Aspas not happy with form

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Liverpool’s Summer signing from Spain, Iago Aspas, has expressed his disappointment at failing to score in any of the club’s first four league games.


Aspas netted three times in preseason after an early arrival from Celta Vigo, but he has so far failed to make much impact at all in competitive football for his new club.

The 26 year old started the first three league games of the season and was a substitute against Swansea on Monday night during the 2-2 draw.

And the Spaniard has admitted that he is not happy with his lack of goals so far this season.aspas

“Over the last four or five seasons I haven’t gone as many games as this without a goal,” Aspas told the club’s official website.

“I’ve never been an out-and-out goalscorer but it’s true that over the last three seasons I have scored quite a number of goals.


“I suppose on a personal level I’m not entirely happy as I would want to be because I still feel I can do better.

“I’m working hard every day to improve and to be able to show that on the pitch to my team-mates.”

Aspas could be set to return to the starting eleven tomorrow against Southampton as Philippe Coutinho has been ruled out for at least a month after a nasty challenge by Swansea’s Ashley Williams on Monday evening.

The Spaniard is looking forward to a successful season for the Reds.

“What I have done is aimed at playing as many games as possible and to try and help the team to get into the top four, which I think is the most important thing for us,” he added.

“It’s all about focusing on the group as a whole in order to qualify for the Champions League.”


Dalglish defends return spell

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Kenny Dalglish has defended his second spell in charge of the club and said that winning trophies is a better indicator of success than finishing in the top four of the Premier League.

kennyDalglish made a dramatic return to Anfield in January 2011 after FSG had sacked Roy Hodgson as manager. The Scot was put in charge until the end of the 2010/11 season, but so good was the form shown under him by the team the owners offered him a three year deal to stay on as manager.

The team went on to win the League Cup and almost made it a domestic cup double but were closely beaten 2-1 by Chelsea in the FA Cup final. Dalglish says those trips to Wembley and winning the first silverware in six years for the club were better than claiming a Champions League spot.

“What those boys achieved in 2012 was fantastic. To win the Carling Cup and to get to an FA Cup Final was beyond any expectations.” he told the Mirror.

“People will turn around and say we finished eighth in the league, but how many points would you swap for three Wembley trips (including the FA Cup semi-final win?


“Because of the cup runs, it was probably a reason why the league results were not what we had hoped for, but the lads were fantastic and that can only stand them in good stead.”

The Carling Cup win was not a pretty victory, with Dalglish’s side claiming the trophy on penalties after a scrappy 2-2 draw with the then Championship side – but he says he wouldn’t swap that for fourth place.

“Nowadays it’s also a success to finish in the top four and get into the Champions League.

“It might be more rewarding to qualify in Europe after finishing fourth, but who remembers that game when you finished fourth to get there?

“Winning a cup final against Cardiff at Wembley and walking away with the Carling Cup was a day to remember.”

 

Sakho aiming to make impact at Anfield

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sakhoMamadou Sakho is looking to make a big impact on the club after making his debut against Swansea City in Monday’s 2-2 draw.

The decision to leave his beloved Paris Saint-Germain was not taken lightly after spending over a decade at his home town club.

Club president Nasser Al-Khelaifi even went as far as to describe him as “a child of the club” earlier this summer and was keen for the big defender to stay at PSG.

But with Brazilian pair Thiago Silva and Alex already occupying the two starting berths and the arrival of £30m Marquinhos from Roma, Sakho had decided it was time to move on to new pastures.

“Of course coming here was a big step for me,” said Sakho.

“I’d been with Paris Saint-Germain from the age of 12 but there comes a time in every player’s life when you have to make some career choices.

“I had achieved everything I had wanted to do with Paris Saint-Germain. We had won the title, and I made the decision a while ago that I wanted to take on something else.

“I knew I wanted to experience a different culture and learn new things and when Liverpool came in for me I was easily convinced. I was happy to leave in the end.

“It’s all going well for me here so far. I’ve settled in quickly. I left Paris to join an ambitious club and I’m very excited about the project here.”

