Football Expert & Columnist"Before Houllier came, the British way at half-time would be that when the door shut, everyone would be talking non-stop"
Last Updated: 21/08/19 6:10am7:20 Jamie Carragher joins Geoff Shreeves for this week's Off Script. Carra reveals his most memorable team talks and how effective they were Jamie Carragher joins Geoff Shreeves for this week's Off Script. Carra reveals his most memorable team talks and how effective they were
In the latest Off Script, Jamie Carragher explains how Gerard Houllier changed the art of the team talk for him, and why Ashley Cole was so special.
Carragher's friend and Plymouth manager Ryan Lowe recently allowed Sky Bet behind the scenes at the club, including a fascinating look at his pre-match team talks.7:52 Sky Bet went behind the scenes at Plymouth to get the lowdown during their pre-season preparations under new boss Ryan Lowe Sky Bet went behind the scenes at Plymouth to get the lowdown during their pre-season preparations under new boss Ryan Lowe
So what makes a good team talk, and how have they changed over the years?
Carragher also reacts to Ashley Cole's retirement from football on Sunday, and why all eyes are on Frank Lampard at Chelsea...Houllier's half-time visuals
Gerard Houllier was probably the best manager I had for team talks. Not just half-time team talks, he was brilliant at a team meeting, and could really pump you up for a game.
It was interesting when Gerard came in. Before that, the British way at half-time would be that when the door shut, everyone would be talking non-stop, with 15 minutes you had to cram it in.
But when the foreign managers came in, they wouldn't speak for five minutes, and I've heard Arsene Wenger was the same. There's not a lot of information given at half-time now, because nobody is taking anything in.
Houllier would come in, not say anything for five minutes, make sure everybody was ready, and when he did speak, everyone would be ready to listen. And he'd speak for two or three minutes max.Carragher played under Gerard Houllier until 2004 at Liverpool
Sometimes Houllier would send Phil Thompson in a few minutes before half-time, to write a message on the flipchart in the dressing room. The one that rings a bell is when we were 2-0 up at half-time against Manchester United once. But at that time, United were obviously famous for fighting back.
He wrote the scoreline of a recent game where United had come back from 2-0 down to win. I can't remember who it was against, but it could have been anyone. They did it to everyone!Roy Hodgson was also interesting in team talks. People look at Roy and think: 'Everyone's favourite uncle, a really nice man.' But he could lose it!
Carragher on Hodgson at Liverpool
It was a little message for us for when we sat down. Nobody was speaking, but it was as if to say: "This game is not over." It was a visual, rather than a manager talking.
Roy Hodgson was also interesting in team talks. People look at Roy and think: "Everyone's favourite uncle, a really nice man." But he could lose it.
He would do this thing where if a player wasn't being aggressive or jockeying with his marker, he would go over to them and jockey with them, like the David Brent dance! I'd be crying laughing. He was very entertaining in team talks.Cole didn't have an ego
Ashley was a quiet bloke off the pitch. On the pitch? He was typical Chelsea, a little bit ratty, I think Mourinho got into him, he'd get involved, and they'd always be around the referee. But I can't talk about that, I did that job for Liverpool!Carragher insists Ashley Cole had no ego, and was misrepresented in the media
He's a quiet lad. The criticism he got from sections of the media at different times for different incidents was similar to Raheem Sterling in some ways. The public then think of this player in a particular way. I've named Raheem Sterling because I played with him as well, and they were both quite quiet lads.
Ashley wasn't some big ego, or very loud in the dressing room, he didn't have this swagger about him, he just played his football. You didn't hear too much from him around the hotel with England, which was the only time I was really around him, so I felt a bit sorry for him with the way he was portrayed around in the media. That certainly wasn't the lad I knew.
I was always kicking him, because they always had the ball when we played against that Arsenal team. If you were to ask me what was the toughest thing on the pitch for me, it was playing right-back against that Arsenal team, with Ashley Cole, Robert Pires and Thierry Henry, because Henry was like a second left-winger.Carragher hated playing against the famous Arsenal side of 2002 to 2004
Including European teams, that Arsenal team from 2002 to 2004 were the best I ever played against. I know Manchester United have been the most successful in the Premier League era, but in terms of individually giving me the most problems, it just felt things were happening so fast that you couldn't compute what was going on. It was like a pinball machine. Things were happening too quickly for me.
There were actually times after Arsenal games, up against Cole and the rest of them, where I thought: "I'm actually out of my depth here!"
