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November 8, 2013
by Jim Boardman
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Backs should be back for LFC, says Rodgers

LIVERPOOL’S defeat at Arsenal last weekend was a disappointment and the Reds will be looking to bounce back with a win against another London side this weekend. Fulham are the visitors to Anfield and Brendan Rodgers is hopeful he’ll have more of his squad available for this game.

With Glen Johnson succumbing to an infection in his jaw Jon Flanagan was drafted in late on at The Emirates for his first start in 19 months and although he played well there was something of an outcry about why Martin Kelly wasn’t picked ahead of him. Brendan Rodgers has moved to clear this up, confirming that Kelly is still some way from being back to full fitness.

Kelly’s career has been blighted by injuries and, it seems, Rodgers isn’t willing to rush him back too soon and risk another relapse: “It’s just getting him fit,” said Rodgers, “That’s the most important element of Martin’s career at the moment.”

Kelly made a late appearance last time out at Anfield as a substitute for Glen Johnson, himself returning from a period of time out injured: “I gave him a little sample in the game at home to West Brom. He came on and, afterwards, he probably didn’t feel quite right, which is why young Jon Flanagan played in the Arsenal game.”

Reserve football is likely to play a big role in Kelly’s return to full fitness: “It’s just going to take time for him. It’s great credit to him that he’s playing in the under 21 games to get his fitness.”

As for the future role for the player, it may not be at full-back and in a squad filled with centre-backs it could be some time before he finds himself established in the first team: “He’s a multi-functional player,” says Rodgers, “he can play both full-back and centre-half well. It may well be that centre-half is his position, but he’s working very hard at his fitness and we’re trying to give him as much game time as we possibly can outside of the first team, so that when he goes in he can really contribute without having to worry about whether he’s going to break down or not.”

Rodgers was full of praise for the former Academy player: “He was excellent when I first came in here last year – he started the season very well and was one of our best players. It was unfortunate he picked up the injury. He’s a good guy, he comes in every day to work and work hard.

“Naturally, when you’ve been out for so long you’re a bit tentative. When he played against West Brom, it was his first Premier League appearance for 14 months, so naturally it’s going to affect you in some way.

“As he trains and gets more games in the under 21s, you’ll hopefully see him get back to where he was at – which is a really high level.”

He won’t be needed in Liverpool’s starting line up tomorrow against Fulham with Rodgers confirming that Glen Johnson is over the illness that kept him out of last weekend’s defeat: “Glen will be fine. We don’t know what caused it – he just woke up feeling pain in his jaw.

“He trained but gradually in the build up to the Arsenal game it got worse and worse, thankfully, he got some help at the hospital and that cleared it up.”

Rodgers is also hoping to have another option open to him at left back after Aly Cissokho was substituted at half-time in last week’s game. Jose Enrique could be back: “We’re just waiting on Jose,” Rodgers said. “He’s trained and his knee is much better so we’ll hoping he will be available for the weekend.

“That’s something we’ll assess in the next 24 hours. It’ll be great to have Jose back.”

For Brendan Rodgers, being able to use his most experienced full-backs in a formation that essentially sees them playing as wing-backs will be a massive boost in the last game before the international break.

October 25, 2013
by Anfield Road
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Sakho Still to Reach 100%

MAMADOU SAKHO has admitted that he is still to reach his best form since his arrival at Liverpool despite an impressive beginning to his career at Anfield following his summer transfer.

After signing for Liverpool from Paris Saint-Germain, Sakho has already established himself as a firm fan favourite with some eye-catching performances in Brendan Rodgers’ new-look defensive setup.

While Betfair punters are undecided about whether Liverpool can continue their sensational start to the season and mount a genuine title charge, there definitely looks to be a real belief that this season could well be the start of the good times returning to Anfield.

Mamadou Sakho

The 23-year old was Rodgers’ seventh signing of the summer and, after the opening part of the season, the defender has possibly been one of the club’s stand-out players, so far.