Sakho grew up in the Goutte d’Or neighbourhood of Paris – which was nicknamed ‘Little Africa’. He showed signs of his talent from a young age, but he wasn’t channelling his abilities and was threatened with removal from the PSG academy.

He even considered quitting the sport when just fourteen after his father passed away, but he decided to use it as inspiration to push him on and show a new dedication – and he managed to break into the first team just three years later and the tender age of seventeen.

“I grew up in an area of Paris that isn’t all sweet and nice,” he said.

“At that age, you have to put yourself about a bit and earn some respect. When I was 14 I tried to impose myself a bit on the other players around me, but it was soon made clear to me that I needed to focus and concentrate, go to bed early and work hard.

“It was a bit physical, a bit verbal. I was just a teenager. It was made clear that if I didn’t step back in line, I would be in trouble.

“When you are that age, your mum can say ‘you have to be in bed by 10pm’ but the man at the youth centre telling me?The response was what you would expect – ‘you are not my dad, who are you to tell me?’

“But I soon learned that I had to focus. I had to conform and do the right thing. It was for my own good.


“The rebellious phase was a bit before the death of my father but I decided after that to take a step back and I concentrated on becoming a professional footballer. Life was pretty hard at that time but I took it on as an obligation to myself to become a pro and all that comes with it.

“I wanted to provide for my family and, at the same time, indulge my passion for football.”

Sakho went on to play over 200 times for PSG and was named captain – making him the youngest in the club’s history.

But things went downhill for him after the club started spending vast fortunes of money on new signings under the current Qatar based regime.

“There is a big project underway there and that reflects their ambition, but my situation was based more on my desire to genuinely compete and that is something I know I will have at Liverpool,” he said.

“It was an impulse to leave Paris Saint-Germain. There are so many new players coming into the club but they didn’t push me out. It was all about me wanting to go out and compete.

“They are two different styles, the influx of big money or building player by player to fill out the squad.

“The Paris model was very business-minded in that sense. But I have come here to a club that functions with a family mentality. That is what suits me and I feel already that we have everybody in this family group and we are all heading towards the same goal.”

Sakho could have made himself an even richer young man by signing a new deal with the French club or waiting until next Summer to leave and cash in on a Bosman free move – but he jumped at the chance to switch to the Premiership with Liverpool.

“For me the price they paid is of no significance,” he said.

“Personally I am not bothered by it. I have been brought here to fill a need of the club. The most important thing is to come here and wear the shirt with pride and to take the club as high as possible.

“I came here for the football, not the money. I had a year left on my contract and in four months I could have signed for someone on a Bosman. I put football and the chance to move here above personal gain.

“There are a lot of very good players at Liverpool and the club has shown great ambition for this season. They have big ambitions for the Premier League and obviously the clear objective of qualifying for the Champions League.

“That appealed to me as did the chance to move to another country and to another culture. I think I will be suited to the English style of play too.

“For me, the Premier League is the best competition in the world. It demands a great deal of rigour and concentration from all players and that can only help me develop as a person and as a player.

“I felt I had done it all with Paris and that it was time for me to turn the page. This is a new page in the history of Liverpool and for me – I want to make my mark on that page.”

Agger set to return against Saints

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AggerDaniel Agger is set to return to the Liverpool side to face Southampton at Anfield tomorrow after missing the 2-2 draw with Swansea City on Monday evening.

Agger scored the winner in a 1-0 win over the Saints in the corresponding fixture last season.

Mamadou Sakho stepped into the side in his place to partner Martin Skrtel to face the Welsh side, but he is likely to drop to the bench after a mixed bag of a debut for the club.

Attacking midfielder Philippe Coutinho will definitely miss the game as he requires shoulder surgery and is likely to sit out the next month to six weeks thanks to a callous challenge from Ashley Williams.

Iago Aspas and Raheem Sterling are pushing for a recall in place of the Brazilian.

The game marks the end of the 10 game suspension currently being served by Luis Suarez – who is likely to return to the fold against Manchester United in the league cup next week.

