Liverpool FC: Christian Benteke’s a great buy

I think Christian Benteke could prove to be a great buy for Liverpool FC.

Benteke signing

Benteke was the ninth-highest scorer in the Premier League last season with 13 goals, despite the injury which saw him miss out on the World Cup restricting him to just 26 starts.

The Belgian has come up against Liverpool on six occasions since making the switch to England, earning two wins and one draw. Incredibly, he has scored five goals against the Reds during those games.

The 24-year-old is already established on the international stage, having scored seven times in 24 appearances for the Belgium national team since making his bow against Bulgaria in May 2010.

Christian Benteke scores his first goal for Liverpool with a stunning volley against Swindon Town in a pre-season friendly:

Prior to joining Aston Villa, Benteke represented Standard Liege and Genk during the early stages of his career and also enjoyed loan spells with Kortrijk and Mechelen, all in his homeland.

Benteke's volley flew past Swindon goalkeeper Lawrence Vigouroux, who could only stand and stare

Benteke’s volley flew past Swindon goalkeeper Lawrence Vigouroux, who could only stand and stare

After completing his move to Anfield, Benteke told

“I’m very happy to be here and I would like to thank the owners, Ian [Ayre] and of course the manager for their massive effort to bring me here.  It’s hard to show your emotion when you’ve just come from doing something [like this] but of course I am very happy.”

To read the full interview with Christian, click here.

Liverpool FC 2015/2016 Away Kit

Liverpool FC and New Balance today revealed the team’s brand new away kit for 2015-16.

New Balance took inspiration from the past to produce the sleek design, which has red trim on the collar, crests and sleeves.  Reds trio Simon Mignolet, James Milner and Martin Skrtel were in attendance to unveil the strip, which is available to purchase immediately.

Head to the Official LFC Online Store to get your hands on the away kit for the new season now.

Mignolet said: “The New Balance away kit looks great and the team are aware of past years where the club has had many successes wearing white away kits. Hopefully this kit can bring us luck away from home next season.”


Liverpool FC: Raheem Sterling negotiations need to be done in private

Raheem Sterling

Raheem Sterling is being much maligned for his refusal to sign a new contract with Liverpool – some of that criticism is fair, some of it isn’t.  The big issue for me though is that all this should not be taking place in the media in public.

Whilst I think a £100,000 a week contract is more than fair for a player of his ability and potential I can see there are two key issues at play.

  • Firstly the potential to win trophies and play in the Champions League football is key to any young footballer.  Once again Liverpool have failed to qualify for the Champions League – to not have the opportunity to play against the best players in the world is going to be frustrating for Sterling.  Liverpool haven’t won a trophy since 2012, when they beat Cardiff on penalties to win the League Cup.
  • Secondly, Liverpool Football Club seem to have once again chosen the wrong time for contract negotiations.  Sterling, in an interview with the BBC, claimed his future could have been resolved after last season’s title challenge.  He said: “If, at that point in time, I was offered a contract, I most definitely would have signed straight away and probably for far less money than is being said now. I think the timing was a bit off.”

Negotiations are negotiations – people say all kinds of things in those meetings to get that compromise that everyone is happy with.  But the problem is that currently these thoughts and comments are being made in the press, in front of all of the Liverpool fans.  This is what has really led to their criticism of Sterling.  It’s little wonder that he received a mixed reception at Liverpool’s end-of-season awards ceremony when he collected the young player of the year prize to a combination of boos, heckling and some applause.

I think Jamie Carragher is completely right to tell Sterling to “keep your mouth shut” and “get on with playing football”.  He said on Sky’s Monday Night Football:

“For a 20-year-old kid to be taking on Liverpool Football Club over a contract. To the pit of my stomach that just winds me up, it angers me.

The lad is from London and he obviously wants to go back home. It might not be about money. It may be about trophies or playing in the Champions League. If it’s about trophies, Liverpool had a chance for a trophy this year, in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley against Aston Villa. Where was Sterling? If you want trophies, they don’t get given to you, you have to earn them, you have to play well in big games. What did Liverpool do in the Champions League? Nothing. What did Sterling do? Nothing.

To do what he’s done now. There’s nothing worse than that. You keep your mouth shut – get on with playing football.”


Liverpool FC home kit 2015/2016

The first ever New Balance Liverpool FC kits were launched on 10th April, confirming many of the previous leaks.  The new Liverpool 15-16 Kits are the first jerseys made by New Balance, after Warrior Football was re-branded as New Balance.  The New Balance Liverpool 2015-16 Kits feature a classical kit design, sponsored by Standard Chartered.

Take a closer look at the strip:

The new red Liverpool 15-16 Home Kit features a classical kit design with a unique kit collar.

On the front of the New Balance Liverpool Kit is a chequered pattern with differently sized squares. It is “inspired by the red and white mosaic formed when supporters on the Kop hoist aloft their Liverpool flags and scarves on a matchday.”

The New Balance logo, the Liver Bird and the Standard Chartered logo are white. The New Balance Liverpool 2015-2016 Home Shirt has yellow and white details.

Red shorts and red socks complete the new Liverpool 15-16 Home Kit, made by New Balance.


