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December 20, 2013
by Jim Boardman
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Simon Mignolet opens new LFC store in Birkenhead

Reds keeper Simon Mignolet was the star attraction last night as Liverpool FC officially unveiled their brand-new store in Birkenhead.

The new outlet, at the Pyramids Shopping Centre in the town, was officially opened by the Belgian stopper in front of a large crowd of Liverpool supporters. Mignolet took time out to sign autographs and pose for photos.

Liverpool's new store at Birkenhead, officially opened by Simon Mignolet

Speaking about the opening event at the store over the water, Mignolet said: “It’s a great honour to come and officially open the new LFC store in Birkenhead.

“Liverpool FC is a global brand and the support from our fans is absolutely fantastic, so it’s great that our supporters from across the Mersey now have their very own club store.”
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December 20, 2013
by Jim Boardman
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Reds won’t want repeat of Cardiff’s last Anfield league visit

CARDIFF CITY are the visitors at Anfield tomorrow, for the first time in a league game since 1959.

That last visit, 54 years ago almost to the day, saw Liverpool lose 4-0 on December 19th 1959 in a Division 2 fixture. It was Bill Shankly’s first game as boss and served as a demonstration of exactly what kind of work he had in front of him.

It could be Cardiff boss Malky Mackay’s last game in charge of the Welsh club, if he is still boss by then, after their owner reportedly sent him a message telling him to resign or be sacked. Brendan Rodgers spoke out yesterday about Vincent Tan’s conduct as an owner of a Premier League side, echoing the views of many a Cardiff supporter in recent times.

Tan went ahead with a move to change the colour of the home kit for Cardiff despite massive opposition. Cardiff, who used to wear blue as their home colour – to match their nickname of the Bluebirds – now wear red, although of course they’ll need to change that tomorrow.

Mackay chose not to attend his own pre-match press conference as the club’s fans await news on his future. Tan is due to fly into the UK to attend the game at Anfield.
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December 19, 2013
by Jim Boardman
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“Steven Gerrard, Michael Owen and… Me”

WITH the club having such an illustrious history it’s hardly surprising that there are so many books about Liverpool FC, whether it’s books on certain eras or certain managers, certain tournaments or certain players.

One book that is slightly different is “Steven Gerrard, Michael Owen and… Me”, by Mike Yates.

Mike Yates - "Steven Gerrard, Michael Owen and... Me"

Mike lived the dream all Liverpool fans had as kids, that dream of playing football in that shirt on that pitch at Anfield. He grew up a blue – like Jamie Carragher, Michael Owen and Steve McManaman amongst others – but once he’d signed for the Reds as a youngster he was as excited as any Liverpool fan about what it could lead to.

In the end it led to a certain amount of disappointment as eventually the day would come that Liverpool would tell him his future lay elsewhere, at least on the field. At the same time as telling him his Reds playing days were over, Steve Heighway offered him a role as one of the first full-time coaches at the newly-created LFC Academy.

Mike combined his role at the Academy with playing semi-professional for Burscough FC and it was whilst playing for the Lancashire side that he got spotted by a scout from Dundee FC.  He signed for the Scottish side, for a club record fee, and played in the Premier League north of the border for three years.

He returned to the Academy in 2001, spending ten years looking after players in the age ranges from under-10 to under-13. Today, in his 23rd year at the club, he works for the LFC International Academy.

The book is a compelling insight into the life of a would-be professional footballer, detailing the time from when Mike was first spotted playing in teams with kids much older than himself through his time as an apprentice and how close he came to that first team. Continue Reading →

December 13, 2013
by Jim Boardman
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Reds donate kit to Claire House Hospice

CLAIRE House Children’s Hospice has received a donation of boxes of official kit from Liverpool Football Club.

The donation was made as part of a long-standing partnership between the club and the hospice and saw the boxes of kit handed over at the Norris Green branch of the charity’s retail stores.

Liverpool FC donated boxes of kit to Claire House

Liverpool FC donated boxes of kit to Claire House

Handing the kit over were Academy starlets Jerome Sinclair, Dahrius Waldron, Pedro Chirivella and Andrew Firth and the lads helped to get it all ready for sale. Continue Reading →

December 12, 2013
by Jim Boardman
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Rodgers: Henderson should be fit for Spurs

BRENDAN RODGERS has confirmed that midfielder Jordan Henderson will be available for Liverpool’s game against Spurs on Sunday.

Jordan Henderson set to be available against Tottenham Hotspur

Jordan Henderson set to be available against Tottenham Hotspur

Henderson was injured in the rash challenge that saw Kevin Nolan sent off for West Ham on Saturday and began the week wearing a protective boot in training.

Rodgers says that the club were just taking extra care with the player to ensure he could recover from the knock: “Jordan trained so he’s fine, it was just precautionary the last few days.

“It was a bad challenge that was made on him, but thankfully he’s okay.

“We’ll see how he is tomorrow as well.”

Liverpool already knew they would be without Steven Gerrard for the trip to White Hart Lane, the captain now not expected back until the New Year after leaving the last match early with a hamstring strain.

According to Rodgers he’ll be without his skipper for around four weeks: “Steven is, as reported, probably going to be up to about four weeks or so. So he’ll go through an extensive treatment programme over the next numbers of weeks and, hopefully, we can get him back that little bit sooner.

