A press release from Anne Williams and Hope for Hillsborough, containing some very encouraging news from the European Court of Human Rights. At the bottom of the release are email addresses for both Anne and also Anna Jameson, for those wishing to contact them with messages of support, to order books or badges, or make donations. Continue reading Hope for Hillsborough: News from Court of Human Rights
UEFA Champions League Qualifier – August 15th 2007.
Toulouse 0 Liverpool 1
Toulouse: 16 Douchez, 13 Ebondo (22 Sissoko, 83), 5 Mathieu, 28 Cetto, 2 Fofana, 15 Paulo Cesar (21 Gignac, 69), 14 Sirieix, 20 Emana, 25 Dieuze, 9 Elmander, 10 Bergougnoux (7 Mansare, 45)
Unused subs: 1 Riou, 6 Jonsson, 8 Batlles, 17 Fabinho
Booked: Elmander 60, Cetto 79, Sissoko 90
Liverpool: 25 Reina, 3 Finnan, 23 Carragher, 4 Hyypia, 17 Arbeloa, 11 Benayoun (6 Riise, 59), 8 Gerrard (22 Sissoko, 65), 20 Mascherano, 19 Babel, 10 Voronin (9 Torres, 78), 15 Crouch
Unused subs: 30 Itandje, 5 Agger, 14 Alonso, 18 Kuyt
Goals: Voronin 43
Liverpool boss Rafa Benítez will be making changes to his team for this afternoon’s Champions League qualifier against Toulouse, but says the team he puts out will still be a strong one. He feels he has enough quality in depth in his squad now that changing his side from one game to the next does not automatically mean he’s putting out a weakened team. The media seemed obsessed with the topic of Rafa’s rotation policy (along with whether Gerrard should play on the right) but the manager was hoping he could finally get them to see that it’s a needed policy in the game of today.
As ever, hints seem to be getting dropped about players being unhappy, but this is news to Rafa, who spoke yesterday about today’s game: “We can feel the team spirit is really good, and the only problem we have now is too many players, which is the situation we wanted. I need to check how the team is before I decide for tomorrow, but now we have the quality we need.”
Rafa’s two main reasons for rotation are to firstly ensure the team he puts out are as fit as possible, and secondly to allow him to select the team most suited to that particular fixture. Another factor is how well particular individuals have been performing, and although this is not as big a reason as the pundits often make it out to be it’s enough of a reason to ensure players are kept on their toes: “It’s never easy to decide which players to change, but it’s good for the club and for me because I can see players working so hard in training and telling me, ‘Don’t forget – I’m here’. Each week it may only be a small detail which determines who starts the game because a player might show their quality in a training session or a practice match. This is the competition we’ve wanted.” Continue reading As ever, Rafa has to defend his rotation policy
Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard was predictably delighted with his free-kick winner against Aston Villa today, but Villa manager Martin O’Neill was hugely disappointed, claiming it shouldn’t even have been a free-kick. Either way the 2-1 result sets Liverpool off on the right track, with the Reds determined to put an end to the slow starts they’ve made to previous seasons.
Gerrard told Setanta Sports: “Over the last few seasons we have been frustrated with the start we’ve made, we’ve lost silly points and been playing catch-up, the idea this time is to come out of the blocks quickly and stay in the title race. We were pleased with the first 60 minutes – I thought we controlled the game. Villa came back into the game but we managed to pull it out of the bag late doors.” Continue reading Gerrard: “About time the lads let me take one”
Barclays Premier League August 11th 2007.
Aston Villa 1 Liverpool 2
Liverpool have opened the season with three points after beating Aston Villa at Villa Park. Despite Liverpool being in control for the vast majority of the game Villa always looked dangerous, and will be disappointed that they came out of the game without any points. In the end it was a wonder free-kick from Reds captain Steven Gerrard that won the day.Rafa Benitez gave Fernando Torres his full debut for today’s league opener against Aston Villa, but the rest of his starting eleven were all ‘old’ players. Itandje, Babel and Voronin did get a place on the bench, but the manager stuck to using the players he felt he knew best for the start of the season.
