Liverpool FC Women’s captain Sophie Bradley-Auckland feels ‘honoured’ to be preparing to lead her team out at Anfield in Sunday's Merseyside derby clash with Everton.
The game will be the first Women’s Super League fixture ever staged at the Reds’ home ground.
It marks yet another milestone for Bradley-Auckland, who has overcome severe injury problems in her career to emerge last season as an ever-present for Liverpool Women and the winner of the Players’ Player of the Year award.
While team results have not been what was hoped this season, Bradley-Auckland has been her normal dependable self at the heart of the defence and she was recently a finalist for the Northwest Women’s Footballer of the Year award.
“It will be a massive honour to lead the girls out but just to play at Anfield is amazing,” she told Liverpoolfc.com.
“It means so much to so many of the players because we not only play for Liverpool but we support Liverpool as well and what better game than a derby.
“Whenever you play in a derby there’s always that extra bit of fight and energy going round the pitch and it’s always a different buzz so it’s a fantastic that this game will be played at Anfield.”
Watch LFCW v Everton live on YouTube (restrictions apply)
Looking back to her long road back from injury, Bradley-Auckland feels occasions like Sunday’s have made everything worthwhile.
She added: “It definitely has paid off. I’m super proud, just to be back playing football for me is a massive thing and then to have had a decent season here at Liverpool last year means the world to me and my family.
“It’s a huge honour for all the girls to think we can play here and for it to be happening means so much.
“It took everyone’s breath away a bit when we heard because that’s how much it means to us.”
Liverpool FC Women take on Everton at Anfield at 3pm GMT on Sunday. All available seats for Sunday's game have now been sold or allocated. There will be NO tickets available to buy at Anfield on matchday.
"The world stopped almost. Everyone froze, and then as soon as the ball hit the net it was just pandemonium everywhere.
“I was in row EE and I ended up in row CC or something like that. It was ridiculous, about four of us went right over the seats; you see families with kids and they’re all going for it, old fellas on the floor. Pandemonium is the only word to describe it.”
The seven minutes between 4.47pm and 4.54pm a fortnight ago today will assume a fond place in the memory of Liverpool fans.
Whether it was received by mobile phone, car stereo or TV, the news that the Reds had gone from trailing Aston Villa 1-0 in the 87th minute to winning 2-1 – thereby maintaining their lead of the Premier League and extending their 10-month unbeaten streak in the division – provoked an intense burst of emotion.
If that’s how it felt to process the drama at a distance, though, how did it feel to actually be there, at a wet and windswept Villa Park, as Jürgen Klopp’s side again proved their tag of ‘mentality monsters’?
And, more broadly, how has it felt to be a member of the travelling Kop during the last few seasons, at a time when crucial late goals seem to be flying in so regularly?
The description at the beginning of this article gives us some idea. Sam Evans has spent two-thirds of his young life following Liverpool and was there in the upper tier of the Doug Ellis Stand as the thrill of that November 2 match unfolded.
“It’s the best feeling in the world, I don’t think there’s anything better,” says the 18-year-old from Rainhill. “To be getting beat with five minutes to go, and you’ve got Villa fans winding you up, then to score in that fashion, it was unbelievable.
“Fulham [2-1 last March] was very good, Southampton [3-1 last April] is one that comes close, but this one, when Sadio Mane scored, and the fact it came in the corner [next to where the visiting fans were located], it was ridiculous.
“We ended up in a different spot and just stayed there, everybody was too busy singing the Mane song, and it wasn’t long until the referee blew for full-time.
“In terms of falls, I’ve had some big ones, obviously [Divock] Origi in the Champions League final, [Mohamed] Salah at Southampton – I didn’t think that would be beaten – but [Villa] was up there with anything I’ve ever been to.”
Kieran Molyneux, the singer and guitarist who has recently played in Denmark and the Republic of Ireland as part of BOSS Night’s travelling troupe, was also in the thick of it at Villa Park.
“There’s a video of me going round,” he laughs. “Someone’s filming from about four rows deep, and you just see me run back on myself and then run towards the corner flag, trying to get towards the players. I just couldn’t believe it.
“It seems to be worth more now, every single time we score a late winner it seems to get bigger. Everyone else is like, ‘This is getting beyond a joke now’, but we’re like, ‘Come on, let’s go.’”
