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On this day: Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez bag hat-tricks

Sun, 03/22/2020 - 09:34

Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez both scored hat-tricks for Liverpool on this day in recent years.

Gerrard netted his first Premier League treble for the Reds exactly 11 years ago against Aston Villa during a 5-0 victory at Anfield. 

Two of the captain's goals came from the penalty spot, with a perfectly dispatched free-kick sandwiched in between. 

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Earlier on in the clash, Dirk Kuyt had opened the scoring after eight minutes before Pepe Reina then delivered an assist for Albert Riera.

Suarez, meanwhile, bagged three goals and an assist in the 6-3 win at Cardiff City on this day back in 2014.

Strike partner Daniel Sturridge set up one of those with a wonderful backheel before Suarez returned the favour later on. Centre-back Martin Skrtel also netted twice in what was a hugely entertaining league fixture. 

"You look at our imagination and creativity today. I think the crowd felt that every time we were in their half, we could score," boss Brendan Rodgers said afterwards. "We've got footballers, technicians, who can open up a game for us."

Cardiff 3-6 LFC: 90 seconds

In 1990, Ronny Rosenthal joined the club on loan from Standard Liege before making the switch permanent three months later. The Israel international would go on to score 22 goals in 97 appearances during his time at the Reds.

Today sees John Toshack and Harry Wilson celebrate their birthdays.

March 22 also marks three years since the passing of club legend Ronnie Moran.

Moran gave 49 years of service to Liverpool Football Club, taking up a wide-ranging number of roles that included player, coach, physio, reserve-team coach, assistant manager and caretaker manager.

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Watch free: LFCTV's 'Klopp's Journey to the Kop' documentary

Sun, 03/22/2020 - 08:50

Each Sunday over the coming months, LFCTV will air one of our exclusive documentaries at 9pm UK time.

The programmes will also be available to watch for free online for the day if you register with LFC.

Today, Klopp’s Journey to the Kop charts the boss’ rise from humble beginnings in his hometown of Glatten to the pinnacle of German football.

First aired in December 2015, the film gave Kopites a closer look at the man the club had appointed to the helm two months prior.

You can click here to register with LFC and watch the documentary for free. Read on below for a taste of what to expect...

Jürgen Klopp is fighting back the tears.

Loyal players huddle around him as he savours the moment.

In the stands, a wall of red and white bellows You’ll Never Walk Alone.

It is a moment of stunning communion between fans, players and manager.

And yet sadness pervades, for this is no celebration; it is a tearful parting of ways.

This is not Estadio Metropolitano in June 2019 or Barcelona at Anfield last May.

This is the Bruchwegstadion in 2008, where Jürgen is about to end a near-two-decade association with his beloved Mainz 05.

His blond locks are longer, his beard is less bushy and yet as he sits in silence on the turf, the words of You’ll Never Walk Alone are sung for him. 

It is the Bruchwegstadion in the summer of 2008, but it could be any of the German’s most memorable Liverpool celebrations to date.

The same passion. The same emotion. The same adulation.

The same lyrics to the same song.

Hallmarks of his greatness and parallels with Klopp’s Liverpool career so far are everywhere in his Journey to the Kop.

The story begins in Germany’s Black Forest, in the serene ski-town of Glatten, where a young Jürgen enjoys a budding football career.

In Mainz, a carnival town on the banks of the River Rhine, he earns cult status among the fans, first as a striker, then as a defender.

“I had this dream to become a football manager,” explains Klopp in the documentary. “But it didn’t come at first, and I had to wait until I was 33.”

When the call came, Klopp seized the chance, transforming from player to coach overnight to rescue Mainz from relegation in 2001.

From there, he set about driving the second division side towards the top end of the table; and the parallels with his Liverpool days began to emerge.

For the heartbreak of defeat by Real Madrid in Kiev, see how Mainz’s hopes of Bundesliga promotion were dashed in 2002 when they missed out by one point.

For echoes of the Reds’ second-placed Premier League finish of 2019, see how Mainz missed out on promotion once again in 2003. This time by one goal.

And then watch how Klopp steered his side on in the face of adversity to achieve their Bundesliga goal in 2004.

All is brought to life in Klopp’s Journey to the Kop through rare footage of the time, painting a vivid picture of the tears and the triumphs.

It takes the viewer through his Bundesliga days, where Mainz punched above their weight before the relegation which preceded Klopp’s departure on that tearful day in 2008.

From there, Borussia Dortmund beckoned.

“When they called,” explains Klopp. “It was really difficult not to shout in the first second – yes!”

And yet he inherited a side languishing 13th in the German top flight.

At the end of his first season they had risen to sixth and the following year they were fifth, imbued by the manager’s attacking approach.

The Yellow Wall, Dortmund’s colossal 25,000-capacity stand at Signal Iduna Park, had been reinvigorated – and Klopp was its new idol.

“When you see 10 players work so hard and run so much, the energy that you see on the pitch jumps over – there’s a spark – and it lights up the crowd,” Raphael Honigstein explains in the documentary.

This synergy of a youthful side, Klopp’s frenetic energy and the Yellow Wall’s ear-splitting devotion delivered Dortmund’s Holy Grail in the summer of 2011.

On a day when Dortmund partied in the sunshine, BVB were crowned Bundesliga champions for the first time in nine years.

Within 12 months, the gleaming round trophy had been retained.

Inspired by a brilliant spine of Mats Hummels, Mario Gotze and Robert Lewandowski, BVB edged rivals Bayern Munich to both the league and the German Cup.

