LFC: Momo has damaged retina

Liverpool midfielder Momo Sissoko sustained damage to the retina in last night’s Champions League game with Benfica. Benfica player Beto caught Momo with a boot after half an hour of the game and Sissoko was stretchered off before going to hospital. After spending the night and part of today in the hospital, the player is now due to return to England for more treatment by specialists.

A Liverpool FC spokesman explained: “Momo has undergone further tests this morning which have confirmed damage to the retina in his right eye. The injury is currently affecting his eyesight. Further consultations with eye specialists have been arranged for when the player returns to England.”

Retina damage can be serious, but according to health experts is a condition that can usually be treated quite successfully.

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Momo still in hospital

Liverpool’s defeat by Benfica last night in the Champions League took on a little less significance when it was revealed after the game that Momo Sissoko had suffered a serious eye injury. The Reds’ Malian midfielder had been the victim of a high tackle from Benfica’s Beto during the match and was taken to hospital as the game continued and was still there on Wednesday morning.

Stories coming out about the state of the player are varying, but from all accounts it sounds quite worrying. The official line from Liverpool FC is that, “It is a serious eye injury which means Momo will be staying in hospital overnight for observation and further tests. The Club doctor and one of the physios is staying in Portugal with the player until he is able to return to England.”

This morning there was a statement from the clinical director of CUF Hospital in Lisbon where Momo had been kept overnight. Dr Joao Pako told reporters that that they couldn’t yet reveal how bad Momo’s injuries were, saying: “Right now he’s under specialist care, and we are reserving judgement. We can’t say anything more right now.” The doctor confirmed that Momo had been for a CT scan amongst other examinations.

Stories starting to be whispered about the state of Momo’s eye vary from damage to the eye socket, which in itself will delay his return to action, to damage to the eye itself.

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FA find Neville guilty

Gary Neville’s over-the-top celebrations after Manchester United got their winner against Liverpool last month have seen him found guilty of improper conduct by the FA. Neville ran to the opposite end of the pitch to show Liverpool fans just what he thought of them, trying to kiss his badge (but missing) and acting like he might have done had he just won the FA Cup. He can’t win the FA Cup this season though of course, after Liverpool knocked his side out on Saturday at Anfield.

Neville’s actions were widely condemned by all but the usual United apologists, and added to the tensions in the lead-up to Saturday’s FA Cup fixture. Neville was unsurprisingly the subject of some chants from the Liverpool fans that his mother wouldn’t like to hear, and also had a burger thrown to him for some bizarre reason. Steven Gerrard was pelted with coins by United supporters early on in the game when he went to take a corner at the Anfield Road end.

Neville’s punishment was meaningless, as long as he doesn’t act in that way again. The FA have clearly told him that his actions were wrong, but accepted his reasons that he was overtaken by the moment. He was fined £5,000 and warned to his future conduct, the FA making it clear that he’ll not be able to do it again and use the same excuses.

FA Statement: “At a Disciplinary Commission hearing today, Manchester United defender Gary Neville was found guilty of improper conduct. He was warned as to his future conduct and fined £5,000.”

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Carra: Finnan best right-back I’ve played with

Jamie Carragher has been speaking to the press and also to the official Liverpool FC website about his thoughts on life at Liverpool in general, and also about the Champions League. Liverpool continue their defence of the title in Portugal tonight against Benfica.

All kinds of records have been equalled or beaten by Liverpool since Rafa Benítez came along. They are also banishing old demons – Saturday’s victory over Manchester United in the FA Cup was their first for 85 years in that competition. In the Champions League they have equalled an English record held by Chelsea for successive clean sheets with five in succession. One more would give them the English record outright, but would still be short of AC Milan’s seven in succession. Looking at it from the point of view of elapsed time, Liverpool’s defence needs to remain unbreached for 73 minutes of tonight’s match so that they can overtake Chelsea’s English record of 561 minutes without letting any goals past.

According to Carragher, these kinds of records are extra targets to aim for when setting out in a match: “It’s a good target to have in mind. The defence’s job is to get us a clean sheet, and while it’s not necessarily something you think about during the game, the longer you go without conceding the more determined you are to keep the run going. I remember in Japan when we were going for the record for most clean sheets in a row. Even though we had the game won, I was a bit worried when Sami Hyypia was taken off because I really wanted us to make sure we didn’t concede a goal, even though we’d already done the most important thing and won the game at that stage. As we were saying then, we’d rather win the game and concede a goal than draw 0-0, but in Europe it’s always especially important to keep that clean sheet.”
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Reds may get another trip to Cardiff

The FA announced earlier today that the new Wembley stadium will not be complete in time to stage any of the big games it was scheduled to at the tail end of this stadium. If Liverpool now make it all the way to the FA Cup final, they’ll be playing it at The Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. The international at Anfield next month, originally billed as England’s last game away from Wembley, will be followed now by two fixtures for the national side at Old Trafford.

The FA’s Chief Executive Brian Barwick gave a statement on the situation, explaining that these three big games would not now be played at the new stadium. He said “I can confirm today that this season’s FA Cup Final will be held at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on 13 May. I can also confirm that England’s pre-World Cup games against Hungary and Jamaica – previously scheduled for Wembley – will now be held at Old Trafford.”