From Salah at St Mary’s to Daniel Sturridge at Stamford Bridge, Ragnar Klavan at Turf Moor and, lest we forget, Mane at Goodison Park, last-gasp winners and equalisers have become so frequent that Liverpool supporters can no longer claim to be shocked by them.
But with their team heavily embroiled in title races this season and last, those heightened stakes dictate that the fans’ emotional reaction is just as intense every time.
“You talk about Manchester United in the late 1990s and early 2000s,” Kieran continues. “You didn’t know how they were managing it, it was like, ‘How are they doing this again?’ And looking at Liverpool now, it’s the other teams in the league asking that.
“Going back to the Mane one, or the Borussia Dortmund one with [Dejan] Lovren, they were surprise goals, but now it feels like we’re not panicking; I’m not panicking in the stand and the players don’t seem to be panicking on the pitch.
“We’ve had big late winners in the past, [Yossi] Benayoun under [Rafael] Benitez, [Dirk] Kuyt under [Kenny] Dalglish, but again they were all shocks, late goals out of nowhere when Liverpool were a bit more of an underdog. Whereas now we’re in control. This isn’t chance anymore, scoring late comes from Klopp’s attention to detail.”
The body language of Liverpool’s players – Andy Robertson sprinting back to the halfway line after scoring, Trent Alexander-Arnold dashing over to take that 94th-minute corner – has been cited as key in the wave of momentum the Reds built up on that afternoon in Birmingham, and Molyneux sees it as evidence that a subtle psychological shift has taken place.
“We definitely feed off that,” he states. “We as fans used to drive the team on, the Dortmund game for example, [Adam] Lallana at Norwich – those late winners that happened earlier in Klopp’s reign.
“Now, our players seem to have a better and more ambitious mentality than us fans. When we scored on 87 minutes, we were all still celebrating when the players kicked off again. I hadn’t seen that before.
“We were just like, ‘Wow, our record’s still intact, we’re still top of the league, big game next week.’ It all happened in milliseconds, but the players are a step ahead.
“The let-off now under Klopp, we’ve had big ones before but he’s given us some of our biggest late winners ever. You’d say the Origi one against Barcelona is even bigger than the [Steven] Gerrard one against Olympiakos. And Mane against Everton – is that bigger than the [Gary] McAllister one?”
Kieran and Sam both travel to away games on the Cambraco bus, a long-running service that does pick-ups in the south and the north of Liverpool before setting off for every corner of the Premier League map.
It’s a seven-hour round trip to Newcastle, eight hours to Watford, 10 hours to Norwich, Bournemouth and Southampton, with a whole lot of sights, sounds and smells to endure along the way.
“If you get beat and you’re seven hours away from home, it’s a long old journey, and you’re talking tactics,” Kieran reflects. “It all gets a bit miserable and grim, but when you’ve just scored a last-minute winner and you’re in a title race, it makes that seven-hour journey home a lot more special.”
Sam adds: “People say to you, ‘I couldn’t be bothered going to Bournemouth at half three on a Saturday morning’, but everything’s worthwhile when something like Villa happens, and a big part of it is because you’re with the same people, following the same routines.
“They’re all boss lads and everyone gets on well. What epitomised the whole experience [of Villa] was, we got a picture with about eight of us, the front end, Kieran and all them, and then someone was like, ‘Come on, get the back end in’, so the whole coach is in the picture.
“That’s the best part of the day, for me; apart from the match itself, being on the coach is the best by far. When you’re with your mates that you go with every single week – home and away, Europe – being with them when a goal goes in and being on top of each other, there’s literally no better feeling.
“You look at them and they’re enjoying the moment, but it’s more than enjoyment, you can see it in their faces.”
Liverpool Football Club is deeply saddened by the passing of former captain Johnny Wheeler at the age of 91.
Crosby-born, Wheeler was a versatile right-sided player who joined the Reds from Bolton Wanderers in September 1956.
Then aged 28, Wheeler would go on to make 177 appearances for Liverpool, scoring 23 goals, and was appointed club captain by manager Phil Taylor in the 1958-59 season.
Three of those 23 goals came in a remarkable five-minute hat-trick against Port Vale a couple of months after he had arrived at Anfield.