Gerrard becomes Liverpool FC penalty king

Steven Gerrard penalty record

As Steven Gerrard netted from the spot to become Liverpool’s all-time penalty king during the 3-0 win at Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday, Jan Molby watched on with self-confessed mixed emotions.

The former Reds midfielder was on media duty at White Hart Lane, enjoying a prime viewing position to see the side’s No.8 successfully stroke home a spot-kick – his 43rd for the club.

Before Gerrard became a feared foe from 12 yards, Molby himself had previously held the record, but ‘the Great Dane’ takes solace from the fact that it was the captain reaching the milestone.

“A player like me wasn’t renowned for being a goalscorer so I never had too many records but it was nice to have held that for a while.  In a way it was a little bit sad, but if a record is going to go and it’s gone to one of Liverpool’s all-time greatest ever players, then I can live with it.  Steven has worked on penalties over the years and when he takes one now you always expect him to score.  He strikes the ball really well and he puts the ball into the corners.  He is an inspirational player for Liverpool and remains a big part of the team. In my opinion, there are not that many players left in football today that can lift one team. He can.”

Asked to describe the art of taking the perfect penalty, Molby assessed that each player will have his own individual style of seeking to beat the goalkeeper – not least his own approach.  He continued:

“People have their own technique and how they want to approach a penalty. Some people make up their mind early and stick to that when they run up, but my style was slightly different.  I believe there are three things that are important when you take a penalty, which is the ball, the goalkeeper and the goal.  I used to wait for the goalkeeper to make his move and then put the ball the other way. If the goalkeeper didn’t move I would always try to put the ball low and hard to the goalkeeper’s right.”

For the second season running at White Hart Lane, Liverpool were clinical throughout and eased to victory via a strike by Raheem Sterling, Gerrard’s penalty and an Alberto Moreno stunner.

Liverpool FC: Champions League group announced

Champions League group V

Liverpool will kick off their 2014-15 Champions League campaign by welcoming Bulgarian outfit Ludogorets Razgrad to Anfield on Tuesday September 16.  The Reds end a five-year absence from the elite European tournament with a home fixture against a team that they have never previously met competitively.

The Reds were pitted against the holders of the competition in Thursday’s draw in Monaco, and they’ll also face trips to Switzerland and Bulgaria.  Madrid, who claimed their 10th European Cup with victory over city rivals Atletico in Lisbon earlier this year, last locked horns with Liverpool back in the 2008-09 campaign.  The teams met at the last 16 stage and after Yossi Benayoun’s late header secured a famous 1-0 first-leg win at the Bernabeu, the Reds ran riot in the return at Anfield – powering to a 4-0 triumph in front of the Kop.  The only other competitive game between the teams came in the 1981 final in Paris when Alan Kennedy’s goal sealed a 1-0 win for Bob Paisley’s team.

Liverpool also have recent history with Basel after they were pitted against each other in the Champions League first group stage in 2002-03.  The first encounter ended in a 1-1 draw at Anfield, while the Reds came from three goals down at half-time to draw 3-3 at St-Jakob Park.  Basel have won the Swiss league title five times in a row.

Meanwhile, Liverpool have never faced Champions League newcomers Ludogorets Razgrad previously.  The Bulgarian title holders secured their place in the competition in incredible circumstances against Steaua Bucharest in the play-offs.  After trailing by a goal from the first leg in Romania, Wanderson netted a last-minute volley to force extra time in Razgrad.  However, they were reduced to 10 men when goalkeeper Vladislav Stoyanov was sent off in the 119th minute.  It meant centre-back Cosmin Moti was required to go in goal for the penalty shootout – and he emerged the hero, sensationally saving two spot kicks to ensure Ludogorets progressed 6-5 on penalties.

2014-15 Champions League fixtures

September 16 – Ludogorets Razgrad (H)
October 1 – FC Basel (A)
October 22 – Real Madrid (H)
November 4 – Real Madrid (A)
November 26 – Ludogorets Razgrad (A)
December 9 – FC Basel (H)

LFC: Reina joins Bayern Munich

Pepe Reina

Liverpool have confirmed Pepe Reina has completed a transfer to Bayern Munich.

The goalkeeper has signed a permanent deal with the German club, bringing his eight-year spell at Anfield to an end.

Reina moved to Merseyside from Villarreal in the summer of 2005 and made an immediate impact, helping the Reds achieve a club record 11 successive clean sheets in all competitions.

Indeed, his maiden season would end in glory as Liverpool defeated West Ham United on penalties in the FA Cup final in Cardiff, with the Spaniard saving three of the Hammers’ four spot kicks in the shoot-out.

In April 2007, Reina’s shut-out against Blackburn Rovers meant he’d kept 28 clean sheets in his first 50 league games – setting another club record.

His penalty-saving prowess was evident once again one month later as he helped the Reds edge out Chelsea in a dramatic Champions League semi-final victory at Anfield.

In 2008, Reina claimed the Barclays Golden Glove award for a third successive campaign, while in 2009-10 he was voted as Liverpool’s Player of the Season by supporters.