A brilliant player for Arsenal and Chelsea, and a great England player too.All eyes are on Lampard
I think everyone who becomes a manager is putting themselves on the line, and fair play to them, especially coming to Chelsea so early in his managerial career.
I know Frank. In some ways, I am as close to Frank as I am with any player who I didn't play club football with. We played U21s together and roomed together.
I'd have loved to see Frank get this job in 10 years' time, with 10 years' experience. That doesn't mean he's not going to be successful now, but he would be a better manager in 10 years, that's obvious.Frank Lampard with Carragher during their England days
I think everyone, when a former player goes back to a club, wants it to go well. I don't think Frank will ruin what happened as a player, he was that good.
But say Steven Gerrard went back to Liverpool as manager, John Terry at Chelsea or Thierry Henry to Arsenal. This part of the managerial career is remembered most because it's the former club, so this will be remembered more than what he does at Derby, or some future jobs. So there is a lot on the line, and I think he's taken the job in difficult circumstances.
Some people think the club have done him a favour in giving him this job. You could argue that. But you could also look at it the other way and say he's done the club a favour, because maybe not many top managers wanted to come, with the transfer ban and losing Eden Hazard.
I hope this season goes well for him, and then next season when they can actually buy players he can shape the squad to what he wants to do.Soccer Saturday Super 6 is Back
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Liverpool have been drawn in Group D of the U18 Premier League Cup.
The young Reds have been pitted against Manchester City, Southampton and Swansea City and will face each team once, either home or away. Dates and venues of the fixtures are still to be confirmed.
The six group winners and two best runners-up will progress to the quarter-finals of the competition.
Last season, Barry Lewtas' side reached the last-eight stage, where they were edged out 3-2 by Manchester United.
Calling all Junior Members and junior season ticket holders, this is your chance to come and see Liverpool take on Sheffield United on the big screen at Anfield.
On Saturday September 28, the Reds travel to Bramall Lane for the Premier League clash with the Blades, and we’ll be holding an extra special live screening of the game for Official Members and season ticket holders.
But that’s not all, the event will include:
We have 40 tickets up for grabs for LFC Official Junior Members and junior season ticket holders and each winner will be able to bring one adult along with them on the day.
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Neil Critchley pulled no punches when he delivered his honest assessment of Liverpool U23s' 3-0 defeat to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Monday night.
The Londoners fielded experienced internationals Antonio Rudiger and Michy Batshuayi, with the Belgium striker netting twice.
Curtis Jones was named captain after penning his new contract and was joined in the line-up by the likes of Rhian Brewster, Ki-Jana Hoever and Sepp van den Berg.
Read on for Critchley’s thoughts on a frustrating night for the young Reds…
On the overall display…
That was a tough night, to be honest. There were a million moments where we could have done a lot better in and loads of situations in and out of possession where we failed. We stuck at it and showed a bit of character towards the end, but the game was gone at that stage. The manner in which we got beat and our performance was disappointing really.
On whether the experience of Batshuayi and Rudiger made life tougher for his players…
No, because you want to play against the best players. I thought Rudiger and Batshuayi played the game properly and they were a credit to themselves, real professionals. They showed a proper good attitude and were a great example to not only their players, but ours as well. That was a tough night for our defenders playing against Batshuayi and our forwards against Rudiger. The biggest crime from the game is if we don’t take anything from this. If we don’t learn from it, we don’t improve and don’t look to improve then that’s worse than the defeat.
On a long way to go in the season for the side to gel…
We looked a bit disjointed and we looked a new team playing for the first time on the pitch. We made quite a few changes from our last game and it does take time to build those relationships. We didn’t have that on the pitch, it will take time. But again, the boys have to show that right mentality every day in training and that willingness to learn.
On the start his team made to the game…
I thought we looked quite edgy and nervous in the first 10 to 15 minutes then we grew into the game with some nice passages of play. The first goal was a really critical goal at that stage of the game. Then for the second goal, we defend well enough and Batshuayi shows good movement in the box, we’ve not marked him properly and he’s finished it off. You are then chasing the game and then it becomes open and we are chasing the game against some good players and good athletes. It was tough at times but we have to dust ourselves down, learn from it, move on and see if we can do better in the next game.
Liverpool need to continue overcoming frequent and unique tests if they are to build on last season's Champions League victory, according to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
The midfielder believes Saturday's 2-1 victory at Southampton – hot on the heels of the midweek Super Cup triumph in Istanbul – was the latest example of the team's ever-improving ability to grind out results.