The Frenchman combines pace with some real ability in terms of distribution, linking up well alongside Martin Skrtel and Kolo Toure as part of Rodgers new tactic of playing three centre-backs.

However, despite his impressive start to the season, Sakho has made it clear he still has plenty of room for improvement.

“I’m not yet at 100 per cent, I’m progressing with each match that we have. I work every day at training sessions to progress and to achieve the highest level. It’s logical that I would improve,” admitted Sakho, according to the betfair website.

Sakho’s form for Liverpool has recently seen the big defender make a return to the France team, which will have given the Parisian fresh belief he could be on that plane to Brazil for next summer’s World Cup.

If Sakho can maintain his early-season form throughout the rest of the Premier League campaign and help the club finish in a top-four place, it would give the defender a great chance of making it into Didier Deschamps’ France squad next summer.

October 25, 2013
by Jim Boardman
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Ferguson gives everyone else the last laugh

ALEX FERGUSON would have sold plenty of copies of his second autobiography if it had been a pleasant, sugar-coated, review of his successful managerial career. To have a career that long, with that amount of success, there must be more than a book full of happy memories and heart-warming anecdotes to tell.

If he’d done that it wouldn’t have filled the back pages all week, it wouldn’t have had the same amount of publicity, so it wouldn’t have sold as many copies. It would have sold plenty – and let’s face it, he doesn’t need the book to be a success to help fund a long comfortable retirement – but it wouldn’t have sold as many.

Maybe he just wanted to get all that stuff off his chest, maybe he really did want to make as much money out of it as possible, maybe his ghost writer was the one who picked and chose which bits to put in and where to put them. Continue Reading →

October 22, 2013
by Jim Boardman
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The life of a Scottish footballing legend. A King’s scrapbook.

THE last time Kenny Dalglish brought a book out about his life I was given it as a Christmas present and set about reading it over the holidays. I’d nearly reached the end when the news started coming through that he was coming back to Anfield, to take up the position of caretaker manager.

I couldn’t read the rest of the book after that. The ending wouldn’t be right now. This was a book about a man who was retired from the game – but Kenny wasn’t retired from the game now. I never did finish it.

A couple of years later and Kenny was definitely retired from the game when he brought another book out, “My Life (My Scrapbook)”. I’d only had time for a quick flick through it when the news started coming through that he was coming back to Anfield, to take up a position as a director.
Continue Reading →

September 27, 2013
by Anfield Road
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Relive The Kop’s Last Stand thanks to TAW

“APRIL 1994 was the end of an era in the history of Liverpool Football Club and 44,339 filled Anfield to witness it – the last day of the standing Kop.”

Nineteen years on, memories have inevitably faded of that famous old terrace, but in The Anfield Wrap’s new free app magazine there’s a chance to relive those days with some must-see video for anybody who ever climbed the steps, swayed with their mates and cheered on The Reds while standing on The Kop. Continue Reading →

September 18, 2013
by Anfield Road
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Leave the heating, find the sweatshirts

WITH the country’s politicians either still on their holidays or gathering together to pat each other on the back there’s always going to be a bit of a gap in the news. This week the media seem to be filling that hole with discussions about whether it’s time to switch the heating on or not.

It only seems like a couple of weeks since an evening in front of the box was spent either too warm or fighting with moths. That’s because it was only a couple of weeks ago.

Now the choice seems to be heating on or heating off – but surely that’s missing a stage in this transitional phase of the seasons. Before we switch that heating on maybe we should be looking at whether it’s time for something warmer than a t-shirt.

The guys at Love Follow Conquer are onto this and have added a couple of new sweatshirts to their range. Don’t even think about buying a long-sleeved version of the official LFC third kit to keep those arms warm, the colour doesn’t suit you. It doesn’t really suit anyone. And it won’t really keep you warm – unlike these sweatshirts.