It might yet turn out to be longer than month, with Rodgers adding: “But certainly at this stage, it was a four to six-week injury and we’ll see how we look with that.”

Liverpool will also be without Daniel Sturridge and Jose Enrique into the New Year due to injuries.

Liverpool's new store at Birkenhead, officially opened by Simon Mignolet

December 12, 2013
by Jim Boardman
1 Comment

Reds go to hospital

STEVEN GERRARD led his Liverpool team mates on their annual trip to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital yesterday.

Alder Hey Children's Hospital visit sg
The players were split into five groups in an attempt to ensure as many children as possible got to meet the players.

In the end they visited 20 wards and each patient got a Liverpool FC goodie bag filled with LFC merchandise – maybe not that popular a gift for the young Blues on the wards!

Gerrard, recently named as a founding partner of the hospital’s children’s charity after a £500k donation from his testimonial, said of the visit: “It’s been the same as most years, very emotional, but it’s fantastic to be here. Continue Reading →

November 28, 2013
by Jim Boardman
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Agent: Borini needs games, wants a World Cup place

LIVERPOOL’S Fabio Borini might start pushing for a move back to Italy in the New Year, according to reports.

Borini’s agent, Marco De Marchi, says that the player, currently on loan at Sunderland, needs to start getting some playing time with a World Cup looming next summer. De Marchi claims: “I can say that if Fabio’s situation doesn’t change in the next month, we could evaluate a return to Italy so that he can find the consistency he needs ahead of the World Cup. Borini would absolutely love to take part in that tournament. He dreams of Brazil in 2014 and needs games.”
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November 26, 2013
by Jim Boardman
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Flanagan gives Rodgers “something to think about”

Some players work out better than others when they’re called up to take part in their local derby – but Liverpool’s Jon Flanagan was one of those who worked out very well.

Flanagan has been sitting around waiting for the chance to go out on loan, a chance to get some game time in a squad where other full backs have been higher up the pecking order than him, but injuries have seen him start two big games for the first team and he’s no longer available on loan.

The occasion can get to players when they’re playing in front of lifelong footballing enemies but Flanagan was cool, calm, collected and composed at Goodison, despite being asked to play on the opposite flank to the one he’s used to.

His manager was impressed with his performance: “Jon Flanagan was immense,” said Brendan Rodgers.

“A young kid from the city, given the chance to play in a derby game that will be on Sky Gold in about 30 years’ time, and given the chance because of his desire to put himself out there every day.”

It’s easy to forget how young Flanagan actually is. He made his debut two-and-a-half years ago and after dropping out of the first team picture it seemed like his senior Reds career might be short lived. But Flanagan doesn’t turn 21 until New Year’s Day, there’s still a lot of time for him to develop into a player that Liverpool can make good use of.

The obstacle standing between Flanagan and a long-term career at the club is a problem that a lot of young players face, especially at clubs like Liverpool this year where there aren’t as many first team games to play as in past seasons.

Managers don’t keep their jobs long these days, it’s asking a lot of a manager to put his faith in youngsters for the long-term good of the club when he’s expected to bring success in the short term. It means clubs buy – or borrow – more experienced players to fill squad positions that could be taken by their own academy recruits.

Having worked with youngsters throughout his career Rodgers is well aware of this and wanted to get Flanagan out on loan somewhere, as he’s done with a number of the club’s other young hopefuls. But after his showings against Arsenal and especially in the derby he’ll be staying put beyond Thursday’s loan deadline.

Rodgers said after the 3-3 draw at Goodison: “He needs to play football, but if he plays like he played today, he is going to get football.

The boss express surprise at the lack of interest from other clubs in getting the use of a player with Premier League experience, cost free: “It’s been remarkable, really, that we haven’t had any clubs come in to take him on loan.

“We will always facilitate the wages, but we have had just one club come in for him, and that was a League One club. He’s a young player that needs to play.”

Some clubs showed a bit of interest but in the end it’s worked out well for club and player: “There have been a couple of enquiries about him, but nothing concrete. I just felt that I needed to have him about, and in the end I needed him to play in the Arsenal game.”

With Jose Enrique out until the middle of February and Aly Cissokho having struggled with both injury and form Liverpool need a player they can rely on now. Glen Johnson has missed games through injury himself this season and Martin Kelly is some way short of being back to full fitness.

That player could be Flanagan: “He’s done brilliantly, and that gives me something to think about,” says Rodgers.

Liverpool have a busy period coming up and one way or another it could mark a turning point in Flanagan’s career. By the time he’s celebrating his birthday, the day the transfer window reopens, he might well have established himself as a regular.

November 8, 2013
by Jim Boardman
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Ian Rush launches The Official Treasures of LFC

At a time when many people are finding e-books and e-magazines are more convenient than physical copies it’s actually quite refreshing now and again when a book comes out that needs to be seen in paper, physical, form to be enjoyed properly.

The Official Treasures of Liverpool FC, now in its second edition, is an interactive book in the old way. Supplied in a box, the book contains over 20 pieces of “exciting and rare items of removable facsimile memorabilia”. In other words, it has bits you can take out, hold in your hands and look at, like old match tickets, postcards, telegrams and more.
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