It was to be the peak of Klopp’s Dortmund career.

A narrow defeat in the following season’s Champions League final against Bayern at Wembley preceded a dip in domestic form.

And in the summer of 2015, Klopp departed Dortmund in a similar wave of adoration to the one that was witnessed at the Bruchwegstadion in 2008.

The manager fought back his tears and his players huddled around him as the Yellow Wall bellowed words of devotion.

The same passion. The same emotion. The same adulation.

“I thought [leaving Dortmund] would be a break,” explains Klopp. “I tried to make a break; a real break.

“The first four months of my break were really a holiday.

“And then there came another big club…”

Tune in to LFCTV at 9pm GMT or click here to register with LFC and watch Klopp’s Journey to the Kop for free now.

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The Academy: The season so far in review

Sat, 03/21/2020 - 11:30

The 2019-20 season so far has been full of promise and memorable moments for Liverpool's Academy hopefuls.

Ranging from great games to new deals, we have picked out some of the highlights from the campaign to date.

August

There was mixed news for the Academy in pre-season. Leighton Clarkson penned his first professional contract in July but, in a double blow, Paul Glatzel and Abdi Sharif suffered ACL injuries.

Defender George Johnston completed a permanent move to Dutch outfit Feyenoord while Rhys Williams sealed a temporary switch to Kidderminster.

When the action got underway a Liverpool U21 team, playing in the Leasing.com Trophy for the first time, narrowly lost 3-2 away at Oldham Athletic - Neco Williams netting a stunning goal and Harvey Elliott also on the mark on his Academy debut.

Curtis Jones received a boost in the opening month of the season when he was appointed captain of the U23s.

On that decision, Neil Critchley said: “Curtis is obviously a local boy and he has come through the Academy. If possible, we will always try to get somebody to lead the team of that ilk.

"I thought it would be the right thing to do to give Curtis some added responsibility and try to develop his leadership qualities within the team.

"He's a technical leader for us so he's brave enough to take the ball into any situation on the pitch, but he's also got a good football brain as well. So if he can pass that on to the others during the game in the good moments and the bad moments then I think that will help him to grow as a person, which is something I can try to help him with.”

Liverpool U18s kicked-off their season in style, hitting seven past Blackburn Rovers before the month ended for Barry Lewtas’ team with a thrilling 4-3 victory over Manchester United thanks to Layton Stewart's 88th-minute winner.

September

Glatzel received a huge boost when he penned a new long-term contract in September.

"I was disappointed to get my injury at the start of the season, but it's a great feeling and it shows that the club has got faith in me. Now I can just focus on my rehab and get back on the pitch," the striker said after penning his deal.

"Mentally, it's good to be able to focus on the rehab and know that there's people that have faith in me and they know I'll come back from my injury stronger and I'll be ready when I'm back on the pitch."

Jake Cain also signed his first professional contract with the club in September.

On the field, Liverpool U19s kicked off their UEFA Youth League campaign with a 1-1 draw away to Napoli, with Stewart coming off the bench to net a late equaliser on his European debut for the young Reds.

In more late drama, Luis Longstaff netted a stoppage-time equaliser as the U23s secured a 2-2 draw away at Leicester City in Premier League 2.

Critchley said: "You don’t score a 95th-minute equaliser if you are not pushing forward and not giving everything to try and score that goal, so I was really delighted with that aspect."

The U18s scored yet another injury-time winner, this time Fidel O’Rourke sealing a 3-2 victory at Swansea City in the Premier League Cup.

Rhian Brewster, Caoimhin Kelleher and Elliott were handed first-team debuts as Liverpool beat MK Dons 2-0 in the Carabao Cup, with Ki-Jana Hoever joining James Milner on the scoresheet.

It wasn't all good news, however, as Adam Lewis sustained a knee injury that would keep him out of action until the new year during the U23s' draw with Arsenal.

October

October started with another dramatic European encounter and Lewtas’ U19s, inspired by Jones, came back from 2-1 down to beat Salzburg 4-2 at St Helens in the Youth League.

Lewtas said: "Curtis is playing extremely well for the U23s. He is playing a big part in what they are trying to do and obviously he is a big influence in the dressing room, a positive one.

"The goal he got for us against Salzburg came at a good time for us and that was probably the difference in that game as well because we were extremely clinical. Scoring goals from midfield is something Curtis wants to add to his game, which he is doing.”

Going into the first mini Merseyside derby of the season, Lewtas told his U18s they would need their ‘A’ game’ to beat Everton - and they didn't disappoint, coming back from a goal down to win 6-1 at Finch Farm.

Jack Bearne penned his professional deal with the Reds and the month ended with an incredible night at Anfield as several Academy prospects starred as the first team beat Arsenal on penalties following a pulsating 5-5 draw.

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November

The month began with another Merseyside derby and another victory for the young Reds – this time Critchley’s U23s in Premier League 2, thanks to a brilliant winner from Herbie Kane.

November also saw new contracts signed, with Matteo Ritaccio inking his first professional deal and Elijah Dixon-Bonner putting pen to paper on an extension.

Hoever helped the Netherlands reach the semi-finals of the U17 World Cup in Brazil before November came to a conclusion with an incredible afternoon of European football at the Academy.

Liverpool U19s fired seven goals past Napoli without reply, with Jones netting a hat-trick.

December

The month started with a frustrating loss for the U18s as they exited the FA Youth Cup after a 4-2 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur in the third round. Despite coming back from 2-0 down to level the scores at 2-2, two late strikes saw Spurs prevail at Stevenage FC.