John Arne Riise was pushed into midfield with Arbeloa used as left-back, after the unlucky Harry Kewell had been ruled out yet again through injury. Steven Gerrard at least got his wish for the first game, playing in the centre of midfield with Xabi Alonso.
Liverpool were a goal up at half-time but it wasn’t even a Liverpool player’s name on the scoresheet. A Laursen own goal divided the teams at the break, the Villa defender under pressure to clear from a Kuyt cross, after the Dutchman retrieved the ball from the byline after a shot from Torres had been saved.
Pennant was lucky that Mike Riley wasn’t in the mood he usually seems to be in when he officiates Liverpool games. Just minutes after being booked he was fouled by Villa’s Bouma, and reacted angrily. Riley booked Bouma and warned Pennant. Pennant made way after 74 minutes for Liverpool’s second debutante of the day. Ryan Babel was brought on and had a chance within two minutes. After running at pace at the Villa defence he passed the ball to Kuyt, who crossed back again to his compatriot. Babel’s attempt at curling it into the right hand side of the goal didn’t quite work out and the shot went narrowly wide. Five minutes later and Babel was again trying to score, this time his shot producing an excellent save from the current Villa goalkeeper Taylor. Taylor will be replaced in the starting line-up for Villa’s next game by Liverpool’s goalkeeper Scott Carson, who is now on a season-long loan at Villa Park but not allowed to play against his own club.
Torres wasn’t to score on his debut, but should be pleased with his introduction to the English game. The £18m signing was replaced after 78 minutes by free-signing and fellow striker Andriy Voronin.
After 84 minutes Mike Riley remembered it was Liverpool he was refereeing against, and awarded Villa a penalty. Jamie Carragher accidentally handled the ball in the box, and booked Reina in the seconds before the penalty was taken. Gareth Barry, booked earlier for cheating, too the penalty and beat Reina.
Then Riley upset the Villa players, officials and fans when awarding the Reds a free-kick around 30 yards out. The club captain Gerrard insisted he would take it, and that decision proved to be the right one. Gerrard couldn’t have hit it any better, it flew into the top-right corner and will surely still be a candidate for goal of the season in nine months when this season is at its end.
There was a scare in stoppage time when Reina was forced to tip over from a Carew shot but the Reds hung on and for once have started a season with three points. Liverpool fought hard for those three points, and even if it wasn’t always pretty they did deserve their victory. These are the kinds of games Liverpool often drop points in and it looked like that was how it was going to go today after Villa got their penalty. Liverpool will no doubt raise their game for the next match – against new enemies Chelsea – but these games against the team lower down the league need to be won if they are going to challenge their bigger enemies for the title.
Aston Villa: 13 Taylor, 26 Gardner, 4 Mellberg, 5 Laursen (21 Cahill, 45), 3 Bouma (8 Moore, 71), 19 Petrov, 20 Reo-Coker, 6 Barry, 11 Agbonlahor, 10 Carew, 7 Young
Unused subs: 9 Harewood, 27 Osbourne, 28 Maloney
Booked: Mellberg 26, Bouma 58, Barry 67, Petrov 89
Goals: Barry 85 (pen)
Liverpool: 25 Reina, 3 Finnan, 23 Carragher, 5 Agger, 17 Arbeloa, 16 Pennant (19 Babel, 74), 8 Gerrard, 14 Alonso, 6 Riise, 9 Torres (10 Voronin, 79), 18 Kuyt,(22 Sissoko, 90)
Unused subs: 30 Itandje, 4 Hyypia
Booked: Pennant 55, Reina 84
Goals: Laursen (OG) 31, Gerrard 87
Referee: Mike Riley
Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson, still desperately unhappy that one of his own players has dared court a move to Liverpool, is now insisting that the said player can still play for United.
