Reaction to Reds 3-1 victory over Magpies

Liverpool’s win over Newcastle yesterday showed how important they feel it is to push for second place until it’s either achieved or impossible. Eight goals in two games show they’ve found their scoring boots again, and although they’ve now got two games in hand they are just two points behind Manchester United. Manager Rafael Benítez was delighted that his team had come out victorious: “I am very, very happy because it was a difficult game and we played well, scored goals and could have won by a lot more than 3-1 in the end.”

The Reds boss used a formation he’s not used before, with three centre-backs keeping Newcastle’s chances down to a minimum. Jan Kromkamp and Stephen Warnock were outstanding as wing-backs rather than conventional full-backs, and Rafa was pleased with how the system worked. He says the change to the system was done with Tomorrow’s FA Cup quarter-final match at Birmingham in mind, coming just two days after this league match: “We’re also thinking about the FA Cup. After the sending off we were in control of the game and there were two saves by their keeper at the end. We’ve not been doing anything different but we changed the system. It’s a possibility to keep the system for the Birmingham match because it was good.”

Liverpool’s troubles in front of goal look to be over now, although that’s said in the hope it wasn’t spoken too soon. For Rafa, the confidence previously missing for his strikers is back, and that is the most important change: “It’s important for the team to have more confidence – the strikers are good and if you create chances you can score.”

Continue reading Reaction to Reds 3-1 victory over Magpies

Result: Newcastle 1 Liverpool 3


Newcastle 1 (S Ameobi 41)
Liverpool 3 (P Crouch 10, S Gerrard 35, D Cisse 52 (pen))    
Half-time: 1-2

S Given, P Ramage, J Boumsong, R Elliott, C Babayaro, N Solano, S
Parker, B Emre (Sub: L Clark, 90), C N’Zogbia (Sub: L Bowyer, 28), A Shearer, S Ameobi (Sub: K Dyer, 62)
Unused subs: S Harper, C Moore
Booked: P Ramage 39, L Bowyer 55
Sent off: J Boumsong 51
Liverpool: J Reina, D Agger, S Hyypia (Sub: R Fowler, 90) , J Carragher, S Warnock, J Kromkamp, D Hamann,
S Gerrard (Sub: X Alonso, 74) , H Kewell, D Cisse, P Crouch (Sub: S Luis Garcia, 63)
Unused subs: J Dudek, D Traore
Booked: D Cisse 53, D Agger 86, J Carragher 87

Referee: M Riley
Attendance: 52,302
Continue reading Result: Newcastle 1 Liverpool 3

Half-time: Newcastle 1 Liverpool 2

Newcastle 1 (S Ameobi 41)
Liverpool 2 (P Crouch 10, S Gerrard 35)    

Newcastle: S Given, P Ramage, J Boumsong, R Elliott, C Babayaro, N Solano, S Parker, B Emre, C N’Zogbia (Sub: L Bowyer, 28), A Shearer, S Ameobi
Unused subs: S Harper, K Dyer,  C Moore, L Clark
Booked: P Ramage 39
Liverpool: J Reina, D Agger, S Hyypia, J Carragher, S Warnock, J Kromkamp, D Hamann, S Gerrard, H Kewell, D Cisse, P Crouch
Subs: J Dudek, S Luis Garcia, R Fowler, X Alonso, D Traore

Referee: M Riley

Continue reading Half-time: Newcastle 1 Liverpool 2

Newcastle v LFC – Teams

Rafael Benitez has made big changes to his side to face Newcastle this afternoon, and the impressive Steve Finnan is one of those missing. Irish international Finnan is not even in the 16, along with Fernando Morientes. We now have to wait until kick-off to see whether Rafa is going to play Carragher at right-back, or whether he’s decided instead to go with three centre-backs and two wing-backs. Kromkamp and Warnock are both as comfortable in midfield as defence. Peter Crouch and Djibril Cisse start the game. Alonso is kept back on the bench with Robbie Fowler.

Newcastle: S Given, P Ramage, J Boumsong, R Elliott, C Babayaro, N Solano, S Parker, B Emre, C N’Zogbia, A Shearer, S Ameobi
Subs: S Harper, K Dyer, L Bowyer, C Moore, L Clark

Liverpool: J Reina, D Agger, S Hyypia, J Carragher, S Warnock, J Kromkamp, D Hamann, S Gerrard, H Kewell, D Cisse, P Crouch
Subs: J Dudek, S Luis Garcia, R Fowler, X Alonso, D Traore

Referee: M Riley

Continue reading Newcastle v LFC – Teams

Reds youngsters win shootout

Congratulations to Liverpool’s youth side after they heroically made it through to the final of the FA Youth Cup. Memories of Istanbul came to the fore with Southampton taking Liverpool all the way to penalties. The first leg had ended 2-1 to Liverpool and that was the scoreline at St Mary’s at the end of ninety minutes last night. 3-3 on aggregate meant extra time, where each side scored one more goal each, making it 3-2 on the night to Southampton and 4-4 on aggregate. No away goals rule in this competition and so the youngsters had to face the the inevitable penalty shoot-out.

