Steven Gerrard labelled Salah ‘the best player on the planet right now’

Steven Gerrard labelled Mohamed Salah ‘the best player on the planet right now’ after the Liverpool forward inspired a 5-2 win against AS Roma.

The Egyptian was the architect of his former club’s downfall in Tuesday night’s Champions League semi-final first leg at Anfield, opening up a two-goal lead before the interval with a trademark curled finish and a calm dink.

Salah – who now has 43 for the season, four short of Ian Rush’s club-record 47 – then set up strikes for Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino as the Reds took control of the tie ahead of next week’s return in Rome.

And Gerrard, who was Liverpool’s talisman in the run to European Cup glory in 2005, was impressed enough to argue that nobody in world football can currently match the No.11:

“He is in the form of his life.  It’s difficult to compare him to [Cristiano] Ronaldo and [Lionel] Messi because they have done it for so long and they have been consistent year in, year out. But without a shadow of a doubt he’s the best player on the planet right now.”

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.

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.”

Gerrard’s joy at beating Man City

Steven Gerrard emotional

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard wiped away tears at the final whistle on what was an emotional day for everyone connected with Liverpool football. Anfield remembered the 96 fans who lost their lives in the Hillsborough disaster 25 years ago and Manchester City were beaten 3-2 at Anfield inspired by Liverpool’s Captain fantastic Steven Gerrard who was at his brilliant best in the middle of the park.

Gerrard told reporters after the match:

“Emotional. Emotional, but we need to keep calm.  There’s still four big games to come but that meant so much especially when they got back into the game and you feared the worst at that point, but I think we showed today that we want to go to the wire, we want to go all the way.  Nothing’s won yet, but that was probably the biggest statement we’ve made so far.  That was the longest 90 minutes I’ve probably ever played in. I kept flashing back to how long the clock was taking in cup finals and big games I’ve played in before but it felt like the clock was going backwards at some points of that game.”

Liverpool started the match with a spine-tingling rendition of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ and as said it turned out to be one of Liverpool’s greatest victories in Premier league. With four games to go lets hope the Reds can keep the momentum and lift the title.

Liverpool FC: Gerrard ‘We lacked cutting edge’

Steven Gerrard 1

Liverpool Skipper Steven Gerrard believes the goalless draw against Everton is another proof that Liverpool lacks that cutting edge to finish of teams.

The match ended in 0-0 draw with Liverpool struggling to turn their possession into clear-cut chances without top scorer Luis Suarez.

Gerrard said:

“We all wanted [a goal] at the end, mainly for this fella [Jamie Carragher] playing in his last derby.  Everton have improved a lot. They’ve had a good season and are difficult to beat and that sums our season up in a way.  We played well but lacked the cutting edge against the sides above us. We’ll take a point but we’re slightly disappointed it wasn’t three.”

Carragher who played his last derby also expressed disappointment to not to sign off with a win in his final game against Everton.

”It’s a fair result. It wasn’t to be and a draw was a fair result. There weren’t too many chances at either end. It was a tense derby if you like and credit to Everton.  Coming to Anfield and getting a draw is a good result. I’m slightly disappointed but a fair result in the end I think. It was a good day. I’ve got a few games left with Liverpool. It was a big-game derby and I would have liked to have won it but ultimately we didn’t lose.”

Liverpool FC: Steven Gerrard set to pen new deal

Steven Gerrard 1

According to the Liverpool Echo, Liverpool have opened talks with club captain Steven Gerrard over a contract-extension.

The England skipper expects to pen a new deal over the next few months, with his current contract expiring at the end of the 2013/14 season.  He said:

“They want me to extend, I want to extend, so it’s just a matter of time really.  How long for I’m not too sure yet. That’s under discussion at the moment. But it will get sorted one way or another in the summer.”

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has also confirmed that talks have taken place with midfielder, stating:

“Stevie and I went out for something to eat a couple of weeks back and had a good chat about plans and whatnot.  I have been ever so pleased with Stevie this year. For me as a manager, to have a captain like that has been brilliant. He’s certainly one I would envisage to be here for a good few years yet.”