Winning Europe's premier club competition has given the Reds vital experience that Oxlade-Chamberlain now wants to use while competing on different fronts this term.
"We’ve had a taste of winning [a trophy] and we knew what it took to get there," the 26-year-old told Liverpoolfc.com. "It was nowhere near easy. I think it’s going to get harder and harder.
"We know what it’s going to take, there are going to be moments that test us and maybe new tests this year that we didn’t face last year.
"We had to dig in, the boys dug in all last year through difficult moments, where you’re expected to win and still go out and win. We know there’s going to be tests and we know that’s what’s required."
There is a collective determination among the squad and staff to ensure Madrid was just the start of a sustained period of success for the club.
Oxlade-Chamberlain added: "Mentally, this group of players is top drawer. The manager is one of the most mentally persistent managers out there, for sure, he keeps us going.
"We know what the demands are on each other. And I think that has grown in the team, there are more and more leaders coming out of this side – not just Hendo, Millie, Virg. Everyone is starting to take responsibility for what they need to do on and off the ball.
"It’s a team that’s really going in the right direction. But it’s early in the season; we’ve got to keep our feet on the ground, keep plugging away and keep churning out results.”
Liverpool U23s were defeated 3-0 by Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Monday night.
Goals either side of the break by Michy Batshuayi preceded Faustino Anjorin’s strike 16 minutes from time as the young Reds endured a difficult evening in the capital.
The hosts’ first goal was created and finished by two full internationals, Antonio Rudiger supplying Batshuayi to give Chelsea a deserved lead with 40 minutes on the clock, and the Belgian was on hand to power in his side’s second very soon after the interval.
Anjorin then completed the scoring late on after Caoimhin Kelleher had made an outstanding save to deny Batshuayi his hat-trick.
Liverpool managed to withstand significant early pressure, with Morgan Boyes and Ki-Jana Hoever making last-ditch blocks to thwart Anjorin and Juan Castillo inside the opening 15 minutes.
A fine Kelleher stop, low to his right, frustrated Tariq Lamptey soon after when the Chelsea defender cut inside to get his shot away following a buccaneering burst forward from right-back.
Having negotiated their way through that spell unscathed, Neil Critchley’s team gained something of a foothold in the game by virtue of keeping hold of the ball for longer periods.
Blues goalkeeper Jamie Cumming remained untroubled, though, and Liverpool were again indebted to Kelleher for their parity midway through the half.
Billy Gilmour’s blast from distance was destined for the top corner before the young Reds’ stopper acrobatically turned it behind.
Another crucial Boyes interception, this time ahead of Batshuayi as the striker lurked at the back post, swiftly followed and Elijah Dixon-Bonner then managed to get his toe to the ball to prevent Gilmour from making a clean connection on a shot from just inside the penalty area.
Chelsea’s dominance did finally tell five minutes prior to the break, however.
Batshuayi beat Sepp van den Berg to Rudiger’s lofted pass, then got back to his feet quickly after colliding with Kelleher on the edge of the box and coolly chipped into an empty net.
And, just two minutes into the second half, Batshuayi had his second of the evening.
Castillo found Anjorin with a low ball into the box from the left and, in turn, Chelsea’s No.10 fed the Belgian, who finished by smashing into the roof of the net.
Only a terrific save from Kelleher, who spread himself bravely at the forward’s feet, stopped Batshuayi from completing a quick-fire hat-trick and Anjorin struck the crossbar on the rebound.
Critchley made a triple substitution just after the hour mark, but it was Chelsea who continued making all the running in an attacking sense.
Tariq Uwakwe linked up well with Batshuayi and crashed a shot goalwards that hit Kelleher in the face a minute before Anjorin jinked free in the area and slotted in the hosts’ third.
Harvey Elliott called Cumming into action in the closing stages after a neat first touch bought him the space to get a shot off, but Liverpool could not force a late consolation.
Liverpool U23s: Kelleher, Hoever (Williams, 63), Van den Berg, Boyes, Larouci (Gallacher, 63), Kane, Lewis, Dixon-Bonner, Jones, Elliott, Brewster (Duncan, 63).
Unused subs: Atherton, Clayton.
A starlet-studded Liverpool under-23s side were humbled at Stamford Bridge on Monday night, as Michy Batshuayi’s double helped Chelsea to a 3-0 victory.
Premier League 2, Stamford Bridge
August 19, 2019
Goals: Batshuayi 40′, 47′, Anjorin 75′
Among the opposition were Batshuayi and Antonio Rudiger, promising a tough challenge for Neil Critchley‘s side at both ends of the pitch.
