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Internationals: Lovren helps Croatia reach the World Cup

Mon, 13/11/2017 - 00:35

Dejan Lovren was celebrating as Croatia reached the World Cup after their play-off victory over Greece was secured on Sunday night.

After a 4-1 win on home turf in the first leg on Thursday night Zlatko Dalic’s side were firm favourites to finish the job in the second leg.

Lovren was a rock solid figure at the back for Croatia as they nullified the threat of the Greece attack and earned their ticket to Russia 2018 following a goalless draw.

Categories: LFC NEWS

Vote for Mane or Salah in BBC African Footballer of the Year poll

Sun, 12/11/2017 - 16:13

Liverpool duo Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah have been shortlisted for the 2017 BBC African Footballer of the Year award.

They are two of five players in contention for the accolade, alongside Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Chelsea's Victor Moses and Naby Keita of RB Leipzig, who will join Liverpool ahead of the 2018-19 season.

Mane, who helped Senegal qualify for the World Cup on Friday, has been nominated for the third time, while Salah, who played a major role in helping Egypt qualify for Russia 2018, is included for the first time in the poll.

The winner will be decided by an online public vote – which is open until 6pm GMT on November 27 – and revealed on Monday December 11.

You can have your say in the poll which is open on the BBC website, by clicking here.​

Categories: LFC NEWS

What's on: This week's LFC community events

Sun, 12/11/2017 - 13:00

Check out a schedule of local community events planned by the LFC Foundation and Red Neighbours teams in the coming week.

For more information on these activities and the work of the two organisations, follow @LFCFoundation and @Red_Neighbours on Twitter and visit foundation.liverpoolfc.com.

Monday November 13

Premier League Kicks sessions
Toxteth Firefit, 5pm-6pm (age 8-10) - football
Walton, 7pm-8pm (age 11-19)

Ability Counts session (Disability)
Anfield Sports and Community Centre, 6pm-7pm (age 8-12) and 7pm-8pm (age 13+)

Tuesday November 14

Premier League Kicks session
Toxteth Firefit Hub, 5.30pm-7.30pm (age 11-19)

Respect 4 All (Disability)
Anfield Sports and Community Centre, 6pm-7pm (age 8-16) and 7pm-8pm (age 17+)

Wednesday November 15

Premier League Kicks session
Anfield Sports and Community Centre, 5pm-6pm (age 7-12) and 5pm-6pm (age 8-13, girls only)
Wirral Hive, 6pm-8pm (age 8-12)

Respect 4 All (Disability)
Anfield Sports and Community Centre, 6pm-7pm (age 8+)                          

Thursday November 16

Premier League Kicks sessions
Liverpool Aquatics Centre, Wavertree, 5pm-6pm (age 8-13) and 6pm-7pm (age 14-17)
Gateacre, 6pm-7pm (age 11-17)

Respect 4 All (Disability)
Anfield Sports and Community Centre, 7pm-8pm (age 8+)

Military Veterans
Netherton Goals, 5pm-7.30pm

Friday November 17

Premier League Kicks sessions
Liverpool Aquatics Centre, Wavertree, 6pm-8pm (age 14-19)
Anfield Sports and Community Centre, 7pm-9pm (age 14-19)
Croxteth Sports Centre, 6pm-8pm (age 11-17)
Wirral Hive, time TBC (age 13-17)

Respect 4 All (Disability)
Anfield Sports and Community Centre, 6pm-7pm (age 8-16) and 7pm-8pm (age 17+)

Red Neighbours Walking Football
Anfield Sports and Community Centre, 11am-12pm

Red Neighbours Walking Football – over 50s
Anfield Sports and Community Centre, 11am-12pm

Saturday November 18

Respect 4 All (Disability)
Woodchurch, 10.30am-11.30am (SLD Child), 11.30am-12.30pm (Ability Counts), 12.30pm-1.30pm (SLD Adults)

Sunday November 19

Military Veterans Academy, 2pm-5pm

Categories: LFC NEWS

'I had to go on stage during the penalty shootout in Istanbul...'

Sun, 12/11/2017 - 12:00

Every Liverpool fan remembers exactly where they were on May 25, 2005 - the night the Reds clinched a fifth European Cup after one of the greatest cup finals ever contested.

But for some, it is perhaps easier than others.

Take Starsailor frontman James Walsh, who was playing to a packed out crowd at the London Astoria the moment Jerzy Dudek's outstretched palm kept out Andriy Shevchenko's penalty and brought Ol' Big Ears home.

He recalls: "We were looking at all the timings and it was looking perfectly doable – the game would finish just in time for us going on stage. 

"Obviously it didn’t quite pan out like that. 

"We were sat in a workshop in London Astoria watching the game, with this frantic promoter coming in and saying ‘You’ve got to go on stage, people are booing’ and we’re like ‘Give us a minute!’ 

"It got to the point where they were taking the penalties and the bloke said, ‘We’re going to get fined’ so we had to go on stage a bit of a way through the penalties. 

"The tour manager was writing who scored and who missed on a piece of paper. 

"When we won, there was a lad in the front row with a Liverpool flag – he chucked it on stage and I was running round with it at the end of the gig. 

"The bass player is a Manchester United fan, so he wasn’t having that at all!"

