Feb 292016

Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet will spend some time analysing his performance in the Capital One Cup final – but insists the Reds have to move on quickly from the disappointment.

The Belgium international was arguably at fault for Manchester City’s goal at Wembley, allowing Fernandinho’s shot from a narrow angle to pass under his body.

He could not then replicate counterpart Willy Caballero’s heroics – the Spaniard saved three spot-kicks in the penalty shoot-out.

Bizarrely, when Mignolet watches the match analysis back, he will also be able to recognise some positives as he did make two or three excellent saves, including two from City’s dangerman Sergio Aguero to keep his team in the game.

But he will not spend time dwelling on either the good or the bad as Liverpool must soon face Manuel Pellegrini’s side again, at Anfield on Wednesday, giving them an instant chance to respond.

“It’s too early to say about that,” he said when asked about his role in Fernandinho’s goal.

“I’ve not seen it back again but I’ll analyse it the way I’ve always done.

“When you come out of a final and you’ve lost you’re too disappointed to talk about it.

“We’ll try to think about it Monday and we will make a better analysis.

“We have to pick ourselves up as soon as possible because we have another game on Wednesday.

“We have to do it together. We have to go again but like when you lose a final that is all you think about. That’s normal.

“It’s not easy after (losing) a final but we have to perform, make sure we keep going in the Premier League and in the Europa League.”

The Europa League takes on increased significance now, with a last-16 tie against arch-rivals Manchester United coming up in the next couple of weeks.

Forward Adam Lallana, one of the players to miss in the shoot-out, believes that now has to be their motivation.

“A few words were said after the game, not many, but the few words were that we have got to push on now in the Europa League,” he told Liverpool’s official website.

“We have got a great fixture against Manchester United to look forward to which is massive, the fans will love that, we love that and we have just got to pick ourselves up and go again.

“To come so close to winning a trophy and going out on penalties is always tough to take.

“We won a couple of penalty shoot-outs on the run to this final and you can’t win them all.

“We felt we were in the game throughout normal time and in extra time, and going to penalties obviously it can go either way.

“It’s just disappointing, the emotion that is in the dressing room, to come so close to winning a first bit of silverware for the season under the new manager.

“Everyone gave everything and we worked so hard to try and win.”

Source: PA

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 Posted by at 12:53 pm
Feb 292016

Sylvio Berlusconi, Italian media tycoon and politician who served as Prime Minister, was speaking as club owner and Honorary President to “Italia 7 Gold” sports channel about the possibility of the Rossoneri “make a financial sacrifice” to sign Mario Balotelli permanently.

The striker returned to the Rossoneri on loan from Liverpool this summer after a somewhat disastrous first season at Anfield where he scored only one goal and failed to cement a first team place.

Liverpool took a gamble on the Italian striker who has a history of disciplinary problems and falling out with managers and coaches. Jose Mourinho said Balotelli was unmanageable when he was in charge of rivals Inter Milan, causing Mourinho to drop him from the first team. Balotelli also annoyed Inter fans by wearing an AC Milan shirt on an Italian TV show.

Arriving at Anfield in August 2014 for a fee of £16 million, he was to replace the outbound Luis Suárez as he left for Barcelona. It wasn’t long before he annoyed the proud Liverpool fans however, in a Champions League game against Real Madrid, Balotelli was criticised by manager Brendan Rodgers for swapping shirts with opponent Pepe at half time.

There have been moments of pure magic and delight in Balotelli’s career. He won the Golden Boy award in 2010, an award given by sports journalists to the best young player in Europe, was man of the match in the 2011 FA Cup Final as Manchester City defeated Stoke City 1–0, he set up Sergio Aguero’s last-minute goal to win the Premier League title in 2012, City’s first in 44 years and scored twice within the first 40 minutes in Italy’s semi-final clash with Germany, as the Azzurri won 2–1 and progressed to the Euro 2012 final against European and World champions Spain.

Since returning to play for AC Milan Balotelli has made just two Serie A starts so far as he’s battled with a hernia injury. He has recently started playing again, scoring the lone goal from the penalty spot during the first semi final leg of the Coppa Italia against Alessandria.

“Will we sign him outright? It depends on him,” club President Berlusconi shrugged “He has extraordinary technical and physical qualities, especially if he can really show maturity in terms of his behaviour in his life and his position on the pitch.”