Coutinho out for six weeks

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Philippe Coutinho is expected to be out of action for six weeks after picking up a shoulder injury in the Premier League clash with Swansea.

The Brazilian playmaker was brought off on Monday night following a clash with Ashley Williams, and the club today confirmed the 21-year-old will require surgery and won’t return until late October.

A statement on the official Liverpool website said:

After being assessed by the Reds medical staff, it’s been decided that Coutinho will now have surgical stabilisation on the AC joint in his shoulder.

Liverpool hope to have the 21-year-old back in contention again towards the end of October.

The news will no doubt come as a blow to Brendan Rodgers – with Coutinho central to the manager’s plans.

Rush says it’s too early for revival talk

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Reds legend Ian Rush believes that the current team will face a test of their credentials in the upcoming trio of fixtures that lay ahead of them.

UntitledLiverpool have made their best start to a league season for almost twenty years after adding a point in last night’s 2-2 draw with Swansea to the nine collected in wins over Stoke City, Aston Villa and Manchester United.

Rush is not ready to herald a revival and a new era just yet though and is looking forward to seeing how the side fare against struggling and unfancied sides.

“It’s way too early to say Liverpool are back, we are only four games into a season,” Rush told Gulf News.

“The next three games — Southampton at home, Sunderland away and Crystal Palace at home — will give us more of an idea. They are the games, particularly the home games, that you have to start winning if you want to be in the top four.

“We’ve had a great start, but in the last couple of seasons it’s been the games that we’ve been expected to win that we’ve lost. And they are typical games like Southampton because they will come here and be happy with a draw.

“Games against Manchester United and Manchester City don’t worry me because I know we are going to play well against them. But Southampton and Palace will up their game because they want to come away saying ‘we won at Anfield’. We have to have the same mentality against Southampton as we do with Man United.”

Rush also commented on last night’s encounter with Swansea that saw the end of the Reds’ 100% record.

“I thought we played well. Having been 2-1 up you can feel a bit disappointed that we didn’t get the three points, but I think we take it as a point gained because we got beaten there last season.”

“It’s nice to see Liverpool top of the league again. It’s important not just for our supporters but the players to have that winning mentality and confidence. Now they don’t want to lose and they will be fighting that little bit harder.”

Striker’s agent rues Reds move

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The agent of Fabio Borini has stated that it is his belief that his client should never have left Roma to join Liverpool.

boriniBorini’s representative, Marco De Marchi, says that ex-boss Zdenek Zeman at Roma would be a much better mentor for his client.

Following a £10m move from the Italian capital to Anfield in the Summer of 2012, Borini managed just two goals in an injury hit season and has now moved to Sunderland on a season long loan deal under the guidance of compatriot Paolo di Canio.

Borini is aiming to play a key part in Sunderland’s battle against the drop this season and will be hoping not to have to go through further operations on his ankle or shoulder.

De Marchi feels that he would be better off had he never moved to Anfield in the first place though.

“I think Fabio would have been perfect for the game of Zdenek Zeman, who was then the coach of Roma, but the decision to leave the capital came from both sides,” De Marchi told Radio Mana Mana.

“Everything was concluded very quickly, without a chance for us to talk to the coach. Having said that I still believe Roma was the best possible for Fabio.”

Borini has made one substitute appearance for Sunderland so far, in the 3-1 home defeat to Arsenal.

Carra admits he stopped talking to fellow Red

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Former Reds vice captain Jamie Carragher admitted last night on Sky Sports Monday Night Football that he had stopped speaking to Jose Enrique towards the end of his Anfield career.

Along with former Manchester United full-back Gary Neville, Carragher was discussing the differences between British and foreign defenders and their methods and styles of play.

And Carragher admitted that he had given up on working out Jose Enrique’s style of play.

“I stopped talking to Enrique in the end, I had no idea what he was going to do and he didn’t listen to me anyway.”