A native of Chorley, Walsh caught the Reds bug years before that on-stage triumph thanks to an older brother who counted Kenny Dalglish among his heroes.

And, unlike many of his peers, he subsequently resisted the lure of Blackburn Rovers during their rise to prominence during the mid-90s.

Since then, he has keenly followed Liverpool's fortunes - even if being part of a band that regularly tours the world occasionally gets in the way.

He explains: "Doing the music, there’s not a lot of opportunities but I’ll average about 10 games a season home and away. So I still get to as many games as I can.

"Wherever we are in the world, if myself and the drummer know that there’s a Liverpool game on then we’ll be frantically searching the internet for the nearest pub and we’ll duck in there and watch it. 

"We’re passionate fans."

[embedded content]

Beyond his love of Liverpool Football Club, Walsh also feels a strong affinity with the city that gave it its name.

The influence of Scouse music is evident in Starsailor's post-Britpop sound, but admiration from the band's singer/songwriter runs far deeper than that.

He adds: "I love the spirit and atmosphere in Liverpool. 

"And obviously The Beatles are a huge influence on most bands, but also the lesser-known bands; I think Shack are amazing, Michael Head is a bit of a genius. 

"It’s a great city, and seeing the consistent triumph over adversity, whether it’s austerity or the tragedy of Hillsborough, how Liverpool always seems to come back stronger. 

"It always produces great art, architecture and entertainment, it’s an amazing place. Everyone is always smiling and every night is like Saturday night."

So, as a man who has arguably seen the best of both, which of Walsh's two passions comes first: music or football?

He says: "It’s a tough choice, but I think still music. 

"The joy of music is a permanent thing, whereas the joy of football is often confined to the 90 minutes and maybe the day or a few days after, and then you’re onto the next game – with a few exceptions. 

"When we win European Cups and things like that, it’s great. 

"But during the season, it’s like ‘It was brilliant to beat United or Everton, but now we’ve got Chelsea or Tottenham…’ - music is a bit more consistent. 

"[But] scoring a goal in front of the Kop against United would be a bigger buzz than playing the Dog and Duck. Maybe it equates to playing Wembley!

Starsailor's fifth album, 'All This Life', is out now. Click here to find out more.

Categories: LFC NEWS

'Stevie was a striker's dream!'

Sun, 12/11/2017 - 11:40

A 'striker's dream' and a player capable of passes 'from out of this world' form the central midfield partnership in Daniel Sturridge's ultimate XI.

Former Liverpool and England teammate Steven Gerrard was an automatic selection for the Reds No.15 when asked to choose a line-up of stars he has played with and against during his career.

“Stevie has got to go in there obviously,” said Sturridge.

“I had the pleasure of playing with him for a few seasons. He was a striker’s dream – someone who could pick a pass out from 40-50 yards onto your toe and you didn’t even have to break stride.”

Joining Gerrard at the heart of Sturridge’s adventurous line-up is Andrea Pirlo, the Italian midfielder whose calm, canny use of possession proved so influential for his country, AC Milan and Juventus at his finest.

“We played against him in the World Cup towards the end of his career… I can only imagine what he was like in his prime,” said the 28-year-old.

“Some of the passes, I’m dead serious, were out of this world.

“I look at midfielders and think ‘What could they do for me as a player? If I was playing with them, why would I enjoy playing with this person?’ Some of the passes were a joke and I think I’d probably score a lot of goals if I was playing with him.”

See Sturridge’s entire ultimate XI in the video below…

[embedded content]

Categories: LFC NEWS

'Dalglish and Carragher acknowledging my work is fantastic'

Sun, 12/11/2017 - 11:30

Canadian-born artist Kristin Wilkinson has caused a stir among Liverpool supporters on social media of late with her incredibly detailed Reds-themed drawings.

A lifelong LFC fan with close family ties to the city, Kristin has garnered plenty of attention from fans and even the subjects of her sketches after sharing them online.

In a recent interview with Liverpoolfc.com, she explained how her passion for a club situated over 3,000 miles away began.

She said: “My grandad is from Liverpool and that was his team since childhood, so he passed that love on to us. Growing up, every weekend we would all gather around the television and watch them play.

“It’s difficult to properly put into words what I love about the club exactly. The thing that does take my breath away every time is the passion for the club by the fans. Seeing them on the telly singing before a game sends shivers down my spine.”

The Ontario resident also remembers having a similarly strong passion for art from a young age.

“I can recall always drawing as a child. My mother even has a photo of me at the age of four drawing with crayons and pencils. I stood out from other children my age that I remember. People would complement my work, and at a young age that didn’t really mean too much to me, but as I grew older I started to realise that my drawing ability was different than my peers.”

As such, it was only natural for Kristin to merge her love of LFC and art. And, after taking her artistic flair through college and into adulthood, the Canadian has now made a name for herself out of her hobby.

“It turned into a bit of an obsession and eventually I would be drawing or sketching all the time. I then went on to college to continue my artistic studies to improve my skills. And even then, my professors told me that I stood out from the other students.

“Why the Liverpool drawings? Because I love football and I love Liverpool FC. A few years ago I underwent some tests and I found out that I am on the autistic spectrum, which finally helped me realise why I do the things I do sometimes, and one of the traits is our ability to see the details that others can’t and we tend to “fixate” on things. Some things - movies, shows, athletes, etc. - just catch my attention for whatever reason and I feel this urge to draw.”

