Dudek charged for reserves clash

Further to our earlier report that Everton had been charged for their players' disorder during the recent mini-derby, the FA have confirmed that charge and also have announced the same charge has been levelled at Liverpool, and there is a further charge against Jerzy Dudek.

In the reserve game which ended in a 2-1 defeat for Liverpool, Dudek finally grew tired of being kicked by a teenage Everton striker and reacted. The referee was considered poor that night, but Dudek is a victim of the "never raise your hands" rule and got a straight red. The injustice really upset Dudek, especially as his attacker got only a yellow, and he didn't leave the pitch as quickly as the poor referee wanted him to.

The FA announcement says: "Everton FC and Liverpool FC have been charged with failing to ensure that their players conducted themselves in an orderly fashion during a reserve match.
The charges follow a mass confrontation during the Premier League North Reserves fixture between the two clubs on 10 October.

"In addition, Liverpool goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek has been charged with improper conduct for failing to leave the field of play promptly and confronting the referee."

The FA say that all parties have until November 1st to respond. What isn't clear is whether this means the existing three-match suspension for Dudek is delayed until the FA finalise this charge. If so then Dudek will be available for the Reading Carling Cup game.

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Blues charged over mini-derby

Everton have been charged by the FA for failing to control their players in the recent mini-derby with Liverpool.

The game saw Liverpool's Jerzy Dudek sent off for violent conduct after he finally reacted to a torrent of what he felt were over-the-top challenges from Victor Anichebe. Everton's attitude after the game was that Jerzy had over-reacted, Liverpool's that he had faced for more provocation than the referee should ever have allowed.

It now seems the FA have reviewed the incidents on video, and although nothing has been announced regarding Jerzy, they've decided to land Everton with this charge. Liverpool may also receive a similar charge, although no announcement has been made yet.

Liverpool are believed to be considering an appeal against Jerzy's red card, which may begin once they've heard how the FA consider the role of the club in the fracas. Even though the dismissal took place in a reserve game, the suspension applies to first-team games too and so Dudek is, as things stand, set to miss three matches including the league cup match against Reading.

Everton's club secretary David Harrison revealed the charge to their website, saying: "We have been charged with a breach of FA rule E20, which is failure to control our players. We have until the first of November to reply and we also have the opportunity to request a personal hearing before the commission, should we wish to do so."

Unfortunately Bill Kenwright did not leave a comment.

Continue reading Blues charged over mini-derby

Rafa: Gerrard misses out as a precaution

Further to our earlier story about Steven Gerrard missing tomorrow's Champions League game with Bordeaux, the Reds boss Rafa Benitez has since explained that Stevie was being kept back as a precaution.

Quoted on the official LFC website, Rafa said: "Steven felt something in his hamstring after the Blackburn game and he is still feeling it.  We have spoken with the doctor and decided it's not worth taking a risk with him and so he won't be involved in Bordeaux."

Clearly with one eye on the weekend fixture with Manchester United, Rafa added: "If this was the last game of the season and he needed to play then he could, but at this moment we think it's too big a risk." And Gerrard does seem likely to figure in that battle, with Rafa saying: "I think it's just a matter of an extra couple of days and then he will be fine."

The site also confirmed earlier doubts that both Robbie Fowler and Daniel Agger will miss the trip. Robbie's been suffering with a back problem and Daniel Agger broke his hand on international duty last week. There's an outside chance that  Momo Sissoko and Dirk Kuyt will be fit to play, so they are going to be on the plane just in case. According to Rafa midfield marvel Momo is the most likely of the two to get a game, by a long way: "I would say Momo has an eighty per cent chance of playing and Kuyt just twenty per cent," said Benitez.

One positive to come out of this is that 19-year-old local lad Lee Peltier has been including in the travelling squad as midfield cover.

Continue reading Rafa: Gerrard misses out as a precaution

Gerrard out of Bordeaux clash

Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard has been taken out of the squad for the Champions League match with Bordeaux tomorrow night. Gerrard has joined a growing injury list at Anfield after suffering a hamstring strain in the game against Blackburn on Saturday.

With Momo Sissoko also doubtful – he missed the game on Saturday – this injury leaves Liverpool struggling for players tomorrow night. Bolo Zenden is likely to step into the centre, but after that the cover is thin on the ground, and means Rafa needs to have players prepared to play out of position should Xabi or Bolo get struck down. With Daniel Agger still not sure of being ready to play after breaking his hand, the option of putting Jamie Carragher into midfield isn't available to Rafa.

Expect more on this later today.

Continue reading Gerrard out of Bordeaux clash

Vladi to miss out but Rafa wants rest of class of ’05 to shine

Former Liverpool midfielder Vladimir Smicer has been ruled out of a chance to play his old club on Wednesday through injury. Now at Bordeaux, Smicer continues to be unlucky with injuries and hasn’t played since February due to a knee injury. He’d hoped to be able to in the side’s 1-0 win over Monaco before taking his place against Liverpool in the Champions League clash, but it all came a bit too soon and his club say he won’t be risked.