It was David Roberts in goal for the youngsters and he was just as important to his team-mates as Jerzy Dudek was last May in Turkey. His save meant the Reds won the shootout 5-4.

The side is made up of a mixture of players from the Reds’ Academy and also younger members of the reserve squad from Melwood. Their opponents for the final will be discovered next Thursday when Manchester City host Newcastle United – City are ahead 3-2 from the first leg.

For reports on the game from different perspectives see:

Liverpool FC official site.
Southampton FC official site.
The FA website.

Southampton: Zach Jones, Jamie Hatch (Cedric Baseya, 105), Gareth Bale, Jake Thomson, Oliver Lancashire, Nathan Dyer, Aristoles de Carvalho (Jamie White, 56), Lloyd James (capt), David McGoldrick, Adam Lallana, Josh Dutton-Black.
Unused subs: Joel Speight, Michael Byrne, Luke Douglas

Liverpool:  David Roberts, Stephen Darby (capt), Robbie Threlfall, Jack Hobbs, Godwin Antwi, Charlie Barnett, Paul Barratt, Ryan Flynn (Miki Roque, 96), Craig Lindfield (Michael Nardiello, 83), Paul Anderson (James Ryan, 77), Adam Hammill.
Unused subs: Michael Burns, Josh Mimms.

Referee: P Crossley
Attendance: 9,134
Continue reading Reds youngsters win shootout

Reds agree date change with Rovers

A huge amount of relief was felt today when Liverpool FC announced they had managed to postpone their fixture with Blackburn Rovers on April 15th by a day.

Liverpool had been trying all season to get the fixture moved away from the originally planned day, which is of course the anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster. Every year at Anfield since the disaster a service has taken place on the anniversary, starting at 3:06pm. It gives families, players, staff and supporters the chance to remember the 96 victims of the disaster. The fixture congestion Liverpool were suffering from prior to Champions League elimination meant the best option the club could come up with was to play at 5.30pm on the day of the service. Emotions and views amongst fans were varied, with many feeling the club shouldn’t even consider playing that day.

Thankfully though Blackburn have kindly agreed to move the game to the following day, with a 2.30pm kick-off, meaning 15th April remains a day for remembrance and reflection this season.

Making the announcement was the Liverpool chief executive Rick Parry, who has received a lot of personal criticism over the original decision to go ahead with the game. He said: “As soon as we were knocked out of Europe and other fixture dates became available, we contacted both Blackburn Rovers and the FA Premier League and we’re delighted it has been possible to reschedule the game. With the match being moved for a second time, there is obviously a degree of inconvenience for Blackburn Rovers and their supporters and we are very grateful for their co-operation and understanding of the issues involved.”

Parry wasn’t ignorant of the concerns expressed by the supporters, and was glad to be able to finally address the concerns with the new date: “We were always aware of the feelings expressed by many of our supporters on the original date and are glad we have been able to address these concerns.”

Continue reading Reds agree date change with Rovers

Rafa is staying and the league is his target

Real Madrid’s attempts to lure Rafael Benítez back to the club he’s always supported have failed, with the Spaniard choosing instead to stay on at Anfield. Rafa is determined to bring league title number nineteen to the club and couldn’t make it any clearer yesterday that he is staying with the club he made European Champions last season.

Off the record, it was confirmed yesterday that the Spanish giants had made a serious attempt to take him back home. It seems Real actually made Rafa an offer and Rafa listened, but more out of politeness than anything. Despite the offer of a massive improvement on his own personal terms and funds to buy practically anyone he liked at Real, his loyalty to the Reds could not be compromised. He used the approach as an opportunity to make sure the Reds board were as determined as him to bring more success to Liverpool, and he was soon reassured. Liverpool’s new investment is tantalisingly close.

Speaking on the record, Rafa explained how pleased he was with the support he was receiving from all sides at Anfield, support that played the biggest part in his decision to turn Madrid down: “It’s clear that I’m staying at Liverpool. I want to thank the fans, the chief executive and the board for their support. I’m happy here and I’m staying. I am very happy here and I want to win a lot more trophies with Liverpool. My relationship with the fans and the people at the club is fantastic.”