There was a proud moment for Jones when he made his Premier League debut, entering the field as a 76th-minute replacement for Andy Robertson during the Reds' 3-0 away win at Bournemouth.

The U19s sealed qualification for the knockout stages of the Youth League with a dramatic 3-2 win in Salzburg.

Trailing 2-0, Elliott netted a penalty before Tom Hill made it 2-2 and substitute Bearne slid in a stoppage-time winner.

On December 17, with Jürgen Klopp and his first-team squad in Qatar for the FIFA World Club Cup, Critchley took charge of a youthful team for the Carabao Cup quarter-final against Aston Villa at Villa Park, with the hosts eventually winning 5-0 despite the spirited performance of Liverpool's young side.

The year was to end in style at the Academy, though, as the U23s came from 2-1 down to beat Paris-Saint German 3-2 in the Premier League International Cup. Hill equalised in the 88th minute and Yasser Larouci drilled home a stoppage-time winner.

January

The new year started with a Roy of the Rovers moment for Jones, as the teenage Scouser curled in a wonderful long-range winner to seal an FA Cup third-round victory over Everton at Anfield for a youthful Reds team.

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Kane completed a loan switch to Hull City before the U23s welcomed a new striker as Joe Hardy joined from Brentford. Liam Millar returned from his temporary spell at Kilmarnock.

Hardy got off the mark for the U23s with a double as the young Reds swept aside Southampton 5-0 at the Academy in Premier League 2.

There was good news on the injury front as Lewis returned to action and Elliott netted a goal of the season contender with a stunning bicycle kick for the U23s during the 2-2 draw with Wolves at Molineux.

Wales U19 captain Morgan Boyes became the latest player to pen a new deal when he signed a contract extension on January 30.

February

With Klopp and the first team on their mid-season break, Critchley again took charge of a young side for the FA Cup fourth-round replay with Shrewsbury Town at Anfield.

On an incredibly proud night for the Academy, an own goal from Ro-Shaun Williams in front of the Kop sealed an unforgettable 1-0 win.

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After the game, Critchley said: “The players have done the club proud tonight.

“The support we had was incredible, a full house - absolutely ridiculous for them to turn up and support those young kids. They were so appreciative of it. They stayed right to the end because they saw boys giving everything on the pitch.

“We played like a Liverpool team and I’m so proud of them.”

There was also joy for two first-year scholars as midfielder Hill and forward Stewart penned their first professional deal with the Reds.

March

March began with a fond farewell as Critchley was appointed manager of Blackpool FC.

Reflecting on his time with the Reds, Critchley said: “The time I’ve had at Liverpool has been truly special.

“I’ve been incredibly well supported there from Alex Inglethorpe, the Academy manager, and all the staff. It’s a truly special football club and it’s the people that make the football club the place that it is.”

There was frustration for the U19s after they exited the Youth League at the last-16 stage, going down 4-1 away to Benfica in the final Academy game prior to the enforced postponement of all matches.

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Goal of the Day: Sadio Mane seals win in Crystal Palace thriller

Sat, 03/21/2020 - 09:03

Sadio Mane swept home the decisive goal of the seven scored in total when Liverpool last hosted Crystal Palace at Anfield.

The sides were scheduled to meet in L4 this evening but the match was postponed as part of the Premier League suspension due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Our latest Goal of the Day goes back to the corresponding fixture of last season, which ended 4-3 to the Reds and was ultimately settled by Mane.

Take a look at the No.10's clinical low effort in front of the Kop below.

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On this day: Reds score seven, European wins and a Coates stunner

Sat, 03/21/2020 - 09:00

Liverpool recorded their biggest ever away victory in the FA Cup on this day in 2006 as Rafael Benitez's side netted seven times at Birmingham City in a sixth-round tie.

Sami Hyypia gave the eventual winners of the competition the lead after 55 seconds at St Andrew's before Peter Crouch quickly followed with the second.

Crouch secured a brace prior to half-time as second-half efforts from Fernando Morientes, John Arne Riise, Dijbril Cisse and an Olivier Tebily own goal confirmed the Reds' spot in the semi-finals.

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The fixture also saw midfielder Momo Sissoko make a return to action for the first time since suffering a serious eye injury.

Back in 1984, Joe Fagan's Liverpool travelled to Benfica for the second leg of a European Cup third-round clash.

Having won the first encounter 1-0 two weeks earlier, Ronnie Whelan (twice), Craig Johnston and Ian Rush were on the scoresheet at Estadio da Luz to record a 4-1 win. 

Eleven years prior, Dynamo Dresden were taken down 1-0 in Germany in a UEFA Cup fourth-round tie courtesy of Kevin Keegan's 53rd-minute goal. 

Elsewhere, Sebastian Coates smashed in an unstoppable overhead kick during a Premier League encounter away at Queens Park Rangers on this day in 2012.

Video: Sebastian Coates’ acrobatic goal against QPR

And away from football, 13 years ago today saw Steven Gerrard presented with an MBE by the Queen during a ceremony at Buckingham Palace.

"I've played in big games with special people but I've never experienced anything like this, it's completely different nerves to football," Gerrard said after the event. 

"In football I know what I'm going to do but today is a big day and a proud day for me."

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Liverpool begin talks to sign Eduardo Camavinga this summer

Fri, 03/20/2020 - 13:06

Liverpool have made contact to sign Rennes star Eduardo Camavinga this summer, according to reports in Spain.