Liverpool fans will be hoping that their talisman in Steven Gerrard will stay at the club for the years to come having notched up 9 goals and 9 assists in England’s top-flight this season – proving yet still to be one of the best in the business, all at the ripe age of 32.

Liverpool FC confirm Gerrard testimonial

Steven Gerrard

Liverpool Football Club will be holding a testimonial match for skipper Steven Gerrard against Greek side Olympiacos.  The match will take place on August 3, Liverpools only pre-season fixture at Anfield.

Gerrard’s opponents are the side he scored a dramatic 86 minute goal to send Liverpool into the Champions League knockout stages in 2004- which they eventually went on to win.

Gerrard said:

“I am delighted to be honoured by Liverpool with a testimonial match and particularly thrilled that Olympiacos have accepted my invitation to play the fixture.  Last time we met proved to be such a memorable game both for me personally and Liverpool Football Club.  I am also especially grateful that Olympiacos have truly embraced the aim of this match and chosen to donate their fee to charity.  I am looking forward to what I know will be a fantastic game and a wonderful occasion.”

All the money raised from events celebrating Steven’s testimonial year will go to the Steven Gerrard Foundation (SGF), a registered charity — stevengerrardfoundation.org

Liverpool FC: Rodgers refuses to blame players after shock defeat

Liverpool Boss Brendan Rodgers avoided blaming his players after their home Premier League defeat to West Brom.

The Reds dominated the vast majority of the tie at Anfield, but slipped to a shock 2-0 loss when Gareth McAuley and Romelu Lukaku found the net late after skipper Steven Gerrard failed to convert from a spot kick in the final quarter.

Rodgers admitted his disappointment following the defeat but insisted he could not fault the efforts of his players.

“These players always react very well. They were very disappointed, like we all were, last night because we wanted to make our home form better in the league.  That’s something we’d done, especially of late. We entered into the game against West Brom with the best defensive home record in the league, so that shows the mark of improvement we were making as a group.  It’s something that left the players disappointed, but they will react in the right manner. They’re good guys here, they want to work well and they’re very good at moving on. That’s something we’ll have to do if we want to progress.”

Liverpool are now down to ninth spot in the table, a gaping 12 points adrift from fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur. With 12 matches remaining do you think the Reds will climb back to finish fourth in the table ?

Liverpool FC: Jamie Carragher to retire at end of season

Liverpool FC: Jamie Carragher to retire at end of season

Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher announced on Thursday that he will hang his boots at the end of the season. The 35-year-old has made 723 appearances for the reds since his full debut in 1997 and is second only to Ian Rush in all-time Liverpool appearances.

“This will be my last season at Liverpool and my last as a professional footballer.  I’m making this announcement now because I don’t want the manager or the club to be answering questions on my future when I’ve already decided what I am going to do.”

Carragher has won three League Cup crowns, two FA Cup victories and one Champions League, UEFA Cup and UEFA Super Cup title.

Jamie Carragher

He will be remembered as a Liverpool legend who always gave his all, there are few who embody Liverpool more than Jamie Carragher.  He was Liverpool as much as Steven Gerrard.  Carragher was the rock in that changing back line that included Sami Hyppia, Martin Skrtel and Daniel Agger.  Which is why Brendan Rodgers sought him out from the margins to the starting XI.  Carragher’s positional ability and anticipation compensates so well for his lack of speed.

Rodgers was also acutely aware that the man from Bootle, other than Gerrard, brought essential leadership qualities to a transitioning team.  With his retirement, only a handful (Gerrard, Reina, and possibly Agger) are left in the team who have links with the successful Champions League seasons.

But let us be clear, before the end of the season it will be just business as usual for Jamie Carragher.