Vladi spent a lot of time at Anfield short of full fitness, meaning Liverpool fans rarely got to see what he was truly capable of. One of his final acts for us was his goal in the Champions League final in 2005. He was sad that he wasn’t given a change to say goodbye to the fans at home before that though, when Liverpool ended the league season at Anfield: “In my last match at home against Aston Villa, with nothing at stake, the coach Rafael Benítez didn’t even pick me in his squad of 16. I was furious. After six years at the club I didn’t get the chance to salute the fans. There was the final of the UEFA Champions League after that, but that wasn’t the same, that wasn’t at Anfield. Even if I wasn’t the most loved player it was important for me to play, even just five minutes.”

That outburst is not necessarily an attack on Rafa, more an outburst from someone who really did fall in love with the club. Long after the stadium had emptied that day he went on a walk around the outside of the pitch, reflecting on his longest spell with any club.

Rafa Benitez claimed at the weekend that he wasn’t worried at the thought of facing Smicer. Although secretly he probably knew that had Vladi made an appearance that the Czech midfielder would have been ready to show us all what we’ve been missing, Rafa just said: “I like Smicer. He is a good man and a great professional, but I don’t worry too much about what former players can do to you. I know football is full of stories about players facing their old clubs and scoring important goals, but I have looked at the statistics. In reality, I think it is not even 20 per cent of players who score goals against their former team, so I don’t think we should be afraid.” It doesn’t sound convincing though. In fact who would have expected Vladi, after the season he’d had, to be on the pitch in the Champions League final, let alone getting one of the goals that led us to victory?

There have been a few changes since that night in 2005. Of the 14 players that got one the pitch for the Reds that night Rafa has since sold or released Baros, Cisse, Hamann, Traore and Smicer. Smicer came on that night for Harry Kewell, who’s a player that seems as hard-done-to with injuries as Smicer ever was and has yet to play this season. In goal Rafa has moved the hero of that night, Jerzy Dudek, into second place behind Pepe Reina, but of the rest of those on the field most are still playing a big part in Rafa’s current plans for this season. Finnan, Hyypia, Carragher, Riise, Gerrard, Garcia and Alonso are all expected to show the new players how it’s done. Unfortunately that’s not happening, Rafa’s finding these players are just not playing to their normal levels.

Liverpool improved in the league the season after winning the Champions League, finishing third compared to the previous season’s fifth, but that won’t happen again the way those players are performing so far. Rafa said today that they’ve really got to start performing like last season again, although he claims not to be surprised yet that they aren’t: “It’s clear some of our more established players need to be at the top of their game. I said I thought it would be November before we were at our best because of a number of reasons.”

Saturday’s draw against Blackburn was really not good enough if Liverpool are going to even qualify for the Champions League, never mind win the league, but Rafa says he knows where it’s going wrong: “If you look at our formation for the game, we had the same back four, with Xabi in front of the defence, that has done so well for us last season. We had the same players there, but we need to get the balance right when we are attacking because, like the Galatasaray game, we were vulnerable to counter-attacks.”

He says we got things right for a bit of the game, but of course that’s not enough: “Saturday was disappointing again, but for thirty minutes of the second half we played much better football, we attacked well and the crowd was really behind us. The problem is we are only playing like this for thirty minutes. We know we must do this for ninety.”

At least Craig Bellamy scored his first Liverpool league goal on Saturday: “There were positives from the weekend, it was good for Craig to score and at times we played better. It’s been difficult, but we will improve.”

Wednesday night’s squad may include Dirk Kuyt and Daniel Agger, both injured on international duty and forced out of Saturday’s game, but they are still only an outside chance, along with Robbie Fowler who’s got a back injury. Momo Sissoko is still considered extremely doubtful.

Continue reading Vladi to miss out but Rafa wants rest of class of ’05 to shine

Potter considering turning Wolves loan permanent

Liverpool midfielder Darren Potter says he’s having a good time at Wolves where he’s currently on loan, so much so that he would consider a permanent move to Molyneux.

Potter, speaking to Friday’s Birmingham Mail, explained how, like at Liverpool, he’s not been able to get a place in the side in his more accustomed role at the heart of midfield. Like at Liverpool though, he’s glad to be playing: “Circumstances have dictated where I've played so far but the lads in the middle have been doing well and there's been no need for the gaffer to change anything. We're all here to do a job and make it tough for the gaffer to leave us out and hopefully that's what I've done on the right as well.”

Potter revealed that he’s been having talks with manager Mick McCarthy about the idea of turning the loan into a transfer after his performances have impressed the boss: “Things have gone reasonably well for me so far, I think I've played in every game and feel I've done okay. It's been a good start, and in terms of anything longer you never really know. I've had a few chats with the manager about possibly making things permanent but that's probably something for a bit further down the line, maybe January.”