The player in question is Argentine defender Gabriel Heinze, who has made it clear he wants out of United and wants to pull on the Red shirt of Liverpool FC instead. Ferguson is unhappy that a player who even got to wear the captain’s armband last season can be so treacherous. However Heinze was told, via a letter to his agent, that United wanted to sell him for €10m in the summer, so already knew he wasn’t exactly part of Ferguson’s future plans. The only issue Ferguson has is that he cannot stand Liverpool Football Club, a mutual feeling of course, and would rather give Heinze away than let him join up with Rafa’s new squad. Continue reading Ferguson claims Heinze still has United future
Charles Itandje has joined Liverpool FC from Lens, according to the French club’s website. He has joined in time to be eligible for Liverpool’s Champions League qualifiers against Toulouse.
The move paves the way for 21-year-old Scott Carson to go out on loan for the season, with Aston Villa the side believed to be his destination. Liverpool boss Rafa Benítez said he was happy for Carson to spend a year elsewhere, gaining experience: Benitez said: “I am happy with the situation and for Scott to play regularly somewhere else. We do not want to lose him, certainly not sell him because we are very happy with him. He is a good lad and a very promising goalkeeper, but I can understand his need to maintain his place in the England squad. It will benefit him to be out on loan and for us to sign a new goalkeeper, then we will have three keepers all in action.” Continue reading Keeper Itandje signs for Reds
Liverpool goalkeeper Scott Carson looks set at the eleventh hour to have his wish granted and will be allowed to spend another season on-loan elsewhere in the Premiership. Carson spent last season on loan at Charlton, winning their player-of-the-season award and finding himself moving up the England pecking order as a result. Rafa Benítez was unwilling initially to allow him to spend this season out on loan, wanting him as his second-choice keeper, but is now believed to have relented, as long as his move for a replacement is successful.
That replacement is Charles Itandje of French side Lens, who was seen at Anfield yesterday. Lens aren’t expecting a massive fee for the 24-year-old but Rafa wants him signed by tonight’s 11pm deadline for new signings for the Champions League qualifiers. Liverpool play the first leg of their qualifier against Toulouse next week. Continue reading Carson to go to Villa if Itandje signs
As Liverpool’s keeper Pepe Reina won an award for his work in stopping opposing strikers from scoring last season, one of the Reds’ own strikers spoke about how he was hoping to put in performances this season that would see him become a part of Anfield folklore.
Kuyt’s first season at the club saw him perform well despite worries off the field. As well as settling into a new country he had concerns about his father, who has been ill since Kuyt became a Red, and who sadly passed away recently. He feels this season is going to be very different for him: “I’m sure I will get better this season: Last year I didn’t have a full pre-season or know the rest of the lads or the club so well. Now I’m more settled and any difficulties when starting at a new club are behind me. I can focus 100 percent on my football and I have a good feeling about this season.” Continue reading Kuyt hopes to score more this season
Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher is being begged to consider playing for England again after the national side found themselves in an injury crisis. Carragher announced earlier in the summer that he was tired of being nothing more than a squad player for England and that at 29 it was time to concentrate on his Liverpool career. He did say he’d consider helping England out again in extreme circumstances, but that was before an unknown journalist on a medium-wave radio station called him a “bottler”.
At the moment the England squad looks likely to be missing John Terry, Ledley King and Jonathan Woodgate for a game on August 22nd at home to Germany. But that’s just a friendly, and unless McLaren can convince Carra he’ll still need him for next month’s Euro 2008 qualifiers against Israel and Russia then the Liverpool striker will not be wearing the England shirt again. When the news first broke Carra said he’d make his ‘final decision’ prior to that Germany game, but the feeling is that his mind is made up and he won’t be coming back. McClaren is hoping to get another chance to persuade Carra to rejoin the England fold, but not until he’s gone to the States to decide whether or not to continue using David Beckham in his team. The England manager is also talking about a recall for Sol Campbell. Continue reading McLaren still trying to persuade Carra to come back