Liverpool FC

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Remzi
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Re: Liverpool FC

Sun Aug 09, 2015 12:50 am

Listen to every Reds game for free

Liverpool are about to kick off a brand new season as they get ready for 2015-16 - and you won't miss any of the action with our free audio commentary on Liverpoolfc.com.
Accessible from your desktop PC, mobile or tablet so you can listen anywhere, hear our totally 'biased and proud of it' coverage as Brendan Rodgers' charges tackle the campaign.
Join club commentator Steve Hunter and very special guests providing expert analysis at each and every first-team fixture.
So, if you can't make it to the game listen to our free commentary service featuring opinions from legends of the club's past like John Aldridge, Roy Evans, David Fairclough, Terry McDermott, Ronnie Whelan and Dietmar Hamann.
If you don't want to miss a kick, every debatable decision or some witty humour from a Kop hero every now and then, tune into our commentary service on Liverpoolfc.com.
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Remzi
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Re: Liverpool FC

Sun Aug 09, 2015 12:51 am

Brannagan on his first-team dream and Chelsea opener

As Liverpool U21s prepare to start their new season on Sunday when they face Chelsea at Langtree Park, captain Cameron Brannagan is hoping to lead by example as he strives to try and make the big step-up to the first team.
The 19-year-old made the bench on five occasions last season as he impressed Brendan Rodgers during training sessions at Melwood and was on the verge of making a first-team breakthrough.
A minor illness prevented him from being a part of the first-team squad for the summer tour of Bangkok, Brisbane, Adelaide and Malaysia, but the midfield schemer is now fully fit and ready to prove his worth once again.
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Re: Liverpool FC

Sun Aug 09, 2015 12:55 am

2015-16: The press make their predictions

Ahead of Sunday’s big kick-off at Stoke City we got the view of some of the country’s most respected writers on how they think Liverpool will get on during 2015-16.
Tony Barrett from The Times, the Liverpool Echo's Reds writer James Pearce, the Telegraph's Chris Bascombe, Andy Hunter from The Guardian and the Mirror's David Maddock all cast their expert eye on all the hopes and expectations for Brendan Rodgers' charges this term.
Who’ll win the league?

Andy Hunter: Chelsea. Expect Arsenal and Manchester United to go closer but they still have weaknesses where the champions do not. A lot rests on Diego Costa staying fit, though.

Tony Barrett: Chelsea.

James Pearce: Chelsea.

Chris Bascombe: Chelsea. They have the best manager, a way of playing which – whether you like it or not - makes them the toughest team to play (and beat). They also have a superstar in Eden Hazard, who will surely be a Barcelona target in the next 12 months.

David Maddock: Chelsea. Perhaps by default, because I can see Manchester City struggling for a couple of reasons and United still adapting to the polarising approach of Louis Van Gaal. Arsenal may still be two or three players short, and Liverpool will effectively be integrating a whole new team into their squad.

Where will Liverpool finish?

Hunter: 5th.

Barrett: 5th.

Pearce: 4th.

Bascombe: Have to say 5th. To be optimistic on Liverpool’s behalf, when asked the same question in 2013-14 the answer was also 5th. Look what happened then.

Maddock: If they can get through the first set of tough away games with a healthy accumulation of points, then I can see then reaching the top four...third even. In the equivalent games last season to the first seven away games this time, they took five points. Better than that this time, and it will leave them in a reasonable position to push on in the second half of the campaign, as they traditionally do under Brendan Rodgers. There is an upside to playing all the top teams away so early in the season - it means you play them at home later in the season, which is actually a real benefit.

What do you think of the new additions to the squad and what are you expecting from Christian Benteke?

Hunter: Good considering there is no Champions League football on offer, and Liverpool have certainly acted more decisively and logically in the transfer market this summer compared to last. Nathaniel Clyne is an excellent addition, James Milner on a free looks an astute piece of business and Christian Benteke is a more talented striker than he has been given credit for. The Belgium international is not just about power and, in a more creative team than Aston Villa, can be more effective and more consistent.

Barrett: The initial signs are promising. The first team has been strengthened in a number of key positions and although the majority of the signings are first-team ready, they also have the potential to improve. Benteke is a good signing and I think he will pleasantly surprise a few people because he is not the conventional target man that many see him as. He has power, pace, good movement and he can trouble any defence. I'm one of those who feels the fee was on the heavy side but if Benteke scores the goals that take Liverpool back into the top four no-one will have any complaints about how much he cost.