Potter sees Wolves as a club with high hopes of bettering themselves, getting back to former glories, and that seems to have attracted him to the idea of sticking around: “Who knows what might happen, but I don't see why this club shouldn't be one that matches my own ambitions. I've said before it's a sleeping giant, similar to Southampton where I was on loan last season in that the club should be higher than it is. For whatever reason that hasn't happened, but it's certainly moving in the right direction now.”

Potter played in Wolves’ 1-0 win over Colchester yesterday. Any transfer fee demanded for him would be fairly substantial with him having only signed an improved deal at Anfield fairly recently.

Continue reading Potter considering turning Wolves loan permanent

How the papers saw it: Liverpool 1 Blackburn 1

A quick look at how the papers saw yesterday’s 1-1 draw with Blackburn. The general concensus is that our season was totally doomed until Bellamy came along and got us a point, rescuing us from that doom. Perhaps they’re right!
Independent on Sunday: Bellamy helps paper over the cracks of a crumbling season
Bellamy’s goal effectively got […]
Continue reading How the papers saw it: Liverpool 1 Blackburn 1

Result and reaction: Liverpool 1 Blackburn 1

FA Barclays Premiership

Saturday Oct 14th 2006 –
Result

Liverpool

 1 – 1

Blackburn Rovers

Bellamy 64


McCarthy 17

Reina
Finnan
Hyypia
Carragher
Aurelio
Pennant (Luis Garcia 53)
Alonso
Gerrard
Riise
Crouch
Bellamy
Teams
Friedel
Emerton
Ooijer
Khizanishvili
Neill
Bentley
Savage
Kerimoglu (Mokoena 72)
Pedersen (Gallagher 72)
McCarthy
(Roberts 80)
Nonda

Dudek
Gonzalez
Luis Garcia
Paletta
Zenden
Subs
Brown
McEveley
Mokoena
Gallagher
Roberts

 0 HT 1
Hyypia
 Booked
Bentley, Neill, Savage
Att: 44,206
Ref: M Clattenburg
Rafael Benitez: "That was two different stories. In the first half they
pressed us hard and forced us back and it was hard to play. After the
break we had more width, created enough chances to have won, but we
accept that they also could have won with that late chance. The goal we
conceded was poor. We defended badly on the left, and then when the
cross came in our central defenders were in the wrong positions.

"It was a bad goal to give away, but we have Craig Bellamy to thank for
the equaliser. I am pleased for him and it was very important for him.
We can now stop talking about when he will score in the league for us,
but now how many he will get.

"Of our injured players, I only expect Mohamed Sissoko to have a chance
of playing in Bordeaux. It is too early for Dirk Kuyt, Daniel Agger and
Robbie Fowler."

 Reaction
Mark Hughes: "You expect to come under pressure at Anfield but we coped
and we restricted them to a few chances. Late on we might have even
stolen the win. I was delighted with the performance. I thought some of
our play was really progressive – you have to be brave in and out of
possession."

"We created Liverpool problems, getting out wide and putting in
crosses. In the first half we were excellent, good passing, crosses,
fine movement and we were full value for the lead at the break.

"In the second half they were more direct, by-passing our midfield and
getting a lot of ball into our box. I was disappointed with the goal we
conceded, we switched off for a moment at a corner and there was Craig
to put it away. But that's what he does so well. I suppose I can't say
I am happy for him after that goal, and I felt we kept him pretty quiet
for long spells, but I cannot forget that he was excellent for us last
season. He was a big part of our success and I know he will be a big
success here at Anfield and this goal will help him go from strength to
strength."

Continue reading Result and reaction: Liverpool 1 Blackburn 1

LFC v Blackburn – confirmed teams

FA Barclays Premiership

Liverpool v Blackburn – Confirmed Teams

Liverpool: 25 J Reina; 3 S Finnan, 4 S Hyypia,  23 J Carragher, 6 J A Riise; 16 J Pennant, 14 X Alonso, 8 S Gerrard, 12 F Aurelio; 15 P Crouch, 17 C Bellamy
Subs: 1 J Dudek, 10 L Garcia, 11 M Gonzalez, 29 G Paletta, 32 B Zenden

Blackburn: 1 B Friedel, 7 B Emerton, 20 A Ooijer, 3 Z Khizanishvili, 2 L Neill, 11 D Bentley, 8 R Savage, 5 T Kerimoglu, 12 M Pedersen, 10 B McCarthy, 9 S Nonda
Subs: 23 J Brown, 15 A Mokoena, 18 P Gallagher, 24 J McEveley, 30 J Roberts

Referee: M Clattenburg

Continue reading LFC v Blackburn – confirmed teams

Buy Something Else – boycott McKenzie and The S*n

I read an article earlier today on the Liverpool Echo’s website, “Outrage as ex-Sun boss denies lies“, and found it quite frankly unbelievable. Former editor of The S*n and – in the eyes of most Liverpool fans at least – the lowest low life currently free to walk the streets, Kelvin McKenzie, has tried to […]
Continue reading Buy Something Else – boycott McKenzie and The S*n