Chelsea enjoyed the best of the early stages, with Kelleher forced into a sharp save to his right after both Larouci and Morgan Boyes were sold on the turn, while the young Reds’ attempts to play it out from the back invited more pressure.
The Blues’ two senior players created the opener as Liverpool’s two back from injury flapped, with Rudiger’s long ball evading a hapless Van den Berg in the air and, after Kelleher wiped him out outside the box, Batshuayi chipped in for 1-0.
Liverpool were another goal behind two minutes after the break, with Faustino Anjorin fed down the left to tee Batshuayi up to hammer home, with Boyes not close enough to thwart him.
The young Reds began to create opportunities after going two behind, but too often were lacking the final pass, with Jones particularly frustrating as he wasted promising openings.
Kelleher denied Batshuayi a hat-trick on 55 minutes with a clever block with his feet, and soon after Critchley made three changes as Neco Williams, Tony Gallacher and Bobby Duncan replaced Hoever, Larouci and Brewster.
Chelsea‘s third came through some more wastefulness from Jones, who lost the ball near the halfway line after dithering in possession, and Anjorin cut inside to fire past a furious Kelleher.
The game ended at 3-0, with Dixon-Bonner arguably going closest with a weak effort from range, as the U23s were humbled on the road for their second defeat in two league games.
TIA Man of the Match: Yasser Larouci
Liverpool U23s: Kelleher; Hoever (N.Williams 63′), Van den Berg, Boyes, Larouci (Gallacher 63′); Dixon-Bonner, Kane, Lewis; Elliott, Jones, Brewster (Duncan 63′)
Subs not used: Atherton, Clayton
Last Updated: 20/08/19 6:37am5:00 Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville compare Kevin de Bruyne to David Beckham and Steven Gerrard and discuss who they think is the best crosser in PL history Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville compare Kevin de Bruyne to David Beckham and Steven Gerrard and discuss who they think is the best crosser in PL history
Gary Neville lauded Kevin De Bruyne on Monday Night Football, calling the Manchester City playmaker "mesmerising" and comparing him to David Beckham and Steven Gerrard.
De Bruyne produced a man-of-the-match display on Saturday as City drew 2-2 with Tottenham at the Etihad.
The 28-year-old, who missed much of last season with injury, provided assists for both City goals with splendid crosses from the right side.'De Bruyne matches Beckham and Gerrard'
Former Manchester United and England midfielder Beckham is regarded as one of the best crossers in the history of the Premier League, while Gerrard was also renowned for his pin-point passing.
But Neville said De Bruyne is delivering the same quality as his former England team-mates.
"I like watching tactical games, close games, I have never really got over-awed by watching an individual but De Bruyne mesmerises me. He is the type of player that is so good, he is world class, and for the first hour on Saturday it was stunning.3:06 Watch highlights from Manchester City's draw against Tottenham Watch highlights from Manchester City's draw against Tottenham
"His positions are always good. David Beckham and Steven Gerrard are two of the best crossers I have seen on the right side in the Premier League. He matches them in terms of the quality he delivers - and that is high praise. He does things that they did just as well."
Neville also praised De Bruyne's intelligence.
For the opening goal he dropped back to receive the ball before crossing deep for Raheem Sterling to score. He then ran down the line for the second goal and crossed for Sergio Aguero to finish.
"On the first goal he drops back and then you are talking about the quality of the delivery and it is so special," said Neville.De Bruyne dropped back to create City's first goal against Tottenham
"The second goal is slightly different. He has got people covering the drop back so he goes the other way. He is intelligent and the timing of his movement is perfect. You are never in doubt that his cross is going to go exactly where he should do.
"For about an hour on Saturday he was unplayable and it took me back to playing with the best crosser of the ball I played with - David Beckham.B'mouth vs Man City
August 25, 2019, 1:00pm
"Teams ordinarily tucked in narrow and tight but that tactic never worked against Manchester United. You had to get out and close him down and make sure he couldn't get the ball out of his feet. Even from deep positions the crossing was out of this world.
"De Bruyne is repeating the level of quality and precision from that inside right channel that Beckham produced for United and that is not something I would see again in the Premier League for a long time."How United stopped Gerrard
While Neville played alongside Beckham at club level, he came up against Gerrard on a number of occasions when Manchester United faced Liverpool.
Neville says the problems Gerrard caused meant Sir Alex Ferguson had to change United's tactics.