Pearce: I think Liverpool have bought well. Signing James Milner on a free transfer was a real coup. He’s massively under-rated and his wealth of experience will help the young players around him. Right-back Nathaniel Clyne looks the perfect replacement for Glen Johnson, while Joe Gomez has already shown what huge potential he has. Liverpool needed to buy goals this summer and they have done that with the deals for Christian Benteke, Roberto Firmino and Danny Ings. The price tag for Benteke brings a lot of pressure but his scoring record for Aston Villa was excellent and he should flourish with better players around him.

Bascombe: Not overly keen on judgements without seeing these players in competitive action over a long period, but some of the acquisitions seem more sensible and thoroughly considered than risky, which makes a pleasant change to recent years. Benteke’s record against Liverpool speaks for itself. If he scores 20 goals this season Liverpool should have between 10-15 points more. That would be a good return.

Maddock: I like Benteke, he always seemed to produce amazing performances against Liverpool, and displayed far more than aerial prowess. He's got pace, strength, touch and finishing qualities, and with the service Firmino and Coutinho can provide, can thrive at Anfield. I think the new additions look considered and well thought out signings...perhaps in contrast somewhat to last summer. Most importantly, there are goals in the team now, and those goals could take them into the top four, just as the lack of them kept Liverpool outside the Champions League places.

What do you think of the prospect of a Benteke/Daniel Sturridge partnership?

Hunter: Their qualities could complement each other well and a fit Sturridge would benefit any team, but keeping him fit is the problem. In his absence, the key will be Benteke developing an understanding with Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino and Jordon Ibe.

Barrett: On paper, it looks an ideal pairing. Both have qualities that seem to complement the other and they are also the kind of qualities - pace, movement, power - that defenders hate facing. For me, Sturridge remains key to everything. If he's fit and back in form, then Liverpool's chances of achieving their objectives this season will improve immeasurably.

Pearce: I’m intrigued to see how Benteke fits into the Reds’ style of play. He’s much more than a target man but it will be interesting to see if Liverpool do play more direct to utilise his aerial ability. Brendan Rodgers seems intent on playing 4-3-3 with Benteke as the focal point of that. When Daniel Sturridge is fit he may have to settle for playing in a slightly wider role, but the prospect of them working in tandem is exciting.

Bascombe: Not sure how that will work, to be honest. I expect Liverpool to start the season in a 4-3-3. If that goes well, Sturridge will have to fit into it. Too often it has seemed the manager has compromised how he wants to line-up because the players didn't suit it. This season feels different. Players appear to have been recruited to suit a particular formation, which can only be for the greater good. Having said that, if 4-3-3 doesn't work there is plenty of room for tweaking when Sturridge returns. He needs to get fit first - and then stay fit. It may sound brutal but until such time it feels a waste of time thinking about a Sturridge/Benteke partnership. The manager certainly can't afford to think that far ahead.

Maddock: Intriguing, especially when you consider how Brendan Rodgers will accommodate both. Sturridge and Suarez worked because both could play wider at a pinch, even if both preferred the central role. I can't see Liverpool playing 4-4-2, so it will be interesting to see how the pair are used in a three-man front-line.

Divock Origi is a young talent with a potential big future. How much can the presence of Benteke help the young Belgian settle at Anfield?

Hunter: Benteke has arguably already helped Origi's career – inadvertently – as it was his absence at the World Cup last summer that gave the younger striker the game-time to make such an impact in Brazil. It would be wrong to overlook the fact that Benteke also needs time to settle at Anfield, this is a major step in his career, but given he has three years' experience of the Premier League and overcame some difficult moments at Villa, he is in a position to to offer Origi valuable advice.

Barrett: It will be a big help. It's hard enough for a player of any age to move to a club of Liverpool's size but when you are as young and inexperienced as Origi is then it can even be intimidating, particularly as he is also coming from abroad. Benteke will be able to play a key role in helping his fellow countryman settle, although I doubt there will be a shortage of support on that front as Liverpool's dressing room is known to be a welcoming place for new players.

Pearce: It’s got to help Origi’s development having an international teammate like Benteke around. Origi has shown flashes of his undoubted ability during pre-season but still has much to learn. I think he’s one for the future rather than the present but with the Europa League and the domestic cups he should still get plenty of game time.

Bascombe: It can’t do any harm. Origi is evidently a work in progress, but I’m sure he will have plenty of opportunities. His pace is certainly going to be an asset when games become stretched.

Maddock: It depends how big their rivalry for a national team place is! It will be a huge thing to have a fellow countryman in the dressing room. Both are from similar backgrounds and share similar early experiences, so it should be easy for Origi to relate to Benteke and his development path.

