive to believe that my opinions won’t be met with vehement opposition by some, nor am I blind to Benitez’s flaws. He had them, in abundance some might say. Prior to his sacking, there were poor results aplenty, justified criticism of his style, methods, team selection and transfer activity, and the added complication of his pivotal role in the behind the scenes unrest.

But I do wonder whether the press’ perpetual negativity towards Benitez seeped into the psyche of some of our fans who continue to criticise Benitez and would not have him back at Liverpool if he were the only manager in the world.

But sacking him was absurd. After all his success, would it really have been so difficult to afford him more time? Would we be in such as bad position as we are now if he was still at the helm? I very much doubt it.

The fact of the matter is that no one in their right mind would not swap our current mediocrity for the exalted Benitez days.

Those of you who deride Benitez, and are critical of him and his tenure will no doubt find rich pickings in this piece. It always puzzles me how people can be so disrespectful and vitriolic towards him – I reflect on his tenure with immense pride and a longing for the days that we were a force in Europe and real contestants in the league. Rafa Benitez gave me some of my very best memories as a Liverpool fan and for that I will always be grateful.

Maybe I am being over sentimental, but LFC and Rafa shared a mutual affection, and the reverberations of his hasty removal from his post will be felt for years.

He polarized opinion and still does, but for me he is inimitable.

YNWA Rafa and I hope you do well, but not too well now you’re at Chelsea.

The next six weeks

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There have been signs over the past few weeks that things are gradually coming together for this Liverpool team.  Players are beginning to get to grips with the tactics and style of play, and Rodgers is making changes which seem to be coming off.  One of the things which annoyed many of us after the United game was there was talk in the press of ‘relegation’ – something not seen at this club since 1954.

They argued that 2pts from 5 games could at least see Liverpool finish outside the top 10.

Of course this was ludicrous as you had to take into account three of those games were against Champions League teams.  We were a stray backpass away from beating Man City and referee’s decision or two, close to beating Man Utd too.  What we were waiting for was the fixture schedule to sort itself out and we would have a period of time with some easier games.jose-enrique-620-225591014-3004148[1]

That time could be now.

Over the next 6 weeks Liverpool has the likes of Southampton, Aston Villa, Fulham, Stoke, QPR and Sunderland to play, all of whom could conceivably be more realistic ‘bottom-half’ sides.  The only ‘tough’ game is likely to be at White Hart Lane, against a Tottenham side who have their own troubles to contend with.  Having said that, visiting Swansea on Sunday is likely to be another test but the form we are currently in, you could argue we are in the best shape we have been to take them on since Swansea came up at the beginning of last season.

I’ve looked at the fixtures coming up and you could forgive me for struggling to find a potential defeat in there, but I think getting 1pt from the Swansea and Tottenham trips is probably realistic.  I can honestly see us winning all our home games against Southampton, Aston Villa, Fulham and Sunderland.  We should also win at QPR too, but could draw at Stoke and West Ham.

Where would that leave us come the turn of the year?  Well, we could certainly be level on points with Everton.  Their next 6 weeks look a complete nightmare.

Arsenal, Man City, Tottenham, Chelsea and Newcastle lay ahead for the blues between now and the New Year.  There is no doubt, Everton’s home form is good and so Tottenham could certainly be considered a home win there, but I’m not sure they have enough to do the same to Arsenal or Chelsea.  Trips to Man City and Newcastle could well end in defeat, and I certainly think they’ll do well to grabs draws at Stoke and West Ham.

Looking at two other clubs in the top eight, I have tried to look at where they could be by beginning of January.

West Brom are in good form, although mainly at home.  Their home games coming up are against Stoke, West Ham, Norwich and Fulham and you can honestly see them winning all of them, although Stoke and West Ham are the kind of teams to be able to get something from those games.  They travel to both Arsenal and Man Utd and so are unlikely to get anything from those games, and the same could happen at Swansea.  You can see them getting at least a point from a trip to Sunderland, yet I could see them struggle to beat QPR away from home.

Tottenham are the other team I looked at.  They’re in poor form at the moment with 3 straight defeats, although with 2 of them against Man City and Arsenal, Spurs fans could use the same argument as I have about our early season form.

The next 2 games are at home for Spurs, West Ham and Liverpool. The Hammers are doing ok and not easy to beat but have not won at White Hart Lane in their last 11 attempts, scoring just once in that time.  With these two matches I have made the assumption Spurs will get 4pts, although they could win or draw either game.