"For about two or three seasons he was dropping into that right channel and we were defending conventionally. Then we changed and, if he could, Sir Alex Ferguson always put Anderson on the left of midfield and Ryan Giggs tucked in narrow.Anderson was tasked with marking Steven Gerrard by Sir Alex Ferguson
"It didn't matter who was running wide, just make sure you are against Steven Gerrard. Don't go with the decoys and distractions - stay with Gerrard.
"For three or four years we stopped Gerrard and nullified him. We changed the way we played, and very rarely did Manchester United change the way we played for a team, but Gerrard made us do that."How can teams stop De Bruyne?
Neville thinks the challenge now for teams is to stop De Bruyne getting space to cross from the right.Can teams stop De Bruyne from crossing?
"I think it's getting to a point now where you cannot allow De Bruyne into this space on the right. You have to deal with the threat, which is De Bruyne. He is that good from that position.
"Teams started to do it against Beckham and would leave me. Exactly the same is happening at City and teams have to stop him by defending a bit unconventionally."
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When Philippe Coutinho moved from Liverpool to Barcelona in January 2018, who else envisaged him being shipped out on loan in the space of 19 months?
The Brazilian’s “dream” switch has turned into a nightmare and having been deemed surplus to requirements, Bayern Munich have snapped him up on a temporary basis.
According to the Evening Standard‘s David Lynch, Liverpool will only miss out on £4.5 million because of Coutinho’s switch to Germany.
The 27-year-old’s poor spell at the Nou Camp has “had little effect on the size of the fee received by Liverpool for his transfer.”
Liverpool were guaranteed to receive £111 million of the £146 million Barca paid for Coutinho’s signature, with the rest made up of “realistic add-ons”.
It is, therefore, expected that the Reds will make a cool £141 million from the sale of their former No.10.Lewis Linked with Tranmere Move
According to Football Insider, League One side Tranmere Rovers are eyeing up a loan move for the left-back “in the final 11 days of the lower league window.”
In many ways, a switch to Prenton Park would make perfect sense, providing Lewis with the challenge of first-team football at senior level.
It’s also just a quick ferry ride across the River Mersey, allowing Liverpool to keep a close eye on his progress.
Although nothing is concrete yet, Football Insider‘s Pete O’Rourke was correct in reporting Corey Whelan’s move to US side Phoenix Rising earlier this summer.Klopp Hails “Really Outstanding” Trio
It was Mane and Firmino’s turn to take centre stage at Southampton on Saturday, with a goal a-piece.
Speaking to LiverpoolFC.com, Klopp gushed about the trio, saying it is a joy to manage such special players:
“A lot of times in my life I had sensational players always [but] not world-class players. Now, thank God I have them and they make the difference. We don’t have to talk about that.
“They were a constant threat, however tired they are. That’s brilliant and, of course, made the difference. We don’t have to talk about that.”
Next up for Salah, Mane and Firmino is Arsenal at Anfield on Saturday – a fixture that saw them score five goals between them last season in a 5-1 win.Wijnaldum Shrugs Off Adrian Error
Gini Wijnaldum isn’t worried about the Spaniard, though, saying that his reaction to the mistake is more vital than anything.
“How is he [Adrian] going to react to the mistake? I think that is more important than the mistake itself.”
The Dutchman also spoke about Adrian getting used to his new surroundings, saying: “Everyone needs time to adjust. He is just in for, not even two weeks, so we have to get used to each other.”
He is a sizeable step down from the Reds’ world-class No.1, but he should improve over time.Emery Admits to Fearing Liverpool
Arsenal were destroyed at Anfield last season, as has been the case a number of times during the Klopp era, and even before it.
In an interview with Sky Sports, manager Unai Emery admits he isn’t cherishing the prospect of facing the Reds, but says it’s a great challenge for his team:
“For us we don’t want to play against Liverpool ever. We’d prefer not to play against them.
“That is really our challenge, a good test. For the supporters, for all of us, going there with six points is good. Really our target is to reduce the distance to Liverpool, Man City, Tottenham and Chelsea.
“When we play against them it is a big challenge to show how we can be. Next week is going to be a very good match.”
It promises to be a thrilling encounter at Anfield on Saturday, with goals to be expected between two of the country’s most dangerous attacking sides.
Liverpool will need to improve defensively if they are to keep out the likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and Nicolas Pepe.Klopp’s Brilliant Gesture to Wilson
The 22-year-old’s impact did not go unnoticed by Klopp, with the German’s brilliant man-management revealed after the game.