Thanks Shanks sweatshirt - the badge - Love Follow Conquer

Thanks Shanks sweatshirt – the badge – Love Follow Conquer

The first one is nice and old school and features an image as recognisable to Liverpool fans as the Liverbird. That image is of Mr Bill Shankly.

Earlier in the month Reds fans around the world celebrated what would have been Shankly’s 100th birthday, remembering the achievements of a man who built Liverpool into ‘a bastion of invincibility’. It might be a while since the club could be described as that but the spirit on show in the match that followed the marking of that anniversary, against the Mancs at Anfield, made it feel like it maybe hasn’t gone forever.

The sweatshirt, in grey, features Love Follow Conquer’s “Thanks Shanks” design on a felt-backed badge.

Leiva. Sweatshirt. Love Follow Conquer

Leiva. Sweatshirt. Love Follow Conquer

The second sweatshirt simply says “Leiva”, after the older Brazilian in Liverpool’s squad. The design, which looks great with a pair of jeans, has featured on Love Follow Conquer t-shirts before now and every time they get new stock in it flies off the shelves. The advice from the guys at Love Follow is to hurry up and order yours before this one sells out too.

There’s a few other designs of sweatshirts and jumpers available on the Love Follow Conquer website but, like all Love Follow Conquer gear, these were produced in limited numbers and stock levels in some sizes on most items will be running low.

While you’re having a nose round their website it might be worth bearing in mind that sooner or later you’ll have to give in and turn that heating on. And at that point you’ll be looking for some good t-shirts to wear, no doubt with one or two that feature Liverpool FC in some way.

There’s plenty of Liverpool t-shirts to choose from on Love Follow Conquer’s site, although again you might find one or two designs have now sold out in the size you’re after. Some of our favourites include that “Thanks Shanks” design, which looks as good on a tee as does on the sweatshirt, and one that recognises another of Liverpool’s greatest icons, King of Clubs, Kenny Dalglish.

It isn’t just t-shirts and sweatshirts, there’s also a collection of polo shirts and jackets, all unique and all letting you show your support for LFC in a more subtle way than some of the clothing on offer out there.

Love Follow Conquer website: lovefollowconquer.com.

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September 17, 2013
by Jim Boardman
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IPCC calling for Hillsborough witnesses

LAST October, following on from the publication of the Hillsborough Independent Panel’s report, the Independent Police Complaints Commission launched an investigation into allegations of police misconduct or criminal behaviour during the aftermath of the Hillsborough disaster.

This investigation is looking specifically at amendments to statements, the actions and conduct of South Yorkshire Police officers after the disaster, the role of West Midlands Police and those who investigated what happened at the time. This is the biggest investigation undertaken into police conduct in England and Wales and will be examining how West Midlands Police, the force appointed to accumulate evidence for Lord Justice Taylor’s inquiry and the subsequent inquests, conducted its inquiries.

As part of their investigation the IPCC is requesting that witnesses who were at Hillsborough and gave their accounts of the disaster to police at the time to come forward.

Thousands of members of the public gave witness accounts to West Midlands Police, either in writing, via telephone or in face-to-face interviews and the IPCC wishes to speak with these people to understand more about their experiences and the process they went through.

96 people died at Hillsborough on April 15th 1989 at the start of the Liverpool FC v Nottingham Forest FA Cup semi-final.

Deputy Chair of the IPCC, Deborah Glass, said: “The publication of the Hillsborough Independent Panel and the unstinting determination of the families and survivors of Hillsborough families and survivors has set in motion the biggest criminal investigation into police misconduct in the history of England and Wales.

“As part of this, we are looking for the help of those people who were at the game as we examine how West Midlands Police conducted its investigation into the disaster.

“We want to hear from anyone who contributed to that investigation. If you gave an account what was your experience? Do you believe you were given the opportunity to reflect your experience at Hillsborough?