The statement explained that those responsible for the new venue, still in its unpopular location, could not give enough certainty of handing the stadium over in time. Barwick said that the cup final was too big a game to have supporters hanging on wondering where it would be played: “Due to the magnitude of the cup final, we are not prepared to compromise or take any risks on the stadium being unable to stage such a significant event. We felt it was important to clarify the situation for everyone connected with the game in this country – especially for those teams and their supporters still in The FA Cup.”

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Reds travel to Birmingham for next round of Cup

Liverpool’s victory over Manchester United at the weekend has been rewarded with an away quarter final tie against Birmingham City. Today’s draw only featured Premiership clubs, but Birmingham have been something of a bogey team for Liverpool since Rafael Benitez took over.

Last season the Midlands side, who include ex-Red Emile Heskey amongst their squad, did the double over Liverpool. Liverpool have improved this season, but have only managed two draws against the team from St Andrews.

Manager Rafa is hoping that Birmingham will be more concerned over their league position than in continuing in the FA Cup, saying: “At this stage, with all Premiership clubs you’ve got to play good teams. Maybe Birmingham will be more concerned about their league position and this might not be as important to them as staying in the division.”

Rafa said the only thing he’d really change about the draw if he could was the location, he’d rather be at home. He does feel that his players are able to cope with the number of games they have in front of them: “I feel I’ve got a big enough squad to cope with playing in three competitions and all I can say is that I’d have rather been drawn at home.”
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The papers telling it how it isn’t

The resurgent Liverpool side that beat Manchester United did so after dominating for large parts of the game, forcing Alex Ferguson to change formation four times. When the press wrote their reports for the following day’s papers the majority seemed to have been watching a different game. Alex Ferguson had also been watching a different game, under the delusion that Liverpool had only played for five minutes and basically got lucky. Alan Smith was practically booed off the pitch if you believe some reports and Gary Neville was the subject of unprovoked songs in his direction.

Today’s papers are a little more in keeping with reality, but it comes as no shock to see Liverpool treated this way by the media. Alex Ferguson seems to generally react to negative press comments by handed out bans to journalists and organisations involved, making press organisations nervous of criticising him.

At first it starts to feel quite frustrating how the press gloss over some facts and emphasise others to make them fit into the story they want to write. Certainly on issues of greater importance the press have proved that they don’t tell us what really happened, look at our “Don’t buy the Sun” link for a big example of that. For matters of less importance we no longer expect objective truthful reporting.
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Rafa expects tough game, Koeman confident of win

European Champions Liverpool will travel to Portugal tomorrow ahead of Tuesday night’s Champions League game against Benfica. It’s Liverpool’s 40th game in the competition since it got its new name, but five-times winners Liverpool have played 127 European Cup games in its different formats.

Reds boss Rafael Benítez has taken Liverpool to play away from home in Europe 15 times, losing just twice. It’s some time since they did lose an away fixture – 11 matches now without defeat, conceding just ten goals in all of those games, including three in the first half of last season’s final against AC Milan. Three of those away fixtures were in this season’s qualifiers, games played on a home-and-away knockout basis. That’s the format the European Cup was in when Liverpool won their first four European titles, and the format that returns for the rest of this season’s competition before May’s Paris final.
Rafa is glad to be going into this first leg on the back of some good results. Liverpool’s have just won three games in a row by getting the only goal of each game, the last two against Arsenal and Manchester United. Rafa said: “People said some days ago that we had an important week coming up and they were right. We’ve had two good wins so far and now we want to earn a good result against Benfica.”
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FA Cup result: Liverpool 1 Man United 0

FA Cup 5th Round Result

Liverpool 1 Manchester United 0
Crouch 19

Half-time 1-0.

Liverpool: J Reina, S Finnan, J Carragher, S Hyypia, J Riise, S Gerrard, D Hamann,
M Sissoko, H Kewell (J Kromkamp 82), P Crouch (D Cisse 88), F
Morientes (Luis Garcia 62)
Subs: J Dudek, D Traore
Booked: D Hamann 48. S Hyypia 53, J Carragher 62, H Kewell 79

Manchester United: E Van der Sar, G Neville, W Brown, N Vidic, M Silvestre (L Saha 45), C
Ronaldo, D Fletcher (A Smith 76 (J Park 90) ), R Giggs, K Richardson, W Rooney, R
van Nistelrooy
Unused Subs: T Howard, G Pique
Booked: R Giggs 33, G Neville 74, N Vidic 76

H Webb

Continue reading FA Cup result: Liverpool 1 Man United 0

FA Cup round 5: Liverpool 1 Man United 0

Liverpool beat Manchester United for the first time at Anfield in the FA Cup since Queen Victoria was on the throne and United were still known as Newton Heath. It was eighty-five years since they’d beaten their rivals on any ground in this competition, including final and semi-finals. Alex Ferguson will now have to decide whether to start showing some respect to a competition he generally treats as being extra reserve games when United face Wigan at Cardiff in the Carling Cup final – United are now out of everything else.

The joy of Liverpool’s win was tempered somewhat by a serious injury to former Leeds striker turned United midfielder Alan Smith. Smith had hardly been on the pitch when he went to charge down a John Arne Riise free-kick. Riise doesn’t know how to under-hit a free-kick, the result saw Smith slip as he was hit by the ball, and in doing so he fell awkwardly onto his leg. Confirmed later as a broken leg, it was reportedly described by Alex Ferguson as the worst injury he’d ever seen. Considering Ferguson was in charge when David Busst was injured for Coventry against United, then it sounds like Smith is in a bad way. In situations like this all rivalries need to be forgotten and we wish Smith all the best and hope he makes a full recovery.

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