Winning the Coppa Italia is certainly the Rossoneri’s main goal this season after a terrible start to Serie A, they are currently sixth and unbeaten in last eight games, and Berlusconi sees it as Milan’s best chance back in to Europe “It depends on how much the squad believes. We really want the Coppa Italia, it’d give meaning to our season and allow us to return to Europe.”

Berlusconi will definitely be willing to make a financial sacrifice to acquire the striker. The owner dreams of having an all Italian team “We have the ambition to put-out an all-Italian team in the coming years. We’re looking in all the youth teams to try to identify some young men with secure futures” he told Eurosport.

So it is down to Balotelli if he really wants to move to Milan full time, if he can continue to play well and help Milan win Coppa italia, the owners will do all they can to sign him. But he must play well and behave himself, these are two things Balotelli has struggled to sustain over recent years.

Source: DSG

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 Posted by at 11:45 am
Feb 282016

Willy Cabellero stars in shootout as Manchester City claim Capital One Cup

Goalkeeper Willy Cabellero was the hero as Manchester City won their fourth League Cup title in a penalty shoot-out victory over Liverpool at Wembley.

In a tale of contrasting fortunes for the men between the posts the Argentinian, back-up to Joe Hart, saved three spot-kicks while opposite number Simon Mignolet did not manage one as City won the shoot-out 3-1 after the match finished 1-1.

While all the focus had been on the attacking options both sides had at their disposal, the match ended up being decided by the goalkeepers.

Mignolet’s evening was something of a roller-coaster, ending on a low, as his error in allowing Fernandinho’s shot under his body handed City the lead which was only cancelled out by Philippe Coutinho’s 83rd-minute strike.

The Belgium international also made a number of excellent saves but having handed the initiative to City it was a long way back for Liverpool and their exertions began to tell in extra-time.

It was only the fourth shoot-out Liverpool had lost in 18 attempts.

Source: PA

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 Posted by at 3:34 pm
Feb 272016

Liverpool V Man City – view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Liverpool midfielder Emre Can desperate for silverware

Emre Can believes winning the Capital One Cup will put Liverpool on the right path to success under Jurgen Klopp.

Less than five months after taking over at Anfield, Klopp, who on his first day had no issue stating his intent to win titles, will lead his side out for a final at Wembley against Manchester City.

He will be the first Liverpool manager to do so since Kenny Dalglish in 2012 when the Merseysiders visited what was nicknamed ‘Anfield South’ during the glory years of the 1980s twice for the FA Cup and League Cup final, winning the latter for their only trophy in the last decade.

There have been a number of close calls – Klopp’s predecessor Brendan Rodgers got them to two semi-finals last season but failed in both, dismally so against a poor Aston Villa side in the FA Cup – but Can thinks victory against City on Sunday could be the start of regular successes.

“I played one Supercup final (in 2012) against Borussia Dortmund and against Jurgen Klopp for Bayern Munich and we won and that is the biggest game I’ve had in my career so far,” said the Germany midfielder.

“I think it is the best feeling in the world to win trophies and that is what I could do in the Supercup and that is what I want more times.

“I came to Liverpool to win trophies. Liverpool is the same (as Bayern). Both are big clubs and they want to win titles and that is what I want here as I wanted at Bayern Munich.

“It is very important for us to win a trophy. We are such a young team so to get that feeling you can win trophies we can then say we are in the right way.”

Forward Adam Lallana, midfielder Joe Allen and defender Martin Skrtel have all returned to training with the first team but may find it difficult to win a place for the showpiece.

The first two have not featured since February 6 because of calf and hamstring problems while the Reds’ Slovakian centre-back has been sidelined since mid-December, although fellow defender Dejan Lovren has recovered from illness earlier this week.

Klopp made just one change for Thursday’s Europa League win over Augsburg and with Lucas Leiva occupying a role in defence in that game the manager has to decide whether to swap him with a genuine centre-back or a midfielder.

Meanwhile, Manchester City left-back Gael Clichy is preparing for an emotional trip to Wembley.

For the 30-year-old, the stadium means much more than football as memories are sure to come flooding back of last November’s friendly between England and France.

Clichy was not part of the France squad that night, after the start of his season was ruined by an ankle injury, but the emotion of the occasion affected him greatly.

The game took place just four days after the Bataclan Paris attacks in which 129 people were killed and fans and players of both sides stood together to sing the French national anthem in tribute to those lost.

“Even though I am not an English player, Wembley is a name you know when you are a kid,” said Clichy. “You want to play in those kind of stadiums.

“It is an amazing stadium and hopefully it will be full with blue and red colours, but right now the image that comes to mind was the game England played against France and seeing those colours, everyone united for the same reason.