A trip to Goodison Park should end in defeat, and they could conceivably lose at Fulham too although they’ve only lost once in the league at Craven Cottage in their last 6 visits.  So I have assumed they get a point at Fulham and also at Villa.  I can see both Swansea and Stoke coming away with a point each from their trips to ‘The Lane’ and so their only other wins may well come against Sunderland and Reading.

In conclusion, here is where the teams may well be after 2nd January 2013.

PTS
5th   West Brom   38
6th   Tottenham   37
7th   Liverpool   33
8th   Everton   33

Well, I think the top 4 at the end of the year will be as many would expect.  Man City, Man Utd, Chelsea and Arsenal.  This then leaves West Brom and Tottenham closely chasing a Europa League place, with the two Merseyside clubs still needing to make up ground.

But a lot can happen over the next three months.  Liverpool may well spend big on a striker, Tottenham could well be under new management and West Brom could suffer from injuries, a small squad, bad luck or all three.

But Liverpool could again have a tough 4 week period in January when they have to travel to Old Trafford, The Emirates and The Etihad Stadiums.  After travelling to City they then entertain West Brom at Anfield,in a game which could be crucial if they are to progress to a European place.

What Liverpool can look forward to from the fixture schedule is that their run-in during March and April is not particularly tough but Chelsea, Newcastle and Everton await them amongst their final 5 matches.

Still a long way to go.

Sterling questioned over assault

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Raheem Sterling has been questioned by police over an alleged assault on a woman.

The Liverpool Echo reports that the 17-year-old reported to a Merseyside police station to answer questions under caution.

A police spokeswoman said: “Merseyside Police can confirm that a 17-year-old male from the Woolton area was interviewed under caution, following a report of an assault on Friday 2 November.Raheem Sterling

“A 27-year-old woman received slight injuries during the incident in the Liverpool 8 area. At this time, the investigation is ongoing and no formal action has been taken.”

Sterling has been in fine form for the Reds this season, and his performances resulted in the winger making his England debut last week against Sweden.

At the time of writing there has been no comment from the club or the player.

Morgan should get his chance

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“Take a look at this kid here, he listens, learns and works his socks off, and he will get his rewards.” Those were the words of Brendan Rodgers about Adam Morgan during his disciplinary with Raheem Sterling on the clubs pre-season tour of North America.

Despite the manager’s praise, Rodgers has only allocated Morgan two Europa League games this season and chose to go with Samed Yesil for the Capital One Cup defeat to his former club Swansea at Anfield. Due to the long term injury of Fabio Borini and failure of signing a striker in the summer transfer window following Andy Carroll’s loan move to West Ham, a lot has (well I say a lot), all has depended on Luis Suarez to score the goals needed to keep the Reds on track until January. Only Raheem Sterling, Steven Gerrard, Nuri Sahin and Jose Enrique have been the other goal scorers for us in the Premier League this season. For a team that needs to be fighting for a European place come May, that is not enough and needs more firepower.article-2043546-0D34260D000005DC-939_468x286[1]

I know the manager has stated on several occasions that he will be strengthening the squad in the January transfer window after talks with the clubs American Owners and we still have Fabio Borini to return from injury, however for all Borini’s effort, he is not going to be a clinical goal scorer for us unless he vastly improves on the first impression he gave before he suffered his injury on international duty. He seems to be our new Dirk Kuyt, who will work his socks off, track back, create chances and chip in with the odd goal now and again.

There is no chance of Andy Carroll returning from West Ham either as Rodgers has made it clear the 6ft 5in centre forward will never be part of his plans. I like Carroll and a big fan of his however, due to the manager’s style of play; I understand were he is coming from.

No one knows quite how much FSG will allow Rodgers to spend during January and I can’t see it being much unless fringe players are moved on to generate more funds. Therefore, although I would buy another striker, I would like to see Adam Morgan given an opportunity.

I rate Morgan really highly, (much higher than other young forwards such as Michael Ngoo and Samed Yesil) and was very impressed with his most recent performance against Anzi in the Europa League. He showed passion, chased everything down, had chances himself and looked to create opportunities for the team. Morgan has an impressive goal to game ratio at youth level and at reserve team level and I would like to see him given the chance to stake his claim as part of Rodgers’ long term plans.