Jordan Henderson is now the club captain. What type of captain do you expect him to be and how influential is he for Brendan Rodgers?

Hunter: Steven Gerrard's departure was always going to create an authority-issue for the next Liverpool captain, whoever it turned out to be, and Jordan Henderson has a major job this season both in terms of the captaincy and developing a rapport in a new-look central midfield with James Milner and Emre Can. Wouldn't expect him to be overawed by either challenge, however. He'll be vocal, very approachable inside the dressing room and looking to lead by his performances.

Barrett: First and foremost, he's a captain who already commands the respect of his teammates. That is absolutely crucial and Henderson has no worries whatsoever on that front. Of course, there are few bigger challenges than replacing Steven Gerrard as Liverpool captain but Henderson will do things his own way. He is a big player at the club now, both on and off the pitch, and the expectation will be that he kicks on to an even higher level, something that I believe he is capable of.

Pearce: Having served as vice-captain under Steven Gerrard, it was a natural progression for Henderson to take on the armband. It’s a tough act to follow but he has already embraced the challenge and he commands the respect of his teammates. Like Gerrard, Henderson will lead by example. He’s a model professional and will set standards he expects the rest of the squad to follow. Henderson has made big strides forward in recent years but now he needs to take the next step. He needs to influence games in the final third more this season and prove he can lead from the front and dominate contests like his predecessor.

Bascombe: Replacing Steven Gerrard is impossible. Although Henderson has the armband I suspect he’ll lean heavily on the likes of James Milner, particularly in his first season. The appointment of Gary McAllister should also help him. We all saw the influence McAllister had on Gerrard as his game evolved.

Maddock: He's got a huge role to play this season, because there isn't a great deal of experience in the side now, with Steven Gerrard leaving. He's such an honest type, Henderson, a genuine person who you know will lead with dignity just as his predecessor did. I'm hoping the captaincy will help him grow as a player, and give him the belief he needs to take another step forward towards becoming a top-class international.

Surprise package team?

Hunter: Bournemouth.

Barrett: It's not really a surprise because they improved throughout last season but I expect Stoke City's improvement to continue and they could find themselves among the European places.

Pearce: Bournemouth. Eddie Howe has done a fantastic job there and I fancy him to keep them up.

Bascombe: Crystal Palace. It may not be such a surprise given how they finished last season under Alan Pardew, but I don’t think they’ll be anywhere near a relegation battle.

Maddock: Stoke. They finished well last year (as nobody at Anfield needs reminding) and have made some good signings this summer. They can challenge Spurs and Everton for the Europa League places if they start well.

Player of the Year?

Hunter: Had to predict this for the Guardian last week and opted for an Evertonian who now captains Manchester United, so might be for the best if I swerve this one on here!

Barrett: Alexis Sanchez.

Pearce: Sergio Aguero (if he stays fit).

Bascombe: Eden Hazard.

Maddock: For Liverpool, Benteke. In the Premier League, Eden Hazard.

Relegated?

Hunter: Norwich City, Leicester City and Watford.

Barrett: Bournemouth, Leicester City and Norwich City.

Pearce: Watford, Aston Villa and Sunderland.

Bascombe: Bournemouth, Norwich City and Leicester City.

Maddock: Usually the sides who come up, and definitely Watford. Probably Norwich and Bournemouth too, though I'm hoping Eddie Howe can do what Brendan Rodgers did at Swansea and surprise with his attacking style...in which case, I'd tip Villa to be the third.

LFC player to watch?

Hunter: Got to be Philippe Coutinho on the basis of last season but hopefully Jordon Ibe, Firmino and Benteke will ensure there is stronger competition this season.

Barrett: Joe Gomez. Remarkably accomplished and composed given his age, the teenager really looks the part and in Brendan Rodgers he has a manager who has no qualms about giving opportunities to young players so he could really flourish.

Pearce: Jordon Ibe. If the young winger continues to perform like he has done in pre-season then Kopites won’t be bemoaning the exit of Raheem Sterling.

Bascombe: Jordon Ibe.

Maddock: Jordon Ibe. He can develop into a top-class player with his direct running, power and ability to strike from distance. It could be a big year for him.

One hope as a reporter this season?

Hunter: That it is far better than the last one.

Barrett: To write something decent for once! That and for a genuinely competitive title race and a season that captures the imagination. Anything else would be a bonus.

Pearce: Having a cup final to report on.