Kristin - or @SilentKW1 on Twitter - soon began to gain traction with widely followed fan accounts thanks to her detailed recreations of LFC legends past and present.

She explains: “I remember I was watching a game and all of a sudden I felt this need to draw something that had to do with the team. I had to.

“Steven Gerrard has always been my favourite player so, I decided to draw him and then went on to draw Jürgen Klopp after that. It was then by chance a LFC fan account with a large following came across it and they shared it. Since then my life has changed a bit.”

And not long after, the heroes she had spent so long rendering in pencil took note, too.

Kristin describes the subsequent response to her work as 'amazing' and ‘overwhelming’.

“I kind of really do my drawings for myself, and they’re just for fun. I draw what I love. With football, there are so many people throughout the world that love it too, so it’s been amazing to be able to connect with people, and now having all these people follow my work it’s a bit surreal and difficult to believe at times.

“And then when it comes to the subjects themselves responding to me and my work that is incredibly overwhelming. It’s wonderful though, absolutely wonderful. It really, truly makes my day to even be acknowledged by people who I’ve looked up to and been a fan of. To have someone like Kenny Dalglish or Jamie Carragher acknowledge my work is fantastic.

“But I draw because I love to draw and it’s been wonderful that my work has been received this way. I wouldn’t have believed it.”

Categories: LFC NEWS

Dominic Solanke earns call to full England squad for Brazil friendly

Sun, 12/11/2017 - 00:17

Dominic Solanke has been called up to the full England squad ahead of Tuesday's Wembley friendly with Brazil.

The Liverpool striker netted for England U21s during Friday night's 2-0 win over Ukraine in Kiev, and his selection was confirmed by England boss Gareth Southgate on Saturday evening.

Solanke, who was top goalscorer during the summer as England U20s achieved World Cup glory, joins goalkeeper Angus Gunn and midfielder Lewis Cook in the squad to face Brazil.

Categories: LFC NEWS

Charles on the mark as Liverpool Ladies secure Birmingham win

Sat, 11/11/2017 - 22:50

Liverpool Ladies produced a fine team display to beat Birmingham City Ladies 1-0 in the Women's Super League at the Select Security Stadium in Widnes, on Saturday evening.

Niamh Charles scored the only goal of the game, whilst captain Gemma Bonner had a stand out display as the home side secured a vital three points.

Rogers make three changes from their last Women's Super League outing at Sunderland, with Martha Harris, Kate Longhurst and Laura Coombs coming in for Satara Murray, Jess Clarke and Caroline Weir.

For right-back Harris, it was her first WSL start in over a year, after returning from a knee injury.

Before the game there was a minute’s silence held by Liverpool Ladies and Birmingham City Ladies to mark Armistice Day.

The game started at a quick tempo with neither side being able to assert control on the game. The Blues had the best early chance, as Freda Ayisi headed a Lucy Quinn cross over the bar from close range.

On the half-hour mark Liverpool took the lead in style. Bonner fed Charles through with a fantastic lofted pass, and the forward coolly placed the ball over Hannah Hampton to put the Reds 1-0 up.

Reds stopper Siobhan Chamberlain was called into action instantly after the restart, when Rachel Williams latched onto a smartly placed pass, but the England international did well to save from close range. 

Five minutes from half-time Wellings found herself in a fantastic position to equalise for the away side, but to the relief of Rogers’ team, her lobbed attempt went just wide of the goal.

Moments from the halfway mark Harris started a slick passing move involving both Coombs and Charles, before receiving the ball back – however her attempt from an acute angle was blasted wide. Minutes later came the whistle and Liverpool Ladies went into half-time one goal to the good.

Just after the break Bethany England had a great chance to double the lead. Charles’ superb diagonal pass found England in the area but the forward blasted the ball over the Birmingham goal.

Despite the early oppertunity the second-half fell into a similar patter to the first, with little separating the two sides in a tight encounter.

Birmingham Ladies had two free-kicks on the edge of the Reds area within moments of each other, with both going just over the bar.

The Reds went on a fantastic counter attack in the final 10 minutes of the game as Charles sprinted over half of the pitch, but her final delivery to Harding had just too much power and was collected by Hampton.

Natasha Harding went close in stoppage time as her shot from a tight angle was fired inches wide of the far post. That was the last of the action in the close contest as Rogers' side held on for a hard fought victory.

Liverpool Ladies: Chamberlain, Harris, Stoney, Bonner, Ingle, Longhurst, Coombs , England (Hodson, 80), Charles, Greenwood, Harding.

Categories: LFC NEWS

Gomez: A dream come true to make England debut

Sat, 11/11/2017 - 18:08

Joe Gomez has spoken of his pride after making his England debut during Friday night's goalless draw with Germany at Wembley.

Liverpool’s No.12 came off the bench in the 25th minute in place of the injured Phil Jones, and admitted it was like ‘a dream come true’ to represent his country.

“It was special [making my debut],” Gomez told Charlton Athletic's official website.

“It was a dream come true and something you always think about growing up and with me, coming from Charlton, it has been quite the journey.

“Obviously, you have dreams as a kid but to come on a journey and develop as I have is something that I am very thankful for.”