Some kopites have told me that he reminds them too much of Neil Mellor, who was excellent working his way up but never quite made an impression at 1st team level. However, that point could be argued as in 2005 during Rafa Benitez’ debut campaign, Mellor made a famous contribution with his winner against Arsenal and crucial goal against Olympiakos which seen us progress through to the Knockout Stage of the Champions League.

There is proof of strikers breaking their way through at Liverpool after a certain Robbie Fowler and Michael Owen were once given the chance to impress and both went onto be Liverpool Legends. I am not saying Morgan will be as good as them two but I hope Rodgers is true to his word and gives Morgan his reward for working hard as he could go on to have a good career at the club he supported as a boy.

By all means, sign another striker but make sure academy graduates like Morgan are given a chance to succeed and help us score more goals to move up the table. It could just save us from another expensive gamble in the transfer market.

Martinez accuses Suarez of stamp

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Wigan Athletic boss Roberto Martinez accused Luis Suarez of a stamp in today’s game at Anfield.

The Spaniard has claimed that the in-form striker stamped on midfielder David Jones in the 63rd minute of the match Suarez struck twice in.

Luis-Suarez-22-432x324[1]

 

“He was very fortunate because there was a stamp on David Jones that the referee didn’t see,” Martinez said.

“That wasn’t the sign of a top player. He was fortunate today. He was lucky.”

“I have not mentioned it to the referee,” Martinez added.

“The things that may happen on a football pitch should be judged by the referee. Those are the incidents that happen. It wasn’t a nasty game, a bad game.

“But when you see the replay it is a clear stamp.

“It could have been a red card if the referee had seen it. But I am not one to look back.”

Martinez has not been afraid to speak out this season after questioning a very generous penalty given against his side at Old Trafford earlier this season after what looked a clear dive by Danny Welbeck.

Suarez has been labelled a diver several times this season, charged with using racist language a year ago and now he is being accused of violent conduct – all this while shooting the top of the Premiership goalscoring charts.

Liverpool 3 – 0 Wigan Athletic

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By jpa90, 17-11-2012, 18:15:48

Liverpool got back to winning ways in the Premier League as they beat Wigan Athletic 3-0 at Anfield. A goal from Jose Enrique and two strikes from Luis Suarez ensured the Reds took all three points and moved up to 11th in the Premier League table. Wigan were unable to create many chances and despite containing the home side for the first half, they could not stop an extremely in-form Suarez from netting two goals in 11 minutes after the restart.

The sides exchanged possession early on and José Enrique was the first to threaten Wigan’s goal when he pounced on a loose ball and hit a low shot just outside the far post. A slip from Franco Di Santo allowed Liverpool to break from midfield and despite a clever dummy to find himself with a shooting opportunity, Suso had his shot blocked. Daniel Agger also got up well during a corner but his effort was turned around the post by Ali Al Habsi. After a difficult game at Stamford Bridge last week, the Reds were keen to prove their intent early on.

Space was opening up for Liverpool deep into the visitor’s half and Suarez had another shot blocked on the edge of the 18-yard box. Wigan were calm once they had won back possession and were efficient in moving the ball into attack. The visitors were keen to test Pepe Reina after returning from injury but the Spaniard was untroubled when Ben Watson smashed a shot over the bar after a decent lay-off from Arouna Koné. Reina was called into action when Koné hit a good shot from 35 yards, a speculative but accurate strike.

Liverpool won a free-kick and Steven Gerrard’s cross was deflected over the bar after he swung the ball into the box from the right-hand side. The ball fell to Glen Johson after the resulting corner but he smashed his shot high and wide. Al Habsi got his body firmly behind a fierce strike from Suso and the Reds were stepping up the intensity of their attack.

Raheem Stering collided with Watson on the edge of Liverpool’s penalty area and the Wigan midfielder limped off the pitch and could not continue. The visitors had two opportunities to threaten the Liverpool goal from free-kicks but they could not find the target on either attempt.

When Liverpool won the ball back they were quick to move into attack. Johnson accelerated down the left channel and delivered a fantastic ball into the Wigan area. His cross found Suso who got his head to the ball but he mistimed his jump, and his effort went flying over the bar. Despite having several decent attempts on goal, Rodgers substituted Suso for Jordan Henderson ten minutes before half-time.

Suarez looked dangerous with the ball when he ran at the Wigan defence and the Uruguayan was working hard to find space in order to receive the ball from midfield. The visitors were able to contain Liverpool’s fast-paced attacks and efficiently pressed the ball when the Reds were forced backwards.