Manchester United have been credited with an interested in the 17-year-old, while Arsenal made a bid for his services last summer.

Camavinga is regarded as the next superstar in French football and United think he can be their successor to Paul Pogba.

Full story: Metro

This story has been reproduced from the media. It does not necessarily represent the position of Liverpool Football Club.

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Saturday night on LFCTV: 'Retro Reds: The Golden Hour' begins

Fri, 03/20/2020 - 12:00

Get your regular football fix on Saturday nights with a brand-new highlights show on LFCTV.

Over the coming weeks, we will be dipping into the archives to bring you some classic Liverpool action.

Immerse yourself in nostalgia as we turn back the clock to the Football League’s halcyon days of the 60s, 70s and 80s, when the Reds reigned supreme.

Tune in to Retro Reds: The Golden Hour at 10.30pm GMT every Saturday and relive four notable First Division fixtures back-to-back.

Our first offering features a quartet of games from the 1980s that were all equally memorable, but for differing reasons…

Queens Park Rangers (h): October 17, 1987

Interest in this game was huge. Kenny Dalglish’s Liverpool had made a blistering start to the season but so too had the Londoners. Top spot in the league was up for grabs and the scene set for a pivotal afternoon. Cue a masterclass from new Kop favourite John Barnes.

Bristol City (a): March 15, 1980

Reigning champions Liverpool were honing in on a successful defence of their title when they made what remains their last ever top-flight visit to Ashton Gate. Look out for a rarely seen Ray Kennedy goal that must surely rank as one of the greatest ever scored.

Everton (h): March 21, 1981

Although the recession was biting hard on Merseyside at this particular time you could always rely on the local derby to lift Liverpudlian spirits. For Blues defender John Bailey, despite being a boyhood Red, it was an afternoon he’d rather forget.  

Arsenal (a): September 4, 1982

At the end of a week in which Bob Paisley announced he would be stepping down as Liverpool manager come the end of the season, his team faced a testing trip to Highbury. How would they react and could they maintain their unbeaten start to the campaign?

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Radio stations across Europe play YNWA in show of solidarity

Fri, 03/20/2020 - 10:15

Radio stations across Europe today played 'You'll Never Walk Alone' simultaneously in a show of solidarity during the coronavirus outbreak.

The Gerry and the Pacemakers track was aired at 7.45am GMT on BBC Radio 1 and Radio 2 in the UK. 

The song was also played on radio stations in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Spain and Italy.

The anthem was also heard over the public address system at the stadiums of Celtic, Borussia Dortmund and Borussia Monchengladbach.

The idea for the initiative came from Sander Hoogendoorn, a presenter for Dutch station NPO 3FM

"We all have to do what we can to beat this crisis," Hoogendoorn said. "Things like this just go beyond the boundaries of radio channels.

"That's why I thought, 'Why don't all radio morning shows play the same song at the same time?'

You'll Never Walk Alone would be our choice as it could speak to those doing an incredible job working in healthcare right now, those who are ill or those who can't leave their house for a while."

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Behind the Badge: The nicknamed coach nurturing LFC's Academy goalkeepers

Fri, 03/20/2020 - 10:05

“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans,” goes the old John Lennon lyric.

Neil Edwards can certainly relate to that sense of the most significant moments in your life being the ones that sneak up on you quite suddenly.

Almost 30 years ago he was a teenage goalkeeper without a club or a clear future in the game, driving along the motorway from Stockport to Leeds with all his belongings crammed into the back seat of the car.

Within a few years he was an established pro who had played in four Wembley finals inside 24 months. Then, seven years ago, his fledgling career as a goalkeeping coach having stalled after leaving Bolton Wanderers, Edwards was summoned to a meeting at Kirkby.

“The phone call came out the blue,” he recalls. “I came in, there was a contract on the table, and I said yes straightaway. If I hadn’t been let go by Bolton, potentially I might still be there. But things happen for a reason.”

Whether it was fate or simple good fortune that made it happen, both employer and employee can reflect with a fair amount of satisfaction on the outcome of what sounds like the shortest job interview of all time.

Now in his seventh season as Liverpool U18s’ goalkeeping coach, Edwards is well established as a key part of a staff which has helped assemble and develop a fine roster of goalkeepers from youth level through to the first team.

Alisson Becker sets a high standard for his fellow custodians to aspire to, but Academy products like Caoimhin Kelleher, who has featured for the first team in the FA and Carabao Cups, Vitezslav Jaros, who has seamlessly transitioned from U18 to U23 level, and Jakub ‘Kuba’ Ojrzynski - the main focus of Edwards’ tutelage as current U18s No.1 - have shown no fear and no little ability in attempting to live up to it this season.

To top it all off, Edwards and U18s boss Barry Lewtas had the thrill of lifting English football’s most prestigious youth trophy - the FA Youth Cup - just under a year ago, Jaros acquitting himself well through all 120 minutes and a subsequent penalty shootout when the young Reds defeated Manchester City in last April’s final.

“It’s been fantastic,” says the man known exclusively as ‘Taff’ at Liverpool’s Academy.

“To be fortunate enough to work for this football club is one thing, but to be involved in that sort of stuff… I knew Barry from Bolton, he’d worked with the younger age groups there, and he’s very hard-working and precise in how he does things. Winning the Youth Cup was a great achievement for all concerned. It’s nice for the staff and everyone at the club, but more importantly it’s fantastic for the boys to win something and get into the habit of winning things.