The Telegraph report that Wilson received a fitting WhatsApp message from the 52-year-old on Saturday – “a ‘selfie’ photograph of him clenching his fist with a short message of congratulations”.
It perfectly sums up the Liverpool manager as a character, with his delight so genuine when a loanee excels away from Anfield.
Wilson may never end up making the grade with the Reds – equally, he may still be in Klopp’s long-term plans – but gestures such as these will do his confidence the world of good.
Last Updated: 20/08/19 6:34amAndy Carroll signed for Liverpool in January 2011
Andy Carroll has admitted he was 'googling' his new Liverpool team-mates on his way out of Newcastle in 2011, but has vowed to return to Tyneside with "a purpose".
Carroll says his "daft" years are behind him as he prepares to resume his career at first club Newcastle.
The Gateshead-born 30-year-old striker burst on to the scene as a teenager at St James' Park and found himself thrust into both the limelight and a series of off-field scrapes as his stock rose on it, eventually resulting in a then-British record £35m switch to Liverpool in January 2011.
"When I was here [at Newcastle], I'd go home, mess about with my mates, play football, go out, whatever, but I'd never watch football, I never knew any players," he told Newcastle's club website.
"I'd come in on the Friday or wake up on the Saturday morning saying, 'who are we playing?' It was just completely oblivious to all the football that was going on. I would work at the training ground and knew my tactics, but until we had a meeting I didn't know who we were playing, unless I asked someone.
"When I was in the helicopter down to Liverpool, I was like, 'I know Stevie G [Gerrard], I know [Jamie] Carragher. Who else?' My agent at the time had to tell me, and I would get it on Google and find out the team. So that's actually a true story.
"It's bad because it's Liverpool players, but it's not disrespectful - I just literally didn't watch football, so I didn't know."Carroll watched Newcastle's 1-0 home defeat to Arsenal from the stands
Now back on Tyneside after a surprise deadline-day move by the Magpies, he is adamant he is a different man to the one who left the north east eight and a half years ago and by his own admission, that is due in large part to his fiance Billi Mucklow.
He added: "I've got no doubt that I was daft when I was here, and no doubt that I was daft for a couple of years after as well. But I met my missus, and we've got four kids living at home now, we've got animals, we've got responsibilities.
"There's no more behaviour like it was, you know? I was stupid, I was young, and I was carried away with the lifestyle that I had.
"Now it's completely different. I'm actually a dad, I've grown up, and got responsibilities, so... I've got a purpose."2:59 Highlights from Norwich's 3-1 win against Newcastle in the Premier League. Highlights from Norwich's 3-1 win against Newcastle in the Premier League.
Despite the promise he showed during his first spell at Newcastle, Carroll's career has not panned out the way he might have hoped with injuries limiting his involvement with clubs Liverpool and West Ham as well as England.
He is currently working his way back to full fitness after ankle surgery, and is acutely aware of the amount of football he has missed.
He said: "It's not my fault. I don't want to be sitting in the gym by myself doing rehab. I want to be outside doing what I love to do, playing football and being with the lads. I've been out of it for so long and I don't want to be like that.
"People think you're getting paid so it doesn't matter. No, that's not the case. I haven't come into this job to get paid. Yeah, it pays well, but I've come into it because I love it - there's a difference.
"I don't love being in the gym. Everyone that knows me knows I hate the gym, it's the worst thing ever. I want to be outside.
"I'm working my ******** off to get fit and I was working my ******** off when I was injured as well. It's non-stop."
Head coach Steve Bruce will not rush Carroll back into action before he is ready despite the club's pressing need for results, and his second debut may still be several weeks away.
However, a man who at his best can terrorise defenders cannot wait until the day he can pull on the black and white shirt once again.
He said: "I'm more buzzing to put it on now, the shirt, than I was when I was 17. I'm so excited."Soccer Saturday Super 6 is Back
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Liverpool goalkeeping coach John Achterberg has confirmed there have been discussions within the club over a move for ex-Tottenham ‘keeper Michel Vorm.
Vorm is still a free agent after being released by Spurs at the end of last season, and was one of the most popular options when considering short-term additions at Anfield.
But with Lonergan lacking top-level experience, and youngster Caoimhin Kelleher yet to debut, the possibility of a more proven third goalkeeper has been mooted.
According to Achterberg, speaking to Dutch outlet NOS, he and the rest of Jurgen Klopp‘s backroom staff had “discussed” the prospect of signing Vorm.
