Lampard: Reds had to improve after their spending

Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard says that his team are above criticism. Chelsea’s money injection has seen them move to the top of the league, becoming champions last season, but it hasn’t been able to buy them the respect they feel they should have been given. Jose Mourinho criticises the opposition and the officials after every dropped point, and drew criticism from some Liverpool players after the first Champions League draw of this season at Anfield. Lampard seems to think only Chelsea are allowed to have a go though, saying: “I don’t think players should criticise teams that are successful and who are doing things the right way.”

He says that the Liverpool comments motivated Chelsea for the league game that took place a few days later: “I wouldn’t say they have got under our skin because we do focus on ourselves, but there were things said before the last Champions League game we weren’t happy with, we felt we had been talked about in a bad way.” Liverpool were beaten 4-1 in the league match, a scoreline that possibly represented who the better team were on the day, but not the margin of how much better they were.

Lampard says that after that win they were in a position to say anything they liked about Liverpool: “We came out and said that after we beat them in the league. I think we were in a fair position to do so after we beat them because we felt we had been talked about in a bad way and we put it right in the league game up there which is the main place to do your talking. Football can’t be a game where you hold grudges and worry about things for a long period of time because it will start to affect your performances.”

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Rafa disappointed with result

Birmingham City continue to be a bogey team for European Champions Liverpool, although there is a slight improvement this season to last. Birmingham managed to beat Liverpool both home and away last season, this season they’ve managed two draws. Last night they left it late to get their equaliser, two minutes of normal time remaining, and survived what looked sure to be a dream return for Fowler until a linesman’s flag brought celebrations to an end.

Rafael Benítez was unhappy to say the least: “I am very, very disappointed with the result. When you score a first goal you need to score the second one and finish the game, particularly when you are against 10 players. You need to control the game and create the chances to score the second goal.”

Liverpool created the chances, but as Rafa explained, they wouldn’t go in: “We created chances and their goalkeeper was again fantastic, but we needed to create more clear chances for scoring the second goal. As a manager you are disappointed if you don’t create chances, but if Garcia had scored a second goal or Kewell or Alonso had put their chances in then it would be different.”

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Premiership Result: Liverpool 1 Birmingham 1

Barclays Premiership Result.

Wed Feb 1st 2006

Liverpool 1 (Gerrard 62) – Birmingham 1 (Alonso OG 88)

Steven Gerrard put Liverpool in front on 62 minutes and then one minute
later an idol was back on the Anfield turf as Rafael Benitez gave
Robbie Fowler his second first-team debut for Liverpool. Birmingham
were down to ten men after Johnson was sent off on 28 minutes for a
dangerous challenge on another new boy – Daniel Agger. Gerrard was replaced by Alonso who then scored an
own goal two minutes from the end as Birmingham put the Reds under
pressure. Liverpool threw everything at Birmingham and saw a Robbie Fowler goal disallowed, not to mention saves and a shot onto the bar.

Liverpool: J Reina, S Finnan, S Hyypia, D Agger, J Riise, S Luis Garcia, S Gerrard (X Alonso, 72), D Hamann, H Kewell, P Crouch (R Fowler 63), F Morientes
Other subs: S Carson, J Carragher, S Warnock

Birmingham: M Taylor, M Melchiot, M Latka, M Upson, J Gray, J Pennant, N Kilkenny (O Tebily, 64), D Johnson, D Dunn (S Lazaridis, 34 (A Bruce, 90)), E Heskey, C Sutton
Other subs: N Vaesen, M Forssell
Sent off: D Johnson 28 (Serious foul play)

Ref: U Rennie
Attendance:
43,851
Half-time: 0-0
Continue reading Premiership Result: Liverpool 1 Birmingham 1

Half-time – Liverpool 0 Birmingham 0

Barclays Premiership – Half Time.

Wed Feb 1st 2006

Liverpool 0 – 0 Birmingham
              
Liverpool: J Reina, S Finnan, S Hyypia, D Agger, J Riise, S Luis Garcia, S Gerrard, D Hamann, H Kewell, P Crouch, F Morientes
Subs: S Carson, R Fowler, X Alonso, J Carragher, S Warnock

Birmingham: M Taylor, M Melchiot, M Latka, M Upson, J Gray, J Pennant, N Kilkenny, D Johnson, D Dunn (S Lazaridis, 34), E Heskey, C Sutton
Other subs: N Vaesen, M Forssell, A Bruce, O Tebily
Sent off: D Johnson 28 (Serious foul play)

Ref: U Rennie

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Premiership teams: Liverpool v Birmingham

Robbie’s return continues, with a place on the bench for Fowler in Liverpool’s first league game since the prodigal son returned. Jamie Carragher is rested, or at least kept in reserve on the bench, as Daniel Agger is given his debut. The old-fashioned central-midfield pairing of Didi and Stevie is given a run-out tonight too.

Liverpool: J Reina, S Finnan, S Hyypia, D Agger, J Riise, S Luis Garcia, S Gerrard, D Hamann, H Kewell, P Crouch, F Morientes
Subs: S Carson, R Fowler, X Alonso, J Carragher, S Warnock

Birmingham: M Taylor, M Melchiot, M Latka, M Upson, J Gray, J Pennant, N Kilkenny, D Johnson, D Dunn, E Heskey, C Sutton
Subs: N Vaesen, M Forssell, S Lazaridis, A Bruce, O Tebily

Ref: U Rennie
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Pako: Reds fans are best

Pako Ayesteran is the unsung hero of the Liverpool coaching staff. Rafa’s long-time assistant rarely speaks in public, but he’s not at Melwood to do PR. Pako spoke to www.liverpoolfc.tv in a rare interview and explained how he thought the recent defeat to Manchester United had been unlucky, with Liverpool clearly the better team: “The game against Manchester United was very disappointing as I feel we were unlucky. We realised however that we were the better team. The next day everyone here was upbeat and looking forward not back. In terms of the rest of the season, we are optimistic of what we can achieve and where we can finish in the Premiership. Sometimes you deserve to win and you don’t and sometimes you don’t deserve to win but you do. Accidents sometimes happen in football and the game against Manchester United was an accident for us. At the moment, the team is doing the right things. They are playing well. If they continue to train the way they are training now and our confidence stays as high as it is now, we are convinced we can beat any team.”

United celebrated like a team that had just won the cup final that afternoon, most notably Gary Neville who displayed his hatred for all things to do with Liverpool by taunting Reds supporters and earning an FA charge. Pako was asked what he thought of this show of relief from United: “At the moment they know that we are a really good team and I think they are concerned that they won’t finish second this year. If we had beaten them then it would have made it even harder for them to finish second. This is why I think that they celebrated so much and this shows us that we are the better team I think.”

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