“I think football is a beautiful game and those kind of days are beautiful and that is why we play football. Of course we want to win it but we are going to try to enjoy it as well.”

Clichy is not a certain starter as both he and Aleksandar Kolarov are used regularly by Manuel Pellegrini in the left-back slot.

The City boss has been boosted by Wilfried Bony and Jesus Navas, who are expected to return to the squad after training fully on Friday.

Pellegrini is also hopeful captain Vincent Kompany, ex-Reds winger Raheem Sterling and Bacary Sagna will be fine to feature after undergoing recovery sessions away from the main group.

Goalkeeper Willy Caballero will start between the sticks and Bersant Celina, Manu Garcia and Aleix Garcia could all be in the squad, although Fabian Delph, Kevin De Bruyne and Samir Nasri are all long-term absentees.

Source: PAR

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Feb 262016

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has got the Europa League draw he wanted with a last-16 tie against Manchester United.

Having lost to their arch-rivals in his first match against them at Anfield in January despite dominating the game, the German is looking to exact revenge over two legs next month.

Louis van Gaal has won all four matches against Liverpool since he arrived in England, with his scoring nine goals and conceding just two, but Klopp believes his side can turn around that sequence when they meet on March 10 at Anfield and a week later at Old Trafford.

“It’s great. We deserve these games,” Klopp said.

“Obviously it is not easy but you can ask my staff but when they asked me yesterday who I wanted, I said ‘Man United’.

“I think we have to clear something. We had a good game when we lost 1-0 but it was not what we deserved.

“It gives us a chance to make it better and that is what we will try to do.”

Klopp, who is preparing his side for the Capital One Cup final against Manchester City at Wembley on Sunday, admitted there were no comfortable options in the draw.

“There were no easy games in this round so there was no chance for an easy game. Man United – cool,” he added.

“With the draw today it seems like it is Liverpool against Manchester – like always – but now in really important games.”

Klopp is well aware of the rivalry between the two clubs and cities but his quip about Manchester when talking about his preparations for Sunday’s final was probably not meant as a dig at their north-west neighbours.

“I should not talk here about tactics – I think even in Manchester they have televisions so that is not for the press conference,” he said to laughter from the assembled media, who read far more into the German’s comment than he probably realised.

Source: PA

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 Posted by at 10:53 am
Feb 252016

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was frustrated at the number of missed chances but satisfied with the 1-0 win over Augsburg which saw his side progress to the last 16 of the Europa League.

James Milner’s fifth-minute penalty proved decisive as, even though they dominated, the hosts could not put the game to bed after a string of good saves from goalkeeper Marwin Hitz and as a result endured a nervous final 15 minutes.

“If you can’t decide the game early enough that is how it is,” he said.

“After 70 minutes we were that good that we couldn’t see their plan and the free-kick was the biggest challenge up front for us.

“It was absolutely deserved. We were the better team, we created chances but we had one problem in that we didn’t use them.

“We couldn’t control the game in the last 20 minutes and it was hard, that is how it should be, but we are in the next round.

“After the game with a 1-0 I am completely fine as I know there are no injuries.”

That last point, the fact the likes of Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho emerged unscathed, was important with the Capital One Cup final against Manchester City looming on Sunday.

Sturridge, starting a third consecutive match for the first time since last March, played 65 minutes and Coutinho 80 and both should be fit for the Wembley showpiece.

“It is important, this is what every player will tell you, that you need to know you can carry on in a situation when it is harder,” Klopp added.

“Phil had one or two situations after challenges but we need to find new faith or trust in the body of the players.

“They (Sturridge and Coutinho) are very important for us but we need them in their best shape and you can only get this from training and matches.”

On the effect the result will have on the players ahead of the final, Klopp said: “It is better than if we had had a defeat or been knocked out.

“It is not relevant to Sunday but the team has benefited from a good performance – but you could say the same about City in Kiev last night (where they won 3-1 in the Champions League).

“We will try our damnedest to get a good performance on Sunday.”

Augsburg coach Markus Weinzierl felt the penalty award was harsh but was proud of his players.

“I think we were a little unlucky with the penalty but we kept it going right till the end and that says a lot for our team and I am very proud of the players and the club,” he said.

“We have seen over the whole campaign we have performed well and can be proud of that.”

On Hitz’s performance he added: “His saves kept us in the game. He has been doing that for the past few months.”

Source: PA

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 Posted by at 8:23 pm