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Rafa says contract not yet signed

After Liverpool’s 5-1 defeat of Fulham tonight reporters waiting to speak to Rafael Benítez had one burning question to ask the Spaniard. Reports from Spain before the match suggested that Rafa had put pen to paper on a twelve-month extension to his contract, including a pay-rise. The reports however were ever so slightly premature; Rafa had not actually signed his new deal yet. Rafa insisted there was no rush – he’s not planning to go anywhere yet – but admitted he was discussing an extension: “We are talking, but I’m happy here and they are happy with me. It is not a problem.”

The recent links with Real Madrid and Inter Milan, mixed Rafa’s off-the-record admission that he wants some decent transfer funds in the summer have seen doubt cast in the minds of some Reds about the coach’s future. After nearly helping Steven Gerrard go to Chelsea over the last two summers, the press were now getting their teeth into helping engineer a move away from Anfield for Rafa. Rick Parry doesn’t want to be caught out this time though, and a contract is now ready for Rafa to sign once his agent has had time to review it. So no signature, but Rafa is almost certainly going to sign it. For now though he maintains that there is no hurry: “We are talking about the future, I have three years left on my contract here so there is no hurry. I have not signed anything. We know that I am happy here and we are talking. It is not a problem because the relationship is really good. My relationship with the fans is excellent, as is my relationship with the board. We are happy, I am happy and there is not a problem at all with our relationships. But the only thing I have been signing tonight has been autographs.”

Continue reading Rafa says contract not yet signed

Fowler shows the way for other Reds forwards

Premiership Result: Liverpool 5 – 1 Fulham

Stories before kick-off that Rafael Benitez had signed a new deal to keep him at Anfield until 2010 were enough to put those who heard into a good mood. By the end of the game the 5-1 scoreline – including goals from three different Liverpool strikers – made sure all Reds supporters were smiling.

Robbie Fowler’s opener was his first since coming back to Anfield, but Liverpool looked like being their own worse enemies when they let Collins John in for an equaliser on 25 minutes. It was then that Liverpool’s luck finally turned in their favour for the first time in an age. And own goal from Brown gave Liverpool a half-time lead, but that one-goal gap wasn’t enough to allow the fans to settle, bearing in mind how Liverpool’s defence has looked less certain in recent games. With a little over 20 minutes left Djibril Cisse was brought on for Robbie Fowler, no doubt at this stage Rafa thinking he needed to give a rest to his only scoring striker in the league this year. Almost immediately though Cisse saw an attempt saved by ex-Red goalkeeper Tony Warner, but the loose ball was sent over the line by Fernando Morientes. Peter Crouch was introduced with nine minutes left and he found himself on the scoresheet too, with just a minutes of regular time to play. Another substitute scored the fifth, Steven Warnock making sure he was noticed on the day Liverpool were linked with a Brazilian left-back.

Liverpool: J Reina, S Finnan, J Carragher, D Agger, D Traore, S Luis Garcia, S Gerrard, D Hamann, H Kewell (Sub: S Warnock, 88), R Fowler (Sub: D Cisse, 68), F Morientes (Sub: P Crouch, 81)
Other subs: J Dudek, S Hyypia
Scorers: R Fowler 16, M Brown 34 og, F Morientes 71, P Crouch 89, S Warnock 90

Fulham: T Warner, L Rosenior, Z Knight (Sub: P Christanval, 69), I Pearce, W Bridge, T Radzinski (Sub: B McBride, 78), S Malbranque, M Brown, M Pembridge, L Boa Morte, C John
Other subs: M Crossley, H Helguson, N Jensen
Booked: M Brown 31, W Bridge 71, C John 90
Scorer: C John 25

Half-time: 2-1

Referee: A Wiley

Attendance: 42293
Continue reading Fowler shows the way for other Reds forwards

LFC v Fulham – confirmed teams

Liverpool boss is giving Fowler and Morientes a chance to get some goals for the Reds tonight against Fulham, but has Crouch and Cisse on the bench just in case. Daniel Agger gets a start tonight with Sami Hyypia kept on the bench for tonight’s game. Djimi Traore gets the nod for the left-back position.

Steve Finnan and Tony Warner both get starts against their former clubs.

Liverpool: J Reina, S Finnan, J Carragher, D Agger, D Traore, S Luis Garcia, S Gerrard, D Hamann, H Kewell, R Fowler, F Morientes
Subs: J Dudek, S Hyypia, D Cisse, P Crouch, S Warnock

Fulham: T Warner, L Rosenior, Z Knight, I Pearce, W Bridge, T Radzinski, S Malbranque, M Brown, M Pembridge, L Boa Morte, C John
Subs: M Crossley, H Helguson, B McBride, N Jensen, P Christanval

Referee: A Wiley

Continue reading LFC v Fulham – confirmed teams