“We want boys to have careers, we want them to get into the first team, and if they can’t you try to make sure they can have a long career elsewhere. Part of the journey is winning and losing, so it’s very nice when you’re fortunate enough to win things. Then for the kids to be involved in things like the UEFA Youth League, it’s a great opportunity to open their eyes and let them see other parts of the world. It’s also a chance, with a lot of the big teams we’ve played, to see how they work and what they do.

“With the U18s, what you start with at the beginning of the season is generally not the same after Christmas, because people step up a level or go out on loan, and we might take boys from the U16s, which has a knock-on effect, so it’s an ongoing churning out. But we’ve got no complaints at the moment.”

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Kelleher stars in Anfield shootout win over Arsenal

Hailing from Poland, the Czech Republic and the Republic of Ireland respectively, Ojrzynski, Jaros and Kelleher all have very different temperaments and attributes, the challenge for Edwards being to make sure each excels regardless.

“They’re all different characters, no-one is the same, and you wouldn’t want them to be, to be fair,” Edwards, a son of Penywaun in South Wales, continues.

“Kuba’s got a very good work ethic, he works tirelessly not just on the training ground but off it. We’re continuing to work hard on all aspects with him. He’s a new boy in the system, it takes time, hard work and patience - not just from the goalkeeper but from the coaches - but he’s got that work ethic and mentality. He’s only 17 years of age, and for a goalkeeper playing in the Premier League at 21 or 22 is rare, so time is on his side as well.

“Then there’s also Oscar Kelly [a 17-year-old Scouser and Ojrzynski’s colleague in the U18s], who has been here from a very young age, working hard through all the levels to attain the dream. 

“Vit [Jaros] is back fully fit again now [after an elbow injury], which is good. He’s so comfortable with both his left and right foot and very confident on the ball. He can ping and drive balls with either foot.

“As for Caoimhin, again, a very different character, laid-back, almost horizontal at times! Nothing seems to faze him, and he’s comfortable playing out too. He was so laid-back in training when he first came over as a 16-year-old, I think his first game was Derby away, and the staff were all intrigued to see how he would handle it, but he handled it in exactly the same way, which is some mentality to have as a young goalkeeper.

“As you see him going through the levels now, he’s still calm on the pitch, never hurried, very good at not showing emotion - which is another excellent trait to have as a ‘keeper.” 

It’s a common mantra around Kirkby that Academy staff are just as proud of those players who make a career for themselves elsewhere as they are of those who make it into the Liverpool first team. And the former group could not ask for a better mentor than Edwards, who had the kind of rollicking, picaresque career in the lower leagues that warrants a dedicated piece to fit all in, beginning with that motorway journey back in 1991.

The young ‘keeper left Leeds United to join Stockport County, where his new boss was Danny Bergara, the Uruguayan who would later garner a measure of fame from featuring in the documentary They Think It’s All Rovers, centred on Doncaster Rovers’ infamously chaotic 1997-98 campaign. Those aforementioned four Wembley finals? County lost all four, two Autoglass Trophy finals and two play-off finals, but there were compensations… 

“We drowned our sorrows, so the after-parties were good at least!” Edwards laughs. “I’ll be honest, when Stockport came in for me I didn’t even know where it was. Probably typical for a 19-year-old kid who hasn’t really been out in the big, wide world.

“That’s what I try to get through to young lads here when I give them advice; if you have a decision to make, have a long, hard think to make sure it’s the right one, but once you’ve made your choice, don’t look back. It was worlds apart from Leeds but Danny was a lovely fella, so enthusiastic, and that three or four-year period put Stockport on the map a bit.”

Bergara passed away in 2007 and Stockport now play in the National League, while Edwards’ playing career carried him around Greater Manchester, from Stockport to Rochdale on to Bury, before his retirement in 2006.

His transition into coaching was far from a fait accompli, indeed it was something the Welshman had barely given a thought to, but Fred Barber - a close friend and former goalkeeping coach during those days at Stockport - arranged for Edwards to do some part-time sessions with Carlisle United and Northwich Victoria, and within a year he was full-time at Bolton.

“The more the years went on and I was still involved with Fred, I started to think maybe it was for me,” the 49-year-old reflects.

“But at the end of the day, you still rely on someone giving you a job, and once you’re in that job you have to prove you can stay there. To this day I’m still in touch with Fred, because he’s a massive part of that. You’ve got to prove yourself, and I like to think, with all the learning I’ve done along the way, I have. But obviously I’m still learning, and I’m very grateful.”

For now ‘Taff’ is striving to help Liverpool U18s maintain those high standards of the last few seasons and to mould the likes of ‘Kuba’ and Kelly into potential first-teamers, but he has another, simpler objective in mind before that: letting everyone know what his real name is. 

“Through the first half of my career my nickname at Leeds was ‘Chunky’, and once I got into playing professionally it became ‘Taff’. It’s amazing the amount of people that don’t actually know me as Neil Edwards!

“I’ve even had members of staff that I work with, when we’re going away on pre-season trips, asking who Neil Edwards is, thinking it was a new club doctor! I was just sat behind the fella giggling.” 

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On this day: Suarez stunner seals win at Sunderland

Fri, 03/20/2020 - 08:30

A typically audacious Luis Suarez goal sealed a 2-0 win for Liverpool at Sunderland on this day in 2011.

The No.7 somehow squeezed home an outside-of-the-boot finish from a seemingly impossible angle late on at the Stadium of Light, where Dirk Kuyt had earlier converted a penalty past future Reds goalkeeper Simon Mignolet.