Wheeler, capped once internationally by England, left the club in the summer of 1963 and became an assistant trainer at Bury.
The thoughts of everybody at LFC are with Johnny’s family and friends at this sad time.
RIP Johnny Wheeler, July 1928-November 2019
Last Updated: 16/11/19 10:55amDominic Matteo has been taken ill this week
Liverpool and Leeds have issued their support for their former defender Dominic Matteo after he was taken ill this week and underwent surgery on a brain tumour.
Matteo, 45, underwent an operation on a brain tumour on Monday and is currently being treated in hospital after coming out of intensive care.
He made his debut for the Reds in October 1993 and went on to become a regular under Roy Evans and later Gerard Houllier for four seasons at Liverpool from 1996-97, making a total of 155 appearances for the club.
Matteo - who also represented Scotland at international level - departed for Leeds United in 2000, where he spent four years, before spells with Blackburn Rovers and Stoke City.
"The thoughts of everyone at the club are with Dom, his family and friends and we will be offering our support to them throughout this difficult time," a Liverpool statement read.
"We wish Dom a full and speedy recovery and will offer any support we can to his wife and family."
Former club Leeds took to social media to offer their support for Matteo.
Liverpool FC is sending its support to Dominic Matteo after the former Reds player was taken seriously ill earlier this week.
Matteo, 45, underwent an operation on a brain tumour on Monday and is currently being treated in hospital after coming out of intensive care.
The thoughts of everyone at the club are with Dom, his family and friends and we will be offering our support to them throughout this difficult time.
A popular member of the Liverpool side in the 1990s and a regular pundit and commentator on LFCTV in recent years, Matteo made his debut for the Reds in October 1993.
He went on to become a regular under Roy Evans and later Gerard Houllier for four seasons from 1996-97, making a total of 155 appearances for the club.
Matteo – who also represented Scotland at international level – departed for Leeds United in 2000, where he spent four years, before spells with Blackburn Rovers and Stoke City.
We wish Dom a full and speedy recovery and will offer any support we can to his wife and family.
Dom's family would like to place on record their gratitude to all staff at Leeds General Infirmary and express their thanks for all of the messages of support they have received.
Last Updated: 16/11/19 4:00pm0:54 England's players are in good spirits as they get stuck into training ahead of their final European Qualifier England's players are in good spirits as they get stuck into training ahead of their final European Qualifier
Jordan Henderson and Joe Gomez have been ruled out of England’s final European Qualifier in Kosovo on Sunday.
Liverpool captain Henderson came into the squad with a viral infection that has not fully cleared.
Henderson's club team-mate Gomez clashed knees with Kieran Trippier in training on Friday and was hoping the impact injury would settle down, but he remains in a lot of pain and was unable to train.3:46 England booked their place at Euro 2020 with a 7-0 thrashing of Montenegro England booked their place at Euro 2020 with a 7-0 thrashing of Montenegro
Gomez was happy to fly to Kosovo with the rest of the squad but England manager Gareth Southgate thought there was no point taking him when he would not be able to play.
The pair have now returned to Liverpool, meaning Gareth Southgate will head to Pristina on Saturday with a 23-man squad.
England have already qualified for Euro 2020 after they thrashed Montenegro 7-0 at Wembley on Thursday.0:41 Former England striker Alan Smith says Joe Gomez did not deserve to be booed by fans Former England striker Alan Smith says Joe Gomez did not deserve to be booed by fans
However, England's 1,000th international was overshadowed by the boos that greeted Gomez when he came on as a second-half substitute.
Gomez was left with a scratch on his face following a confrontation with Raheem Sterling this week at St George's Park, with the two having clashed in Liverpool's 3-1 victory over Manchester City in the Premier League on Sunday.
Sterling was subsequently dropped from the squad to face Montenegro.No international break for Super 6
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The calmness of Caoimhin Kelleher during Liverpool's dramatic penalty shootout victory over Arsenal came as no surprise to U23s goalkeeper coach Mark Morris.
Kelleher produced a brilliant stop to deny Dani Cebaillos as the Reds reached the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup following an incredible 5-5 draw at Anfield.
It was a proud night for the Academy, with U23s captain Curtis Jones also netting the winning spot-kick, and Morris was delighted to witness Kelleher's big moment.