Bascombe: Despite what many think, there is no desire to write about a manager being under pressure after every poor performance or defeat. It would be fantastic to get through this season with the focus on high-class football, just as it was a couple of years ago.

Maddock: That Liverpool return to the form and momentum of two seasons ago. That run, when they so very nearly won the title (and people seem to forget HOW close they came) was as exciting as any campaign as I can remember, and I've been covering the game since the 1980s. English football needs a strong Liverpool team.
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Re: Liverpool FC

Sun Aug 09, 2015 1:36 pm

Plako wrote:
He paid the $40 already? Damn that was fast

Lol he bought the whole place ;)
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Remzi
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Re: Liverpool FC

Sun Aug 09, 2015 3:31 pm

U21s suffer last-gasp heartache

Missed chances proved costly as a stoppage-time goal saw Liverpool U21s lose 1-0 to Chelsea in the opening game of the new season on Sunday at Langtree Park.
In the second minute of injury time with the young Reds pushing forward hoping for the winning goal, they were caught on the counter-attack.
Charlie Musonda provided an inviting pass for Tammy Abraham and the England U18 striker beat Ryan Fulton to grab the three points.
Up to that point Michael Beale’s charges had been impressive. With Cameron Brannagan leading by example in the middle of the park, Alex O'Hanlon spraying the ball around from left to right with precision and style, and Sergi Canos and Harry Wilson a threat in the wide areas, all that was lacking in the play was a goal.
After just six minutes Brannagan was so unlucky when his 20-yard drive beat Mitchell Beeney but the ball cannoned back off the bar, and Jerome Sinclair could only fire the rebound over the top.
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Remzi
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Re: Liverpool FC

Sun Aug 09, 2015 3:32 pm

Bogdan: Simon sets a really high level

Adam Bogdan insists he is not fazed by the big challenge that lies ahead of him as he aims to become a more than able deputy for Simon Mignolet.
The Hungarian's long-term goal is to become Liverpool's last line of defence, but he is aware of the hard work that will be required to make that dream a reality in future years.
As Brendan Rodgers’ charges prepare to kick off another campaign by facing Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium, Liverpool’s new No.34 is ready and waiting if needed.
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Remzi
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Re: Liverpool FC

Sun Aug 09, 2015 3:35 pm

Mignolet: It's a completely different game

Liverpool must forget all about last season's horror show at Stoke and look to make a fresh start when the teams meet again today, according to Simon Mignolet.
The goalkeeper was part of a Reds side that shipped six goals against the Potters in May as a difficult 2014-15 campaign came to a disappointing end.
But he insists that every game is 'completely different' and doesn't believe Liverpool's last visit to the Britannia Stadium will have any bearing on proceedings this time around.
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Re: Liverpool FC

Sun Aug 09, 2015 3:37 pm

Lallana: Why Stoke start is a great chance

The twist of fate that sends Liverpool to Stoke City on Sunday is an opportunity that should be embraced, according to Adam Lallana.
Against the odds, the Reds will begin the 2015-16 season at the same venue where they ended the previous campaign in unceremonious fashion.
Stoke plundered half-a-dozen goals in the May meeting at the Britannia Stadium en route to a 6-1 result that Lallana and co have had to stew over for months.
When the new fixture list was confirmed, though, the No.20 saw Liverpool’s pairing with the Potters as an anomaly that can be used to their advantage.
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Re: Liverpool FC

Sun Aug 09, 2015 3:38 pm

Crouch: Expect a very different scoreline!

Peter Crouch has warned his Stoke City teammates not to expect a repeat of the thrashing they handed out to Liverpool in the final game of last season when the sides meet again today.
The former Kop favourite was among the goalscorers as Mark Hughes' side ended the campaign in style with an emphatic 6-1 victory in May, but he knows Brendan Rodgers' charges will arrive at the Britannia Stadium with a score to settle.
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Re: Liverpool FC

Sun Aug 09, 2015 3:39 pm

Stoke v Liverpool: 11 pre-match stats

Liverpool start the new season by taking on Stoke City in the Barclays Premier League this afternoon – check out 11 interesting facts and figures ahead of kick-off here.
In league football, Liverpool have recorded 58 wins over Stoke. Today's opponents have been victorious against the Reds 30 times, while there have been 32 draws.
Brendan Rodgers’ side return to the Britannia Stadium 77 days after suffering a shock 6-1 defeat on the final day of the 2014-15 season.
The Reds and Stoke have met on the opening day of a campaign six times and Liverpool have won four (each of the last four clashes), with the two fixtures at Stoke producing a draw and a defeat.

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