Gomez became the latest former Addicks player to make a debut for the Three Lions, following in the footsteps of former Reds Jonjo Shelvey and Paul Konchesky, plus Lee Bowyer and Scott Parker - all of who came through Charlton Athletic's academy.

The Liverpool defender was keen to pay tribute to the help and support he received from the Charlton coaches during his early football journey.

“That’s an elite group of players and one that I am honoured to be part of,” he added.

“For me, now, I just want to keep playing and hopefully this will be the first of many.

“Charlton’s academy has shown over the years how good it is with just how much talent it has produced. It has such a good infrastructure and chances are given to us young players to come through and play.

“There are a lot of great staff there and during the week I mentioned Steve Avory and a couple of others.

“They’ve been the foundations of the academy for many years and that has shown with the consistent talent that has come through.”

Categories: LFC NEWS

On demand: Ejaria on the mark as U23s beat Newcastle

Sat, 11/11/2017 - 13:18

Ovie Ejaria netted a goal to remember as Liverpool U23s came from a goal down to beat Newcastle United 2-1 on Friday night, and LFCTV GO subscribers can now watch the highlights on demand.

Trailing to a strike from Callum Roberts in their Premier League International Cup encounter, Neil Critchley's side levelled the scores through Matty Virtue's close range effort.

Ejaria then netted a brilliant winner when he ran through the Newcastle defence to score, after a superb link-up with Liam Millar.

LFCTV GO subscribers can watch the best of the action from Prenton Park in our highlights package above.

Need to sign up? Click here for details.

Categories: LFC NEWS

Klopp: Robertson can take inspiration from Moreno comeback

Sat, 11/11/2017 - 12:20

Jürgen Klopp has offered an insight into his thinking regarding the left-back position at Anfield.

In 2016-17 vice-captain James Milner was the preferred choice in the backline, but so far in 2017-18 Alberto Moreno has bounced back in style with a string of consistent displays in the starting XI.

This has resulted in summer signing Andy Robertson having to wait patiently in the wings for an opportunity.

Such has been the form of Liverpool’s No.18, it has seen him earn a recall to the Spain squad, and he could feature for his country as they host Costa Rica in a friendly in Malaga on Saturday evening.

Asked whether the manager felt Moreno had won over the backing of the supporters, Klopp said: “Yes, because the players can always do that.

“If they have the quality they can win the fans back because we have no real idea about the games four or five weeks away or in the past. We are easy to convince in the moment.

“He did it now consistently which is really nice. I am happy for him because he had a very difficult situation last year. That’s how it was.

“We spoke before the last season what we wanted him to do differently. He needed a bit of time and now he is doing well.

“Hopefully he can do well in the future again because that’s how you show consistency. He has done that so far but that is the challenge for him and the guys in the future.”

Robertson, who was signed from Hull City in the summer, played the full 90 minutes for Scotland against Gini Wijnaldum’s Netherlands on Thursday and he will now return to Melwood eager for another opportunity to impress Klopp.

Liverpool’s No.26 has made three appearances to date, and Klopp insists he can take inspiration from Moreno as he bids to challenge the Spaniard for the left-back berth.

“It’s the exact same situation for Andy Robertson,” he said.

“People will say ‘why do you do that? Because he is here and not playing?’

“Because he has to learn. But there is no problem. We are in conversation, talk about it and he has to improve.

“As long as the other players are doing like this. Alberto is like a little machine, he never shows when he is tired and stuff like this. Andrew has had a little less rhythm. So you think now, okay, he will have a game with the national team and come back. We will have a little internal game then and that’s good for Andy.

“So he’s on a good way, a really good way. It’s going well apart from maybe he is not happy he cannot start so often as he would have thought from the beginning.

“But it’s all about improvement and then to be ready for the moment you are used.”

Categories: LFC NEWS

Behind the Badge: Meet Liverpool's master of medicine

Sat, 11/11/2017 - 12:00

Andy Massey simply couldn’t understand.

“When I was playing, I got an injury and somebody told me it would take about a year to recover. I couldn’t get my head around the fact that anything takes a year to recover from,” Liverpool’s head of medical services recalls.

“The best way to figure that out was to study and I came from quite a sporty family, so I always wanted to stay involved in sport.

“So I got the injury and decided to go and do my A-levels to see if I could get in to physio.”

‘Get in to physio’ he did.

By the time he was 36 - a little under 18 years on from that career-defining and life-changing decision - Massey had progressed to the point at which he was offered the chance to head up the medical department of one of the world’s biggest football clubs.

“It’s a brilliant job,” the Northern Irishman smiles.

Recently, Liverpoolfc.com sat down with Massey in his office at Melwood to discuss his journey from curious teenager to the forefront of elite sports medicine in the UK and Europe, via stints in Aussie Rules football, ice hockey and boxing.

It’s a pathway that began in 1998 with the aforementioned injury - ‘what people would know as ‘footballer’s groin’’, he explains - that at once curtailed his nascent playing career and piqued his interest in physiotherapy.

A centre-half for professional clubs including Bangor and Linfield, as well his nation’s schoolboy team, Massey freely admits that he ‘wasn’t good enough’ to make a living as a player at a high level. 

But it would transpire that he certainly was good enough to forge a career elsewhere in the sport.

“My aim was always to work full-time in sports medicine,” the 39-year-old says.