"Caiomhin is based at Melwood but wherever possible he comes down to play for the U23s,” Morris told Liverpoolfc.com.
"He played on the Saturday for the U23s against Blackburn Rovers which led into Wednesday night for him [against Arsenal]. I wished him all the best on the day of the game.
"When he does come down to the Academy he’s great and he is progressing really nicely. He’s a top class 'keeper.
"From John [Achterberg] and Jack [Robinson] at Melwood and all of us here at the Academy, we have all had part of his development.
"He’s still developing now but we all root for him and wish him all the best. You are a little bit nervous inside yourself before the game for him which is great because we are close.”
As for the shootout, Morris revealed a lot of homework goes into helping the goalkeepers deal with such a pressurised situation.
"Obviously that’s part of a goalkeeper coach’s role and John and Jack would have sat him down before. If you watch them back I think he went the right way for every single penalty,” he said.
"You do your research and watch as many penalties and as many clips as you can so the goalkeepers can have an idea of what’s going to happen."
In her latest column, Liverpool FC Women manager Vicky Jepson looks forward to Sunday’s eagerly anticipated Anfield debut against their Everton counterparts.
We have been counting down the days and our appearance at Anfield is almost upon us. We can’t wait. Even if we weren’t playing this game at Anfield we need no extra motivation for playing in a Merseyside derby. Playing against Everton is something we always look forward to and the fact that we get to play them on our iconic turf of Anfield just adds that special spark to the occasion.
Our professional female players deserve this opportunity to play at Anfield for the first time. They work tirelessly hard week-in, week-out and regardless of our results so far they always give everything they have got. Going on the red bus to play at Anfield is nothing more than what they deserve and we hope to show what we are all about. If we could get the three points I really do believe it would be the biggest way to kick-start our season. The one thing we are not going to keep focusing on is the outcome because our process and our performance on the day has to be good first. We can’t get overexcited by the occasion - I want the players to obviously enjoy it but make sure we are 100 per cent focused to get our performance right so we can compete and the outcome will then take care of itself.
Watch Sunday's historic game live on YouTube (restrictions apply)
Last season we ended the campaign with a very good performance against Everton when Christie Murray got a hat-trick of assists. That was the best way to end last season when we had highs and lows. We said before the game we were going to do it and we did it. We have a lot of respect for Everton and their manager Willie Kirk. He has strengthened his squad during the summer and they have had a great start to the season. Willie is a fantastic manager and he has players who will be absolutely chomping at the bit to take us on at our first-team men’s stadium, but we will be ready for that. We’ve got to focus on ourselves and make sure we do everything that we can to add that extra 10 per cent to make sure our performance is right so the outcome will be in our favour.
What we must do on the day is not let the occasion affect our mindset in the game. We need to make sure we are really clear in all of our roles and responsibilities and also understand how much derbies mean to this club. In these games you do need to bring that extra 10 per cent to your game and make sure when that final whistle goes you have left absolutely everything on that pitch. If you have done that then that is all we as staff can ask for.
Our fantastic fans play such an important role in our performance and they can do so again at Anfield. We have seen when the red men play there, like that Champions League game against Barcelona last season when against all odds we managed to come back and win that incredible game. The fans were chanting constantly and that gives players extra fuel and extra fire in their belly to go and compete and add that extra bit of spark in front of goal. So, my message to our fans would be get behind us, get on your feet and sing your hearts out for our girls and hopefully we can reward them.
All available seats for Sunday's game have now been sold or allocated. There will be NO tickets available to buy at Anfield on matchday.
Sadio Mane does not take for granted the opportunity to be part of a prolific front three with Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah.
The goals from Mane and Salah in Sunday’s 3-1 win over Manchester City increased the combined tally of the trio since the beginning of 2017-18 to 183.
Having helped the Reds to clinch a sixth European Cup in June, all three were nominated for the 2019 Ballon d’Or and have been integral to Jürgen Klopp’s side opening up an eight-point lead at the top of the Premier League.
Mane believes the combination with Firmino and Salah works so effectively because of the simplicity of the way they operate with one another.
“I always say it is very easy to work together. Personally, I just think myself very lucky to play alongside these great players,” the Senegal international says in the new edition of the official Liverpool FC magazine.
“Every single player who plays alongside them would enjoy it because they are very good players and they make everything easy, so I just enjoy playing alongside them.