The ‘baby-rocking’ celebration that followed Suarez’s moment of inspiration was in honour of Lucas Leiva’s newborn son, who had arrived 24 hours earlier.

Video: Watch Suarez's stunning finish

As well as Mignolet, current Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson also started for Sunderland that afternoon.

Two victorious Merseyside derbies have taken place at Anfield on March 20. 

Back in 1993, Ronny Rosenthal’s last-minute strike earned a 1-0 victory for the Reds and, 12 years later, Steven Gerrard and Luis Garcia were on target in an eventful 2-1 win over Everton.

A precise free-kick by Gerrard was added to by Garcia’s header as Liverpool led 2-0 at a half-time period during which Rafael Benitez was forced into a triple substitution. 

Dietmar Hamann, Fernando Morientes and Stephen Warnock all went off injured, while Garcia played on despite an ankle issue. Milan Baros was then sent off before Tim Cahill pulled one back for the visitors, but Liverpool held on to claim all three points.

The Reds played, and won, on March 20 in consecutive years in the 1990s. 

Steve McManaman’s brace helped Roy Evans’ side to a 3-0 FA Cup victory against Leeds United in 1996, and Robbie Fowler scored twice as SK Brann were beaten by the same scoreline 12 months later. John Barnes made his 400th appearance for the club in that European Cup Winners’ Cup tie.

On March 20, 1963, Chris Lawler played the first of his 549 Liverpool games and, most recently on this day, Sadio Mane netted twice against his future club as the Reds lost 3-2 to Southampton in 2016.

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Goal of the Day: Luis Garcia secures Merseyside derby victory

Fri, 03/20/2020 - 08:30

By their very nature, Merseyside derbies tend to be lively, sometimes chaotic affairs – and the 2004-05 Anfield edition was no different, 15 years ago today.

With Everton sitting ahead of Liverpool in the table, the hosts knew a victory would be vital to any hopes of clinching a top-four finish.

However, such ambitions were dashed in a first half that saw injuries sustained to Stephen Warnock, Dietmar Hamann and Fernando Morientes – all of whom needed substituting, the first time in the club’s history a trio of changes were made in the opening 45 minutes of a game.

Nevertheless, Liverpool did go into the interval with a two-goal lead – Steven Gerrard caressing a free-kick into the bottom corner before Luis Garcia reacted quickest to head in from a shot that had rebounded off the woodwork.

The Reds needed to survive a scare to hold onto the points as Tim Cahill reduced the arrears on 82 minutes, shortly after Milan Baros had been shown a red card which meant Rafael Benitez’s side had to contest the final stages with 10 men.

We’ve selected Garcia’s winner as our Goal of the Day, and you can relive it below now.

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Watch: Fernando Torres picks his Ultimate XI

Fri, 03/20/2020 - 08:15

As Fernando Torres celebrates his 36th birthday today, see which players the former Liverpool No.9 recently chose to make up his Ultimate XI.

El Niño has a stellar cast of teammates to select from, of course, having reached the highest levels of the game with club and country before his retirement in 2019.

Torres picks himself up front and it’ll come as no surprise that the Spaniard fields Steven Gerrard in an advanced position in an attack-minded, hugely talented line-up.

But who else makes the cut? Find out in the video below…

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Joint statement from FA, Premier League and EFL

Thu, 03/19/2020 - 13:24

The FA, Premier League and EFL have released the following statement.

The FA, Premier League, EFL and women’s professional game, together with the PFA and LMA, understand we are in unprecedented times and our thoughts are with everyone affected by COVID-19. 

We are united in our commitment to finding ways of resuming the 2019/20 football season and ensuring all domestic and European club league and cup matches are played as soon as it is safe and possible to do so. 

We have collectively supported UEFA in postponing EURO 2020 to create space in the calendar to ensure domestic and European club league and cup matches have an increased opportunity to be played and, in doing so, maintain the integrity of each competition. 

The FA’s Rules and Regulations state that "the season shall terminate not later than the 1 June" and "each competition shall, within the limit laid down by The FA, determine the length of its own playing season".

However, The FA’s Board has agreed for this limit to be extended indefinitely for the 2019/20 season in relation to Professional Football.

Additionally, we have collectively agreed that the professional game in England will be further postponed until no earlier than 30 April. 

The progress of COVID-19 remains unclear and we can reassure everyone the health and welfare of players, staff and supporters are our priority. We will continue to follow Government advice and work collaboratively to keep the situation under review and explore all options available to find ways of resuming the season when the conditions allow. 

We would all like to re-emphasise that our thoughts are with everyone affected by COVID-19.

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Philippe Coutinho given 'OK' to join Premier League club

Thu, 03/19/2020 - 13:02

Philippe Coutinho has been given the 'OK' to join a Premier League club on loan in the summer transfer window, according to reports.

Coutinho completed a transfer from Liverpool to Barcelona back in 2018, but failed to shine in Spain and was sent out on loan to Bayern Munich.

The Brazilian playmaker's form has been hit and miss in Germany, and the Bundesliga giants currently have no plans to make the loan switch permanent.

Full story: Daily Mirror

This story has been reproduced from the media. It does not necessarily represent the position of Liverpool Football Club.

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'It was amazing to sign for Liverpool - it is perfect for me'

Thu, 03/19/2020 - 13:00

The opportunity to sign for Liverpool represented a 'perfect' scenario for Joe Hardy.