“I had no interest in working as a GP, for example. I want to work with players who want to get better, or want to improve, so players or people who have that drive. 

“Also, it’s beneficial to work in the cutting edge side of things, to be able to find ways to get people better, quicker.”

After completing an undergraduate physiotherapy course at the University of Ulster, Massey sought to broaden his horizons by undertaking a Master’s degree in New South Wales, Australia.

It was there that he got his first job in the industry, with the Australian Institute of Sport and the Adelaide Crows, before returning home to study medicine at Queen’s University.

Roles with the Belfast Giants ice hockey club and the British Board of Boxing Control followed before, just nine years on from that professional breakthrough Down Under, Massey was appointed team doctor with Northern Ireland’s senior national football side.

Then, in the summer of 2013, the chance to work for Liverpool arose.

Massey takes up the story: “They advertised for an Academy doctor, and were actually one of the first clubs in the country to have a full-time Academy doctor. 

“One of the people I’d been close to, a recruiter, told me to go for it and I umm-ed and ahh-ed. I wasn’t quite sure what a full-time Academy role would entail, but I went over, spoke to them and fell in love straight away with A) the club and B) the role. 

“Even now I’d say it’s the best job I’ve ever had, the role at the Academy. I loved it.”

But while more than satisfied with his position at Kirkby, a combination of opportunity and ambition led him to Melwood, initially on a temporary basis, in January 2015.

And, following a stringent application process - ‘I wasn’t going to get it just because I was the Academy doctor; it’s Liverpool Football Club, they want the best people doing all the jobs’ - Massey’s move to the first-team post was made permanent that summer.

Since then, the Northern Irishman has progressed further. No longer just Liverpool’s first-team doctor, he now manages a team of 24 professionals across Melwood and the Academy.

“I head up the physio and sports science departments as well as the medicine department, so I’m looking at the overall performance side of things while also still doing the first-team doctor job,” he explains.

“Essentially, I’ve got two jobs now!” 

Around halfway through our conversation, Massey politely excuses himself.

It’s Friday, two days before the Reds’ next game, and Jürgen Klopp is upstairs in his office, awaiting a pre-training medical bulletin.

Upon his return a few minutes later, Massey is asked to offer an insight into what it’s like to lead a medical department that operates under a manager renowned for requiring huge physical output from his players.

“I always say that the manager is the most important person at the club and everyone else has to fit around his philosophy,” he notes.

“Jürgen’s philosophy is very much that we’ve got to run further, run faster, run quicker than every other team because if we can do that then the skill will take over. 

“So we’ve got to put the players in a position where they can do that. When Jürgen first came into the club, we tried to put that in there but the boys weren’t up to that physical level yet to meet the demands.

“At one stage, we had 13 hamstring injuries but now, with the benefit of two pre-seasons, we’re seeing the boys work so much harder and they look like they’re more protected.

“A lot of the stuff we do from a medical point of view, we hope that it makes people less injury-prone but the statistics don’t back up. There’s a UEFA group that looks at injuries with data from the last 15 years and injuries remain constant. 

“Arsene Wenger was saying this recently, but people take it the wrong way. You’re still going to get the same number of injuries, but what we try to do is get them back quicker now, which we are making a bit of headway in to. 

“So far this year, touch wood, we’ve had very few soft-tissue injuries and that’s coming from the fact the players are more accustomed to doing the massive workloads because they’ve had two full pre-seasons under their belts.

“A lot of the studies coming out of a group in Queensland at the moment will say that for every 10 extra pre-season sessions that you do, you have a five per cent decrease in your soft-tissue [injury] rates. 

“So this system seems to have worked for Jürgen throughout his coaching career and now it looks like it’s working for us as well.

“The manager’s brilliant at listening to us. Of course he wants the players back as quickly as possible but he’s brilliant. If we tell him that somebody is too big of a risk then he’ll listen to us.”

There is a consistent thread that runs through this discussion.

Variants on the phrase ‘getting players back better and quicker’ are repeated regularly. That is, Massey emphasises, one of his department’s most important aims.

But how does the club’s involvement in the Champions League affect that objective? How does the increase in the number of games, travel and workload impact on training, fitness and recovery regimes?

“Zeljko [Buvac] is brilliant at that,” Massey states.

“He’ll work very closely with Andreas [Kornmayer] in planning the sessions and they’ll try to periodise them going into matches. Now, what works for say Jordan Henderson might not work for say Sadio Mane, so sometimes you have to individualise those. 

“At any one stage, we can have four different groups: the starting XI, the starting XI who are playing on the Tuesday or Wednesday, an injured group and players who aren’t in the squads at all. They all need different inputs, which is what Zeljko has in mind. He’s got a countdown brain, is what I call it! 

“He can judge it by that and then Andreas is good about relaying it to us, and we can add in the injuries and we come together with it.

“Midweek matches mean that instead of dealing with one group, you’re potentially dealing with four different groups.”

While the method behind achieving them is anything but, the objectives Massey and his team strive to accomplish are relatively simple.  

“We’ve got two broad aims: One is performance enhancement and the other is decreasing the length of time it takes to have that performance enhancement,” he says.

“So ‘performance enhancement’ is: ‘What can we do that makes them able to perform at their optimum?’. 