Aguero strike cancels out Gerrard stunner to earn a point

Aguero strike cancels out Gerrard stunner to earn a point

Stunning goals from new signing Sturridge and skipper Steven Gerrard should have been enough to secure a famous victory at the Etihad stadium, but instead the reds had no choice but to settle for a 2-2 draw after an outstanding equalizer from Sergio Aguero. On the 78 minute mark, after Pepe Reina was caught stranded after going for a ball he was never going to get to.

Boss Brendan Rodgers believes his side’s 2-2 draw against Manchester City today has shown that they will be a “real force” in the Premier League and will be a formidable outfit soon:

“It was an outstanding performance at a notoriously difficult place for teams to even score a goal.  I don’t think they’ve conceded here [in 2013].  What was important for me was to see the confidence of the players, the desire, the quality and the efficiency of their game. I don’t think anyone would deny that we probably deserved to win that game.  The disappointing thing was that it typified our season, really, where we’ve been outstanding in our game and the model of our work but mistakes have cost us.  That’s all a part of our growth.”

What does everyone of the performance? Did Liverpool outplay the champions for most of the match? and how about those goals from Daniel Sturridge and Steven Gerrard?

Liverpool FC: Liverpool smash Norwich 5-0

Liverpool 5-0 Norwich

The Reds got back to winning ways in the Barclays Premier League after a thumping 5-0 win over Norwich City at Anfield on Saturday afternoon. Jordan Henderson’s 26th minute strike gave Liverpool the early lead before a well-worked move saw Luis Suarez double the advantage nine minutes before the break. £12million signing Daniel Sturridge found the net after the break and became the first Liverpool player since Ray Kennedy in 1974 to score in his first three matches. Steven Gerrard and a Ryan Bennett own goal made it a comfortable 5-0 victory.

Boss Brendan Rodgers was pleased to see the exiting partnership between forwards Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge and now believes the Reds have the front two capable of striking fear into any Barclays Premier League defence:

“They linked very, very well.  Luis has done what he’s done for us all season. He’s 100 per cent every game.  They are both players who are not just static. Daniel’s got pace and power but he’s also clever.  That was important for us today.  It gives the opponent someone else to really worry about.  Suarez has been incredible for us this season and has had some young players up there with him, but we’ve now got a recognized goalscorer up beside him.  If you look at the movements between the two of them.  The second goal was a wonderful demonstration of how good players can link together.”

What did you think of the match?

Liverpool slip to Old Trafford defeat

Daniel Sturridge scores for Liverpool against Manchester United

Liverpool lost 2-1 against Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday after Robin van Persie gave United a first-half lead and then doubling their advantage shortly after the break Vidic deflected a Evra header home.

Substitute Sturridge made an immediate impact as he fired home after David De Gea had spilled a Steven Gerrard drive. However Reds couldn’t find the equalizer and United were able to hold out for the win.

Rodgers said:

“I was very proud of the team. I thought that the first half we were a wee bit tentative at times in our passing and we actually presented them with opportunities in the game.  But in the second half – you could have easily at 2-0 given up the fight – the fightback was brilliant by the players and I thought second half we maybe deserved something from the game.

We are disappointed to lose but take heart from the fact we kept going and Daniel Sturridge coming on and getting another goal was terrific. The second-half performance was much better.  It’s never easy when you have got young players that are making their debuts at Old Trafford and when you look at Manchester United’s experience in their team – they have been there and been around a lot of them.

For us it was just about reinforcing a couple of details that we needed to be better at. We are disappointed with the free-kick because we never defended that well enough. But after that the reaction was terrific.  We will take great hope from the second-half performance. We know the improvements we need to make if we are going to sustain a challenge at the top of the table.

There was 21 points difference before this game but it wasn’t 21 points in terms of quality, it was 21 points in terms of the depth of the squad. So if we are going to be able to compete we need depth in our club that is going to enable us to compete on a consistent basis.”

Suarez and Sturridge both showed good signs of an early partnership forming as both players seemed to be on the same wavelength. Lets hope we can bounce back next week with a good win over Norwich.