“We are not underestimating how incredibly difficult it will be to revisit the traumatic events of 15 April 1989 for survivors. For many, it was the worst day of their lives.   We also understand it will be difficult for many people to trust us, after being let down so many times.

“However, it is a tremendously important part of the investigation and we can only do this with the help of those witnesses.”

If you gave an account to West Midlands Police, the IPCC would like you to contact them using their dedicated online form at www.ipcc.gov.uk/hillsborough-witness-appeal. Those who don’t have access to the internet, or need assistance in completing the form, can call 0300 200 0003.

Another strand of the investigation, Operation Resolve, is looking at the events leading up to the match at Hillsborough, as well as the disaster itself, with a range of organisations to be investigated, including Sheffield Wednesday FC, The FA and South Yorkshire Ambulance Service.

More information about the IPCC’s Hillsborough investigation is available at www.ipcc.gov.uk/investigations/hillsborough.

 

September 12, 2013
by Jim Boardman
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LFC saving energy

It’s not just the wage bill being cut at Anfield as Liverpool FC make efforts to cut back on gas and electricity bills.

As far as we know it’s not because of money worries, but part of a commitment by the club to reduce its energy consumption for ‘green’ reasons. The club says it has “saved enough gas and electricity to power over 350 homes for a year” since signing up to a new energy and carbon policy. Gas consumption is down by 18 percent, electricity by 13 percent. Carbon usage was down by 1,100 tonnes and 718,475kWh of electricity was saved.

Andrew Parkinson, LFC’s Operations Director, says: “Our new policy that we set a year ago demonstrated our commitment to significantly reducing our energy and carbon consumption.

“We have worked extremely hard right across all our sites to embed energy-saving thinking into our everyday culture. We created a ‘Reds going Green’ team which was made up of employees right across the Club and we are all delighted with our first year’s performance.

“These results are also against a backdrop of one of the most challenging winters we’ve had for a long time so we are extremely proud of this achievement.

“We’ve got to build on this momentum now. We will be setting a new energy and carbon reduction target for the next 12 months and we’re also looking at setting targets for reducing our water consumption and waste management.”

With no place in Europe this season, there should be even more of a saving with less need to switch on the floodlights.

August 9, 2013
by Anfield Road
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Liverpool playing the right game in Suarez saga

NEWS this week that Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has told Luis Suarez he must train on his own should delight Reds fans, for it seems this ridiculous transfer saga is finally coming to a conclusion.

Suarez has made his intentions clear about wanting to leave Anfield and reports in the online betting news over any possible transfer have gone on long enough. Arsenal, who usually don’t go public with any transfer activity (on the rare occasion they actually have any!) made sure everyone knew they want Suarez and that the player wants to leave, in doing so trying to force Rodgers hand.

Well, the stern Northern Irishman isn’t budging and Reds fans worried Suarez is about to leave shouldn’t be concerned. Of course, the striker will depart the club this summer but under Rodgers plans. Don’t fear Reds fans, because Rodgers, playing hardball, will receive a huge fee for the striker.

Liverpool are playing the same game they did with Chelsea when the London club were courting Fernando Torres. As the January 2011 transfer deadline loomed, Chelsea got frantic and upped their bid from £35m to £50m. Granted, it didn’t leave us with much time to find a replacement but we’ve learned from that lesson here.

Just look at the players Rodgers has already signed this summer. Iago Aspas and Luis Alberto are two exciting arrivals that play football on the ground and have eyes for goal. They may not be direct replacements for Suarez – let’s face it, few players are – but this pair leaves Rodgers’ squad in a far more stable position than Kenny Dalglish faced when Torres jumped ship.

As we approach the transfer deadline we can expect more rumours to fly without any deal been done. Rodgers will wait until both Arsenal and, if they don’t get Gareth Bale, Real Madrid are desperate before laying down his terms. Football betting fans should expect £45m at least for Suarez, which may also include players, and you can be assured Rodgers has a man lined up to replace the front man.