“It’d be lovely in a football team to have everybody performing at their optimum every time, but in a squad of 30-35 people, you’re always going to have some carrying knocks. Now, does that cause them to miss training? Not always, so how do we get them up to their maximum?

“Likewise, if we’ve got a muscle injury that normally takes 28 days [to recover from], and whether we touch them or don’t touch them it takes 28 days, then that means you could any doctor or physio off the street to come in. 

“What maybe sets people apart working in football is that you’ll try to get that under 28 days - even if we cut that down by 25 per cent, that’s a week. 

“If we can get them into a match earlier, do we get more points? It’s about trying to find ways to stop people getting injured, getting them back quicker and getting them back better.”

Along with Liverpool’s participation in UEFA’s elite club study, an internal audit process - which produces data on the number of preventable and non-preventable injuries sustained by the Reds’ players per 1000 hours of training and match time - allows Massey to analyse his department’s performance season-on-season.

“Since I’ve come into the club we’ve tried to make it as standardised as possible and it’s about trying to make everything binary so we can compare it,” he says.

“The target, every year, is always to reduce the amount of injuries that can be reduced and to cut down rehab times.”

Somehow, Massey - a married father of three young children with, in his own words, ‘two jobs’ - still finds time to study.

His thirst to discover new ways to innovate, new ways of ‘getting players back better and quicker’, has led him to taking up a part-time professional doctorate Phd at John Moores University

“You have to keep learning,” Massey says, matter-of-factly.

“I always say that whenever you go through medical school that what you learn in first year, by the time you get to your fifth year, 50 per cent of it is out of date, so things evolve so quickly. 

“We’re working in an industry where there’s an evidence base for a lot of stuff, but we’ve got to be cutting edge. 

“Sometimes we’ll delve into the non-evidence based stuff: If there’s a new treatment coming out, we can’t wait two years for it to be proven by someone else. 

“We’re forever trying to find new things to do, learn off other sports, learn off other doctors. I’m in close contact with quite a few of the other Premier League doctors, I’m very friendly with the Manchester United doctor, very friendly with the Arsenal doctor.

“They’re two great lads who’ve been in the job for years - and they’ll maybe have something that I learn off them, or I might tell them something… well, they probably think I’m stupid, actually!”

What about the future, then? How long does Massey want to carry on in this ‘brilliant job’ of his?

“I love it and I’ll do it for as long as I can, but the one sacrifice that you never have a weekend free,” he notes.

“It’s seven days a week, pretty much for 11.5 months a year, so I don’t get to bring my kids to the football. The boys are Reds and they’ll come and watch but I don’t get to experience it with them. I can’t take them to their own games on a Saturday, so I feel guilty about that. 

“It’s a rewarding job and people would kill to do it so I’m very grateful and very lucky. There aren’t many people who stay in jobs at Premier League clubs for their whole careers because it is so demanding, you get quite a lot of burnout. 

“Steve McNally at Manchester United and Gary O’Driscoll at Arsenal, they’ve been in their jobs 10 years and everybody looks at them and thinks ‘wow’. 

“I’ve been here two years so if I can do another eight, I’ll be made up.”

‘Behind the Badge’ is a regular feature on Liverpoolfc.com which aims to tell the individual stories of the numerous men and women who work tirelessly away from the spotlight in an attempt to make Liverpool FC successful.

We speak to various members of staff across the first-team, Academy and Ladies set-ups who dedicate their lives to the club each and every day, covering a variety of different roles that make a vital contribution in preparing the Reds for action.

Categories: LFC NEWS

'We would probably lose!': Daniel Sturridge reveals his ultimate XI

Sat, 11/11/2017 - 11:40

Daniel Sturridge is the latest player to give us his ultimate XI – and the attack-minded line-up features a host of the biggest names in world football from the past decade.

With 10 years of Premier League football under his belt, plus international and Olympic experience, the Reds striker was able to pick from a who’s who of stars he has played with and against in his career.

You won’t be surprised to learn that Sturridge named Steven Gerrard in midfield and the Liverpool legend is partnered with one of the coolest men ever to patrol the centre of the park, Andrea Pirlo.

But who else is included in the gung-ho 4-2-4 formation? Find out in the video below…

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Categories: LFC NEWS

Match preview: Liverpool Ladies face Birmingham in Widnes

Sat, 11/11/2017 - 11:35

Liverpool Ladies are back at the Select Security Stadium in Widnes on Saturday evening when they host Birmingham City Women in the Women's Super League.

Scott Rogers' fifth placed side are two points clear of the Blues and will be looking to take another vital win.

Here's everything you need to know ahead of the Women's Super League fixture...

Where is the game being played? The match is at the Select Security Stadium in Widnes, with kick-off set for 5.30pm GMT.

How can I watch the game? Click here for ticket details. We will have highlights next week on LFCTV.

View from the player, Gemma Bonner

"We can't thank our fans enough for the amount of miles that they have put in supporting us. The last couple of weeks they have followed us to Sunderland and Durham and their support is unbelievable for us as players. We appreciate them so much and we want to get the three points on Saturday against a good Birmingham City Women FC side. We know nobody likes coming to our ground but that is something we’ve got to take advantage of, especially with the brilliant backing we have."