Rodgers: Coutinho injury changed the game

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Brendan Rodgers feels that Philippe Coutinho’s injury early in the second half of last night’s 2-2 draw at the Liberty Stadium swung the game in favour of their opponents.

Jonjo Shelvey had given Swansea the lead against his former club in the opening minutes before Daniel Sturridge then Victor Moses netted to put the Reds ahead.

coutinhoLiverpool appeared to be in control, but then 10 minutes into the second half Coutinho was forced off by a waist-high challenge from Ashley Williams which resulted in the playmaker landing awkwardly on his shoulder.

Swansea had levelled through Michu within 10 minutes of Coutinho’s departure and Rodgers believes the injury changed the game.

“It was a very good game to watch on TV,” he told Sky Sports.

“I thought the assessment was simple. In the first 65 minutes, we were very good, both with and without the ball, and we looked really in control for that first 25 minutes.

“We showed great character to come from behind so early on in the game, but probably young Coutinho going off disrupted the flow of our game.

Then they get the second goal, which we can defend better on, and the last 20, 25 minutes, they’ve got the momentum, and we had to show resilience and character.”

Rodgers claimed not to have seen the challenge that ended the Coutinho’s game, but said that he’s hopeful the Brazilian won’t miss any gametime as a result of it.

“I haven’t seen the tackle. He’s very sore in the changing room, and we’re hoping it will only be bruising.” he added.

Swansea City 2 – 2 Liverpool

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Victor Moses made a scoring start to his Liverpool career, but it wasn’t enough to secure victory for his side as they had to settle for a 2-2 draw with Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium.

Moses was one of two players making their debut for the club, with Mamadou Sakho being selected to partner Martin Skrtel in the absence of Daniel Agger – the vice-captain missing due to a knock.

Former Red Jonjo Shelvey was in the Swansea lineup to face his old club, and the midfielder got his side off to the perfect start – netting from close range in the second minute.

Within minutes though Shelvey had gone from hero to villain, as his underhit backpass gifted Daniel Sturridge with a one-on-one opportunity which the in-form forward was all to happy to take full advantage of.

The goal saw Sturridge become the first Liverpool player to score in the first four league games of a season since John Aldridge in 1987.

Having recovered from the early setback Liverpool settled into the game, and dominated possession. Swansea for the most part were happy to let the visitors play keep-ball at the back, but shut up shop any time the Reds ventured forward.

Chinks in the Swansea armour seemed to show as the half wore on though, and Moses in particular was looking a threat down the left flank on several occasions.

The Reds put themselves in front nine minutes before the break, and it was Moses who found the back of the net. The on-loan Chelsea forward carried the ball to the edge of the box before firing his shot into the bottom corner.

The home side went straight on the offensive from the restart, and had two golden opportunities to equalise within minutes. Michu’s shot was well saved by Simon Mignolet though, whilst an excellent last-ditch challenge from Skrtel took right off Wilfried Bony’s foot as he was about to level the scores.

Liverpool managed to maintain their lead going into the break, but the Swans had shown that they weren’t going to make winning easy for the Reds.

The second half started in the same manner that the first had ended, with Swansea pushing for an equaliser. Liverpool for their part still looked threatening, but that all changed following a cynical challenge by Ashley Williams on Philippe Coutinho.

The Brazilian nudged the ball past the Swansea defender, who then left his leg suspended in the air so as to catch his opponent in the midriff. Whilst from the line of site of the referee the incident looked innocent enough, subsequent replays showed the act was quite deliberate on the part of Williams.

After receiving treatment on the sidelines Coutinho returned to the pitch, but minutes later asked to come off – appearing to be in considerable pain.

With one of Liverpool’s best creative options being forced off, the tide turned further in the favour of Swansea. The equaliser came midway through the second half and again Shelvey was involved, flicking the ball on for Michu to slot home.

The closing exchanges of the game were almost completely one-way traffic, as the Reds had to weather a storm to secure a point. Despite a few hairy moments though they held on, the draw being enough to send Liverpool back to the top of the league ahead of Arsenal and Tottenham.