“A good third goalie at a top club is not a superfluous luxury, I have always said,” he explained.
He did add, however, that Lonergan’s record at Championship level is “not to be underestimated,” while it is “not for nothing” that Kelleher is established in the Republic of Ireland setup.
It is possible that Vorm was considered prior to the decision to sign Lonergan, but Achterberg’s “superfluous luxury” line indicates that he would come in as competition for Adrian.
This is not the first time the Dutchman has been on the Reds’ radar, of course, and they made a concerted effort to sign Vorm when he was at Swansea back in 2014.
He instead joined Spurs and remained there for five seasons, but spent his entire spell in north London as backup to Hugo Lloris, making just 47 appearances for the club.
Regardless, he is still a strong, experienced goalkeeper, proven in the Premier League, and if he were brought in he would improve Klopp’s squad considerably.
The Gunners head to Anfield on Saturday evening in the first top-six clash of the season for either side, and they sit joint-top of the Premier League with two games played.
Unai Emery’s side have conceded just once so far, with Liverpool shipping two but faring considerably better in front of goal with six scored to Arsenal‘s three.
“It is a different game. Maybe it is more easy, because you don’t have to fight a lot,” the Greek centre-back said.
“But they also play football. If they are on good day and you are having a bad day, it is hard.
“In the end, we know that it is difficult and we respect Liverpool a lot.
“But I think the best [way] is to go and play our style of game. We will see what happens.”
Sokratis was hapless in his efforts to stop an on-fire Firmino back in December, though he suggested Arsenal were unfortunate to lose 5-1, saying “we made mistakes.”
“The 5-1 last season…it was not the game to take five goals—the penalty kicks [from Firmino and Salah], we made mistakes,” he continued.
“I think this year will be different, but we have to improve of course from the work we do with the coach and his staff.”
The 31-year-old had a new centre-back partner at the Emirates on Saturday, with David Luiz joining him at the back following his late arrival from Chelsea.
In theory, that could prove to be a weakness for the Gunners if Jurgen Klopp‘s attacking line are on form, but on this season’s evidence so far Liverpool cannot underestimate their visitors.
But Sokratis has certainly tempted fate with his comments, and it can be argued that Barnes and Wood present a more straightforward challenge than Firmino, Salah and Mane.
It was a game that every Liverpool fan knew was going to be a struggle. Not only was it an away match against a solid Southampton side, but with the 120 minutes played in midweek added to that, 3 points was looking a difficult ask. The front three were going to have to work their magic and dig us out of a hole, and, thankfully, they did just that – despite Adrian’s best efforts to throw it all away late on.
It was an unfortunate event for the Spaniard as he’d been very good up to that point. He made a very important point-blank save to deny Yoshida in the first half which gave Mané the opportunity to put the Reds ahead in the dying minutes of the period. Sadly, though, the main takeaway from his performance will be his Loris Karius impression which gifted Danny Ings with a goal against his former club. Had he not made the error, he would have been in with a shout of being the man of the match. Hopefully, it doesn’t dent his confidence and he can continue his good form until Alisson returns.
Van Dijk had a decent afternoon despite the number of chances Southampton managed to create, while Robertson looked like himself for the first time this season, especially in the second half. He defended well and also was on hand to cause the opposition back four problems with his attacking prowess. Wijnaldum was more involved than he has been in the previous two games and, perhaps most pleasing was the performance of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. After he made his first start since April 2018 against Chelsea last Wednesday, he followed that with yet another appearance in the starting eleven this weekend. While he is not quite at his brilliant best as yet, the signs are reappearing, and it is very exciting to see.
This game was all about the attack, though, and how they were going to somehow find a way to snatch us a victory. While it was not one of Mo Salah’s best games – much to the dismay of fantasy football managers across the world – Sadio Mané and Roberto Firmino stepped up yet again, just as they did in the Super Cup against Chelsea. Bobby got himself on the scoresheet for the first time this season and should have had another a few minutes before. In the 65th minute, with just the goalkeeper to beat following a pass across goal from Mané, the Brazilian opened his body up and placed his effort just wide of the far post. Fortunately, just five minutes later, he found the bottom left-hand corner with a drive from the edge of the area. It came after some excellent work again from Sadio Mané, as he pressed Southampton deep inside their half before stealing the ball and laying it off to Firmino.