Categories: LFC NEWS

The Gemma Bonner column: Birmingham test and inspirational support

Sat, 11/11/2017 - 11:30

In her latest column, Liverpool Ladies captain Gemma Bonner looks forward to Saturday's Women's Super League clash with Birmingham City Ladies and tells us why the club's fantastic supporters can inspire them to victory.

It was so important for us to win our last game in the Women’s Super League when we came from a goal down to beat Sunderland Ladies 4-1. We went into it on the back of the defeat against Reading Women which we weren’t too happy with. The Sunderland game was played in very difficult conditions with the wind and I think the result was always going to depend on who dealt with the weather the best. We went a goal down but the reaction from the girls pretty much straight from kick-off to get level showed great character that we have in this team. To score four goals was pleasing and it was a vital win for us.

Natasha Harding took all the plaudits with the hat-trick and they were all great finishes. It was a tough night and we had to show a different side to our game because we were restricted to how much we could do with the ball, but we knew we had to put in a hard shift and it was a matter of being patient and getting the three points.

We had another tough game last weekend when we beat Durham Women FC on penalties in the Continental Cup. It was a disappointing afternoon for us because we expected to go there and get the three points. We were under no illusion that it would be an easy game because they are at the top end of WSL 2 and we expected a tough one. It was a frustrating game for us but you’ve got to give credit to them and for the way they carried out their game plan. For us, we’ve got to do better with the ball in the final third and also take our chances because we did create a lot of them.

We had our goalkeeper Siobhan Chamberlain to thank who was brilliant in the shootout when she saved three penalties. As frustrating a game it was for us, it was probably a good experience for the squad to experience a penalty shootout because we haven’t faced too many over recent years.

Next up we host Birmingham City Ladies at the Select Security Stadium in Widnes on Saturday evening (kick-off 5.30pm GMT). Birmingham recently changed their manager before the Spring Series and they have also signed a few new players so they are still growing as a team. On the pitch they have always had a strong squad and been hard to beat but now they are playing a good style of football. They have a good balance of not conceding and scoring goals so that makes them dangerous. We have to be prepared but we are back on home turf and it’s a big game for us.

As always, our intentions are to send our fantastic supporters home happy. We can’t thank our fans enough for the amount of miles that they have put in supporting us. The last couple of weeks they have followed us to Sunderland and Durham and their support is unbelievable for us as players. We appreciate them so much and we want to get the three points. We know nobody likes coming to our ground but that is something we’ve got to take advantage of, especially with the brilliant backing we have.

Show your support for Liverpool Ladies against Birmingham City on Saturday evening. Kick-off is at 5.30pm. Click here to find out more.

Categories: LFC NEWS

Pick up your Ladies programme v Birmingham tonight

Sat, 11/11/2017 - 11:15

Liverpool Ladies host Birmingham City Women FC in the Women's Super League on Saturday evening - make sure you pick up the official programme if you're heading down.

Kick-off at the Select Security Stadium in Widnes is at 5.30pm GMT, and the official matchday programme is the perfect souvenir for the fixture, on sale at the ground and includes exclusive interviews with some of the Reds' key personnel.

Wales captain Sophie Ingle reflects on the team's start to the season and outlines her personal goals, while we also catch up with assistant manager Phil Backhouse.

We hear the thoughts of manager Scott Rogers and skipper Gemma Bonner ahead of the clash with the Blues in their exclusive columns.

There is a profile of sister club Sandbach United including a full round-up of recent fixtures, the lowdown on our visitors from the Midlands and all the latest statistics too.

With all this and much more, make sure you pick up your copy of the official matchday programme which will be on sale inside the ground, priced £2.

Categories: LFC NEWS

Internationals: A debut for Gomez and success for Sadio

Sat, 11/11/2017 - 01:10

Joe Gomez made his senior England debut as he came on as a substitute in their goalless draw with Germany at Wembley on Friday night.

The Liverpool defender was introduced after 25 minutes in place of Phil Jones and played the remainder of the friendly.

Emre Can also figured in the contest for Die Mannschaft, entering the fray on 67 in London.

Elsewhere, Sadio Mane helped secure World Cup qualification for the first time in 16 years for Senegal as they beat South Africa 2-0.

The forward was instrumental in his country’s success at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane, laying on an assist for Diafra Sakho for the opening goal, before seeing his shot saved by Itumeleng Khune only to rebound into the net off Thamsanqa Mkhize.

Meanwhile, Ben Woodburn came on as a 63rd minute substitute for Wales in their 2-0 friendly defeat to France in Paris – a fifth cap for the Reds youngster, with Danny Ward an unused substitute.

Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino also remained on the bench in Brazil’s 3-1 defeat of Japan in Lille, as did Marko Grujic as Serbia overcame China 2-0.

On-loan Divock Origi was a second-half substitute for Belgium in a 3-3 thriller with Mexico, with Simon Mignolet was unused.

In U21 European Championships qualifying, Dominic Solanke scored for England in a 2-0 victory against Ukraine in Keiv. Trent Alexander-Arnold wasn’t called upon by the Young Lions.

Categories: LFC NEWS

Gallery: Ovie wins it for the Reds against Magpies

Sat, 11/11/2017 - 00:35

Ovie Ejaria's sublime effort helped Liverpool U23s to a 2-1 win against Newcastle United in the Premier League International Cup - check out the best of our match photos now.