Liverpool threatened again when Gerrard located Suarez in the box whose narrow shot was again blocked by Al Habsi. Joe Allen had his nose accidently gashed open just before half time after he tangled with Shaun Maloney and Liverpool played the last five minutes with ten men. Neither side could find the net however and the score was 0-0 at half time.

The home side had eight shots in the first half with only three being on target. The Reds stepped out wanting to make one of these chances count and their ninth chance became Suarez’s ninth Premier League goal of the season. With less than two minutes of the second half played, Sterling surged down the right wing and played a ball back to Suarez in the box. The striker hammered his shot into the top-right corner to make it 1-0.

Liverpool’s game plan had seemingly come together as they controlled possession and enjoyed knocking the ball around with confidence. Sterling was causing problems for the last line of Wigan’s defence with darting runs and accurate balls into the box. José Enrique collected the ball on the left wing and worked his way into the middle of Wigan’s half. He then played an inch-perfect pass into Suarez who had timed his run to perfection. The striker poked the ball past Al Habsi with the outside of his foot and doubled his side’s lead.

The Reds were finding space in threatening areas and Wigan could not hold onto the ball. Sterling exchanged a wonderful one-two with Suarez and Al Habsi got a fist to Sterling’s resulting effort. However the Wigan defence failed to pick up José Enrique who charged in and tapped home to make it 3-0. Seconds later the Spaniard provided Henderson with a golden opportunity to make it four, but the midfielder skied his half-volley.

Johnson also came close to adding to the home side’s lead when he linked up well with José Enrique and released a low shot just outside the box, only to see it skip just wide of the post. Again José Enrique provided a fantastic ball through the defence to give Suarez his hat-trick opportunity, but his shot swerved across the face of the goal and out for a goal kick.

Despite a fairly non-eventful first half, Liverpool took full advantage of their superior attack and punished Wigan with three deserved goals. The Reds extend their unbeaten run in the Premier League to seven games and Wigan remain 14th in the table.

Kopworld man of the match: Luis Suarez

Injury boost for Liverpool

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Liverpool have had good news on the injury front as Pepe Reina, Martin Skrtel and Jonjo Shelvey have all been passed fit.

The trio are in contention in time for Saturday’s home game against Wigan, providing a major boost to Brendan Rodgers’ squad – which is looking a little threadbare at present.

Daniel-Sturridge_11[1]

Reina hasn’t featured since picking up a hamstring injury on international duty last month whilst Skrtel and Shelvey missed out at Chelsea with a virus and thigh injury respectively. Daniel Agger – who withdrew from the Denmark squad with a tight groin – faces a late fitness test.

Lucas Leiva has also returned to training after being out with a thigh injury for the past 12 weeks, although it will be a week or two yet before the Brazilian is back to full fitness and he is not expected to feature against Wigan.

Suarez wants to stay

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Luis Suarez has stated his desire to stay with the club for as long as possible.

Reports on Thursday claimed that Roberto Mancini was preparing a bid in excess of £40m for the in-form Uruguayan frontman.luis-suarez_2542205b[1]

Suarez, who was named Reds player of the month for October, has said that he hopes to stick around at Anfield after putting pen to paper on a five year deal recently.

“I have a very long contract here and it’s a dream come true to be playing at a club like Liverpool because, as I’ve said, as a boy I dreamt of playing for a team like this,” Suarez told the club’s official website.

“Now I’m here, it’s all about enjoying myself and trying to be here for as many years as I can, because I’m at a club where I’m very happy, my family is happy, I’ve got fantastic teammates and a manager from whom I’m learning so much.”

Liverpool’s have not matched Suarez’s personal performances so far this season though, with just two league wins so far this season. Wigan are next up at Anfield this weekend and Suarez is keen to secure three points.

“Wigan is an absolute must-win fixture,” Suarez said.

“It’s a very important game for us to gain in confidence for the matches ahead and to get stronger here at Anfield, which is where we need to make the difference.”

“Let’s hope we can keep improving. I’m working well and I’m very happy at a club where I’ve always wanted to be. At a club to whom I’m very grateful for the trust everyone is showing in me – a club with amazing supporters and teammates who are all great people.

“The other important thing is that the squad is very united. In spite of not getting the results we would have liked, we have a great spirit of togetherness and let’s hope we can continue to pick up points.”