This leads me on to the actual man of the match, which I’m going to give to Mané. Two goals in midweek and now a goal and an assist against Southampton. He has started the season in superb form. The Saints were by far the better team in the first half, but Sadio showed his individual world-class ability by unleashing a powerful strike into the far corner in the 46th minute to send us into the break in front. Liverpool were much improved in the second half and Mané shone even brighter, creating the second goal and going close to bagging himself a second. He is right up there with the best forwards in the world right now and there are no signs of that stopping any time soon. Fingers crossed that he can remain healthy with the lack of pre-season he has been afforded. We now have a full week’s rest before we host Arsenal at Anfield, so hopefully all the big guns – bar Alisson – will be feeling 100% for what will likely be a tough test against the Gunners and their new-look side.
The International Football Association Board have warned that VAR is a “10-year project,” with understanding of the controversial technology in its infancy.
This is the first season that video assistant referees are being fully implemented in the Premier League, and after just two weekends it has prompted some high-profile calls.
At the London Stadium, Raheem Sterling was adjudged to have been fractionally offside with the help of VAR as he laid on a goal for Gabriel Jesus—the decision based on a millimetre.
Jesus thought he had scored a last-minute winner at the Etihad as he curled home following a corner, but the goal was ruled out after the ball struck Aymeric Laporte’s hand in the buildup.
Pep Guardiola and a host of his players, rightly or wrongly, questioned the use of VAR and the new handball rules after the game.
And many fans, not just of a City persuasion, lamented the impact it has on the emotional influence of the game.
Liverpool are yet to be meaningfully impacted by VAR this season, but there will no doubt be occasions when the Reds will feel aggrieved as decisions go against them after review.
IFAB have already confirmed that the technology’s protocol will be reviewed over the coming months, with any change likely to take place in March.
And speaking as part of ProTipster’s VAR From Perfect study, IFAB secretary Lukas Brud has stressed that VAR is seen as a “10-year project,” and highlighted its popularity with referees.
“The VAR concept is still at the beginning; it is a 10-year project until we are at the stage where people really understand how it works,” Brud explained.
“Every single referee has said to us ‘for us, it’s great. We don’t have to be afraid of killing our careers’.
“Many people forget that referees can decide matches with wrong decisions not because they are not good—they are a very high level—but they make mistakes because they are human.
“They will have someone to fall back on and they love it.”
Mike Riley, general manager of the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), added that “while VAR will not capture everything, it will help us make better decisions.”
There was always likely to be a teething process as VAR was introduced to the Premier League, but though there are certainly arguments for its use, most against it are based on the interpretation of new rules.
Offsides and handballs have become increasingly strict, and the main issue comes with its impact on football for fans.
If this is to be a 10-year process—and there is no indication VAR will be scrapped—there will no doubt require to be more leniency, or common sense, in its use if the game is to avoid descending into an emotionless bore.
Harry Wilson and Marko Grujic were both on the scoresheet during their fixtures on the weekend.
Wilson marked his Premier League debut by scoring a trademark long-range effort for Bournemouth in their 2-1 victory at Aston Villa on Saturday.
“I loved it. It’s what I’ve been working towards," the Welshman told afcbTV afterwards. “I have had a lot of minutes in the Championship and internationally but never in the Prem.
“I was delighted to get my first minutes, thankful to the manager for picking me from the start and I enjoyed it.
“I just wanted to get out there, get on the ball, try to create stuff and I felt I did that."
Grujic's second spell in the Bundesliga with Hertha BSC got off to a promising start as the midfielder scored at the Allianz Arena in a 2-2 draw with Bayern Munich on Friday night.
Elsewhere in Germany, Nathaniel Phillips was on the winning side when he appeared as a second-half substitute in Stuttgart's 2-1 victory over St. Pauli on Saturday. Taiwo Awoniyi played a handful of minutes in Mainz's defeat at Freiburg.
In Scotland, Sheyi Ojo scored Rangers' second in the second leg of their Europa League third-round qualifier with FC Midtjylland on Thursday.
Liam Millar recorded an assist in extra-time to help Kilmarnock beat Hamilton Academical in the second round of the Scottish League Cup on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Ovie Ejaria played 85 minutes of Reading's 3-0 victory over Cardiff City in the Championship.
But there were defeats for Kamil Grabara's Huddersfield Town and an Oxford United team featuring Ben Woodburn.
Defender Rhys Williams earned a clean sheet in Kidderminster Harriers' 1-0 win over Curzon Ashton.
Allan Rodrigues de Souza, who has been called up for Brazil's Olympic Selection, played the entirety of Fluminense's 1-0 defeat to CS Alagoano on Sunday.