The 31-year-old added one further accolade to his collection, picking up a winners’ medal as the Reds beat Cardiff City in the Carling Cup final in February 2012.

In total, Reina made 394 appearances for the club before spending the 2013-14 season on loan at Italian side Napoli.

Everyone at Liverpool FC would like to wish Pepe all the best for the future.

Rickie Lambert fails with his first spot-kick for Liverpool

Rickie Lambert - photo

Rickie Lambert, the man who never missed a penalty for Southampton FC, failed with his first spot-kick for Liverpool last night.

The striker converted all 34 of his competitive spot-kicks during his remarkable five years at St Mary’s.  But he failed to score his first penalty for Liverpool when he saw his effort during last night’s 2-0 friendly win over AC Milan saved by Christian Abbiati.

The Reds still won 2-0 in Charlotte, America, with goals from Joe Allen and Suso.

Gerrard reveals England retirement

Steven Gerrard today announced his retirement from international football with England following a glittering 14 years of representing his country.

Steven Gerrard - England

The midfielder’s journey with the Three Lions took him to three World Cup tournaments – 2006, 2010 and, most recently, this summer – and three European Championships.

After a debut against Ukraine in 2000, a total of 114 caps were amassed in the white colours, including 38 appearances as captain, making the Huyton native the nation’s third most capped player of all time.

In recognition of the Liverpool skipper’s unflinching commitment to England, he will now continue his relationship with the Football Association through an ambassadorial role.

Explaining the decision, Gerrard said:

“I have enjoyed every minute of representing my country and it is a sad day for me knowing that I won’t pull on the England shirt again.  However, I do look forward to continuing my strong relationship with The FA and helping out in any way I can going forward.

“I’d like to firstly thank my family and friends for all their support throughout my England journey. I’d also like to thank everyone who has been part of my international career, from the England managers I’ve played under to the staff at the FA and, of course, all the players I’ve been fortunate to play alongside.  In particular, the supporters have been amazing, not least in Brazil when they got behind the team despite the disappointing results.

“I’d especially like to thank Roy [Hodgson], firstly for giving me the captaincy permanently when he took the job, making me the proudest man in the country and allowing me to fulfil my childhood dream.  He has been very understanding over the past few weeks and is a man I will always hold in the highest regard.

“This has been a very difficult decision, one of the toughest I’ve had to make in my career. I have agonised over this since coming back from Brazil and have spoken to family, friends and people close to me in the game before coming to this point.

“Most importantly, Brendan [Rodgers] has been fantastic and obviously I have to look after my body as much as possible to ensure I can give everything when I take to the field.  To ensure I can keep playing to a high level and giving everything to Liverpool Football Club, I believe this is the right decision and having Champions League football back at Anfield is another big factor in my decision.”

Hodgson, who coached Gerrard both at Anfield and at international level, paid a glowing tribute to the man that captained his England side since taking the reins in 2012:

“While I’m disappointed in the decision, I can entirely understand Steven’s situation and can have no complaints given the incredible service he has given to his country.  I must respect his wishes due to the discussions we have had and the amount of thought and consideration he himself has given it.

“He is an incredible man and a fantastic footballer who we have all been blessed to see in an England shirt so often. It is never by coincidence that people reach such a staggering figure as 114 caps, it is a mark of his wonderful talent allied to a huge drive and determination to live up to the highest standard.

“He is not only a player to bring crowds to their feet with moments of brilliance; he was a tremendous captain and an exceptional role model for everyone who was fortunate to come into contact with him.  We shall miss his leadership qualities as we look ahead to the qualification campaign with a youthful group of players. I wish him all the best in the future, although I know I can count on his continued support and influence as a helpful presence moving forward.”

Rickie Lambert to wear No.9 at LFC

New Liverpool striker Rickie Lambert has been handed the historic No.9 shirt at Anfield.

Rickie Lambert - LFC

The England international sealed a switch to his boyhood side at the beginning of June and kicked off pre-season preparations earlier this week.

Today it was confirmed that the 32-year-old will follow in the footsteps of illustrious names such as Robbie Fowler, Steve Heighway, Ian Rush and Ian St John in wearing the number.

Sturridge scored a stunner for England

England v Montenegro - FIFA 2014 World Cup Qualifier

Daniel Sturridge scored a stunning goal as England recorded a 3-0 friendly victory over Peru at Wembley on Friday night.

The Liverpool striker curled home the opener just after the half-hour mark, collecting a throw in from Anfield teammate Glen Johnson before skipping inside and clipping into the top corner over goalkeeper, Raul Fernandez:

The Reds duo were joined in the starting XI by Steven Gerrard, who skippered the team, and Jordan Henderson. Raheem Sterling, meanwhile, was introduced into the action as a second-half substitute.

Centre-backs Gary Cahill and Phil Jagielka were England’s other scorers.

Afterwards, Sturridge said:

“It is not important about myself, it is about the team and our preparation; putting in a shift tactically and technically to be in the best shape for the first game.  It was difficult to be fair because they defended well and they were very compact.  We had worked very hard throughout the week and there wasn’t the match sharpness as much as we would have liked.  But it was great to be out there and we are happy with the result.”