The Wirral-born striker joined the Reds in January and has quickly settled into life at the Academy as well as making a senior debut in the FA Cup when Shrewsbury Town were beaten at Anfield.

In an exclusive chat with Neil Mellor for the latest edition of The Academy, which is available now on LFCTV GO, the 21-year-old discusses his time at the club so far and much more.

Read on for a preview of the full interview…

On his footballing journey to date…

I was at Tranmere Rovers before I went to Manchester City and then Brentford. I was seven when I first went to Tranmere, I kind of fell into it from school. My brother went for a trial at Tranmere first and they said, 'Bring your little brother along' so I ended up getting in and he didn't!

On getting his chance at Manchester City…

It was a lot more intense and specific. The games plan was completely different, we travelled abroad a lot so as a youngster that was perfect and I was loving it. I then joined Brentford halfway through my U18 season.

On his goalscoring prowess at Brentford…

I managed to get a move to Liverpool on the back of it. I scored 40 goals over two seasons. I was playing mainly in their U23s team.

On signing for Liverpool…

It was amazing and if there is one team you would want to sign for at this minute it would be Liverpool. The fact it is also back home is perfect and ideal for me. All of my friends are all Liverpool fans as well. I'm loving it and I've settled in easily.

On the influence of Neil Critchley before his departure to Blackpool…

He was really good and I really enjoyed working with him. Obviously I wasn't with him here for long but he gave me a lot of opportunities and he believed in me. He helped me in a lot of ways and he is a really good coach.

On making his first-team debut against Shrewsbury Town in the FA Cup…

My family still struggle to get their head around that but it was amazing. That's football, that's what you've wanted and if you'd have told me three months ago that I was going to come on in front of 50,000 people at Anfield in the FA Cup then I'd tell you to shut up! I had all my family there and all of my close friends go to the game anyway so it was a really good night.

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On seeing Academy players getting first-team opportunities…

It makes you believe that you could get that opportunity. You see the first-team manager plays the young lads, Harvey Elliott is only 16 and he's getting opportunities. The opportunities are there and if you can perform well and prove yourself you never know what can happen.

On playing alongside the likes of Curtis Jones and Elliott in the U23s…

It's good and I feel we link up well. They are good players so you know they are going to give you the ball, and when they do you know you are going to score. They are good players so you've got to reward them by putting the ball in the back of the net when they give it to you.

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Liverpool's season so far: August

Thu, 03/19/2020 - 08:15

A fruitful August featured a perfect start to the Premier League season and UEFA Super Cup glory for Liverpool.

Having begun the month with a penalty shootout defeat by Manchester City in the FA Community Shield, the Reds bounced back immediately to beat Norwich City 4-1 at Anfield on the opening day of the top-flight campaign.

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An own goal by Grant Hanley and strikes from Mohamed Salah, Divock Origi and Virgil van Dijk - who would be named UEFA Men's Player of the Year later in August - saw Jürgen Klopp's side surge into a four-goal, half-time lead.

An eventful first 45 minutes also saw Adrian make his debut for the club just four days after signing, the goalkeeper replacing the injured Alisson Becker for his first of 11 consecutive appearances in the league and Europe.

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And, five days later, the Spaniard would prove to be Liverpool's hero in Istanbul.

Following a 2-2 draw after extra-time, the Reds overcame Chelsea on penalties to win the 2019 Super Cup. Adrian saved decisively from Tammy Abraham during the shootout.

Sadio Mane scored both of his team's goals at Besiktas Park and the No.10 was at it again upon their return to domestic duty.

Fewer than 72 hours on from playing 120 minutes in Turkey, Liverpool battled their way to a hard-fought 2-1 success at Southampton, thanks to Mane's emphatic opener and Roberto Firmino's clinical finish.

Two more Premier League victories would follow before August was over.

First, Arsenal were overwhelmed at Anfield, with Klopp - who would later be named the division's Manager of the Month - stating after an authoritative 3-1 win: "I loved the desire, the passion, the power and the energy that we put into this game."

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A week later, the Reds rounded off the month by making it 12 points from four league outings as Burnley were brushed aside 3-0 at Turf Moor.

Off the pitch in August, meanwhile, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Curtis Jones each committed their futures to the club by signing new long-term contracts, and Andy Lonergan agreed a short-term deal.

Standard Chartered Player of the Month: Mohamed Salah

Goal of the Month: Mohamed Salah v Arsenal

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Classic Match: The story of Gerard Houllier's emotional return against Roma

Thu, 03/19/2020 - 08:00

Even 18 years after the event, the memories are still fresh and clear for Gerard Houllier.

A deafening roar, a warm embrace with Fabio Capello and a tactical chat with Danny Murphy are just a few of Houllier's detailed recollections from the night he made a shock return to the dugout five months after life-saving heart surgery.

He did so with the intention of giving his Liverpool side a boost in their must-win encounter with AS Roma at Anfield in 2002, looking to guide the club to the last eight of the European Cup for the first time in 17 seasons.

A discreet plan between Houllier and his assistant Phil Thompson, who had assumed the reins during the Frenchman's absence, was hatched. The players only knew about it when Houllier appeared in front of the tactics board at their team meeting in the hours before kick-off.

"I remember their faces!" Houllier chuckles during a conversation with Liverpoolfc.com. "That was the deal we had with Phil Thompson. I asked him, 'Do you think if I come back on that day whether it would give one per cent or 20 per cent more to the team?'

"He said, 'Definitely, boss.' Only he and maybe my close staff knew."