“We are all from different countries and speak different first languages but I think football is one language and it is universal so everybody can speak it. It is the same with Mo, Bobby and myself.”
Mane was a major signing sealed by the club in the summer of 2016, ahead of Klopp’s first full season in charge.
The No.10 feels he has improved year on year since completing that move to Anfield from Southampton and has already struck 11 goals this term as the Reds try to build on their Champions League glory.
Mane credits his and the squad’s ongoing development to the manager’s sure handling.
“I would struggle to describe just how good and how successful he has been for Liverpool. Everybody can see what he has done for this club, for this city and the quality he has as a manager,” he said of Klopp.
“[He] always has the right words and the right things to manage his team, especially knowing how to deal with his team. I would always trust his influence on the team. He is a winner.”
All available seats for Sunday’s Merseyside derby between Liverpool FC Women and Everton have now been sold or allocated.
The vast majority of supporters will be located in The Kop and Sir Kenny Dalglish stands with Everton’s allocation seated in the Anfield Road end.
Ticket sales were scheduled to end at 3pm GMT on Saturday but the tickets have now either been sold or distributed to local schoolchildren and junior teams through the LFC Foundation and Red Neighbours programmes.
Supporters are asked not to travel to Anfield on Sunday if they are not in possession of a ticket – there will be NO tickets available to buy on match day.
The match will kick off at 3pm and will be broadcast live on LFCTV, LFCTV GO and Facebook (territory restrictions apply).
Last Updated: 15/11/19 11:05pm0:23 Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk says he was disappointed to see team-mate Joe Gomez get booed by England fans Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk says he was disappointed to see team-mate Joe Gomez get booed by England fans
Virgil van Dijk has defended Liverpool team-mate Joe Gomez after his row with Raheem Sterling and has called for people to "leave him alone".
Gomez was loudly booed by some England supporters in the 7-0 win over Montenegro on Thursday, which left him devastated and manager Gareth Southgate offering the player and his family extra support after the game.
The boos followed a row at St George's Park on Monday when Sterling tried to grab Gomez by the neck and said "you think you're the big man now?" after Liverpool's 3-1 win over Manchester City.5:23 How Raheem Sterling's row with Gomez unfolded in the England camp How Raheem Sterling's row with Gomez unfolded in the England camp
That row led to Southgate handing Sterling a one-game ban after both players had made up, meaning the City forward missed the win over Montenegro and may be the reason why some England fans decided to boo Gomez.
"It's disappointing to see," Van Dijk said of England supporters' treatment toward Gomez.
"I want to say as well it's been dealt with. I think everyone should stop talking about it because it's just a thing that happened. They all sorted it out.
"Everyone needs to move on, leave Joe especially alone. But yes, it was disappointing to see."
Van Dijk was speaking ahead of the Netherlands' European Qualifier against Northern Ireland on Saturday, live on Sky Sports Football.N Ireland vs Netherlands
November 16, 2019, 7:15pm
The 28-year-old will reunite with Gomez next week ahead of Liverpool's trip to Crystal Palace on November 23. The Reds are eight points clear at the top of the Premier League following the victory over title-rivals City.
Gomez is an extremely popular figure inside the England dressing room, and Sky Sports News understands there is widespread bemusement among his international team-mates about why the crowd reacted to him in the way they did.0:37 England manager Gareth Southgate says he 'doesn't understand' why Gomez was booed England manager Gareth Southgate says he 'doesn't understand' why Gomez was booed
Gomez was amongst the first England players to leave the changing room after the game, and walked through the mixed zone alongside a senior member of England's media team.
Sterling himself tweeted after the game, appealing for the England fans to stop the abuse, making it clear that Gomez was entirely blameless in the spat that left him with a scratch under his eye.
Southgate too praised Gomez's reaction to the provocation from Sterling, saying he had shown admirable restraint and professionalism.
Southgate has indicated Sterling will start the game against Kosovo in Pristina on Sunday night, after he was dropped at Wembley as punishment, as England's 7-0 victory secure their place at the Euro 2020 finals.
It is thought a number of senior England players are now keen for Gomez to also be given a starting place, to reinforce the image of squad unity, and help the Liverpool man get over one of the most difficult weeks in his career.No international break for Super 6
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