The midfielder struck on 73 minutes with a wonderful solo strike to seal a hard-fought success for the Reds at Prenton Park.

Neil Critchley's side had to come from behind after Callum Roberts had opened the scoring for the Magpies in the first half; however, Matty Virtue levelled soon after before Ejaria's delightful late decider.

Photos by Nick Taylor

Categories: LFC NEWS

Report: Ejaria's solo stunner secures victory for U23s over Newcastle

Sat, 11/11/2017 - 00:00

Ovie Ejaria scored a sublime solo goal to give Liverpool U23s a 2-1 victory over their Newcastle United counterparts in a Premier League International Cup tie at Prenton Park on Friday night.

The midfielder secured a win for the Reds with 17 minutes left on the clock when he collected substitute Liam Millar’s backheel and jinked his way beyond a defender and the goalkeeper to net.

It completed the turnaround for Neil Critchley’s side, who had initially fallen behind to Callum Roberts’ first-half opener.

However, on the night Rhian Brewster returned to club duties, Matty Virtue levelled for Liverpool before the break, enabling Ejaria to make certain of three points in Group A for the hosts with his moment of magic in their opening game of the tournament.

With plenty of interest in Brewster following his exploits at the FIFA U17 World Cup with England, the youngster could have opened the scoring inside the first 60 seconds.

Ejaria threaded through a ball for the forward to run onto, which he looked to steer home when one-on-one with Nathan Harker, but the Newcastle goalkeeper was able to repel.

The visiting stopper thwarted Brewster again moments later, this time keeping out a drive from the edge of the area after a burst of speed had created a shooting opportunity.

Liverpool went closer still on 18 minutes when Bobby Adekanye jinked into space before watching his attempted cross take a deflection and loop over the head of Harker; however, Josef Yarney was on hand to hook the ball away on the line.

It had been all Critchley’s men, but they were to find themselves behind with 22 played in Birkenhead.

Roberts latched onto a wayward pass inside the box from Virtue and clinically curled it beyond Caoimhin Kelleher to break the deadlock for the Magpies.

But the Reds’ riposte was a swift one and, after Cameron Brannagan was foiled by a stop from Harker, Virtue restored parity and atoned for his earlier error, prodding in from close-range at the second attempt after being picked out by Adekanye’s low centre.

It ensured the sides returned to the dressing rooms on level terms at the break, but it was the Magpies who made the more enterprising opening to the second period.

Indeed, only a fine save at point-blank range from Kelleher kept out Tom Heardman’s towering header, while Victor Fernandez should have caused more panic when he struck wide after Juanma’s misplaced pass was seized upon 20 yards out.

Next, Dan Ward weaved his way into the Liverpool box just after the hour, though couldn’t keep his blast down as it cleared the hosts’ crossbar, before Roberts was inches away from finding the bottom corner after bursting in from the right soon after.

On 66 minutes, Brewster was withdrawn from the action having only resumed training at the Academy this week. His replacement was Millar, the U18s attacker entering the action for a first appearance at U23 level.

The Canadian was instantly involved as the Reds were left wondering how they hadn't gone in front.

Brannagan’s skimmer from the edge of the box was parried by Harker. Millar was quickest to the rebound and pulled it back for Virtue to strike the post prior to Adekanye somehow having his follow-up blocked on the line.

But Liverpool were to go 2-1 ahead – and it came courtesy of a sublime solo effort from Ejaria.

Millar’s cute backheel through a crowd of bodies found the midfielder inside the box, who steadied himself, danced beyond a defender and then rounded Harker before slipping into the now empty net.

It was enough to pick up the win for the Reds, though they survived a late scare when Conor Masterson inadvertently deflected the ball towards his own goal deep into stoppage-time, but Kelleher was able to prevent it from finding the bottom corner.

Liverpool U23s: Kelleher, Whelan, Juanma (53), Johnston, Jones, Masterson, Brannagan, Adekanye, Virtue, Brewster (Millar 66), Ejaria, Dhanda (Kane 82). Subs: Firth, Parker.

Categories: LFC NEWS

Available now: Liverpool Ladies Avon home shirts

Fri, 10/11/2017 - 17:22

Liverpool Ladies Avon-branded home shirts are available to purchase now.

The news comes as the club celebrates FA Girls Football Week (November 6-12) with a whole host of activities taking place to engage as many women and girls as possible in football.

Fans can get their hands on the shirts from LFC’s online store by clicking here or at Anfield’s new superstore. A small number of shirts will also be available to purchase at the LLFC merchandise stall at the Select Security Stadium ahead of the Reds' clash with Birmingham City Ladies on Saturday November 11.

While stocks last, all supporters who purchase a shirt from the LLFC merchandise stall at the Select Security Stadium will receive a discount voucher for 10 per cent off shirt printing, which can redeemed in Liverpool stores.

LLFC’s principal partner, Avon, linked up with the club earlier this year in the first agreement of its kind for the Ladies team. The award-winning partnership saw the iconic women’s beauty and cosmetic company become the first independent shirt sponsor to grace the front of the Reds shirt.

The shirt features a 125th anniversary crest and takes inspiration from some of the most iconic kits in LFC history.

Click here to get your Liverpool Ladies shirt from the club’s official store.

Categories: LFC NEWS

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