Supporters were already paying homage to Houllier with a mosaic on the Kop reading 'Allez', but hearsay was circulating.

"I think there were rumours but it was no more than that," commentator Clive Tyldesley remembers. 

Confirmation only arrived when Houllier climbed the steps of the tunnel in the old Main Stand, hugged his counterpart and proceeded to be surrounded by photographers. 

Houllier recalls: "All I remember is that when I went on the pitch, nobody knew but Capello saw me and he hugged me for a long time. 

"He said later on, 'I knew that when you came back that it would be difficult.'

"When I walked out of the tunnel, there wasn't anything special. The uproar came out once they discovered I was back in the dugout. 

"Nobody knew. Why is that? I didn't want the attention and the focus to be taken away from the game. I wanted everybody to be really concentrated on the game and what we had to do to win the game. 

"If I had let people know two days before that I was back, all the articles would've been about me and my illness, my comeback – I didn't want that. 

"I wanted everybody to be really focused on the Roma game because we needed to win 2-0."

The sight of their manager on the sidelines had the desired impact for the reigning UEFA Cup holders. Liverpool did, indeed, win by two clear goals – enough to secure passage into the quarter-finals of the Champions League, which was operating two group phases at that time.

European Classics: Liverpool 2-0 Roma | Houllier's emotional return

"There is a generation of Liverpool fans who were not as familiar with the sort of heritage that goes with those occasions," Tyldesley details. "And it had to be recreated all over again at games like the Roma match, the Olympiacos match. 

"In each case there was a group of Liverpool fans who went little periods, eight or 10 years, without these truly memorable European nights. This was almost sort of a revival of that spirit and atmosphere.

"There was a bit of a rally call to recreate this sense of the late '70s and early '80s all over again. The public responded to that. And Gerard's surprise appearance just added to that."

The perfect start was achieved when Jari Litmanen converted from the penalty spot after seven minutes before a towering second-half header from Emile Heskey gave the hosts their required scoreline.

"They had a good team [blows cheeks]," Houllier adds. 

It was a hugely impressive result against the star-studded Italian opposition – featuring the likes of Francesco Totti, Gabriel Batistuta and Walter Samuel. The Reds, meanwhile, were unable to call upon Michael Owen, Nicolas Anelka and Didi Hamann.

Houllier remained cool and calm throughout the 90 minutes – a requirement when taking his health into account. But it was a seemingly low-ranking moment during the spectacle that reminded him he was back doing what he loved. 

"I was not nervous because it was a tactical battle to win with Roma," he insists. "So I tried to be focused.

"I think at the time we were 2-0 up and they changed their system because they knew that we were overrunning them with what we were doing on the pitch. 

"Danny Murphy, he came over to me and asked me, 'Do we go back to a traditional 4-4-2?' because we had a diamond shape in the midfield. He wanted to see whether we would change. 

"That, I would say, was a manager's moment, a coach's moment." 

The conclusion of the affair was greeted with a restrained raising of the fists by Houllier as emotions hit home while You'll Never Walk Alone was being played.

"They [the fans] are really special," Houllier finishes. "I was one of theirs, don't forget that.

"It was very emotional. I know the surgeon was in the stands, my wife was in the stands. It was something really special."

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Vicky Jepson's message to LFC Women fans

Wed, 03/18/2020 - 16:00

Liverpool FC Women manager Vicky Jepson has penned the following note for supporters.

I just wanted to take this chance to send a message to our supporters during these difficult times for everyone.

Please look after yourselves and your families, follow the expert advice as much as you can and reduce the risks to yourself and everyone around you.

I’m sure you will also think of those in your community who may need help from others as well.

Following the latest medical advice, Liverpool FC Women this week shut down our training base, with the players continuing their fitness programmes at home until it is safer for us to come back together.

As much as we can’t wait to play our next game, everyone’s health and well-being is paramount.

The team, staff and myself look forward to seeing all our fans again as soon as it is possible to do so.

Until then, please take care of yourselves and your loved ones,

YNWA

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Trent Alexander-Arnold wins Standard Chartered POTM for February

Wed, 03/18/2020 - 15:30

Trent Alexander-Arnold has been named as Liverpool's Standard Chartered Player of the Month for February.

The full-back saw off competition from Mohamed Salah and Jordan Henderson to clinch the award for a second time in 2019-20, having also picked up December’s edition.

Alexander-Arnold started five of the Reds’ six fixtures during the month as they strengthened their grip at the summit of the Premier League table.

The No.66 also claimed two assists during the 3-2 victory over West Ham United at Anfield on February 24.

2019-20 Standard Chartered Player of the Month winners

August: Mohamed Salah
September: Roberto Firmino
October: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
November: Sadio Mane
December: Trent Alexander-Arnold
January: Mohamed Salah
February: Trent Alexander-Arnold

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Bayern Munich doubt Liverpool move for Havertz

Wed, 03/18/2020 - 14:03

A report in Germany states Bayern Munich doubt Liverpool will pay the fee of over €100million that Bayer Leverkusen supposedly want for star man Kai Havertz.

The attacking midfielder has clocked up 139 first team appearances already – breaking Timo Werner's record to become the youngest player to play 50 Bundesliga matches on April 18, 2018 when he was just 18 years and 307 days old.

Turning 21 on June 11, Havertz, who struck 20 goals last season, is being tipped to be given to key to the exit door at the BayArena this summer with Anfield mooted as a potential destination.

Full story: Liverpool Echo

This story has been reproduced from the media. It does not necessarily represent the position of Liverpool Football Club.

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