Rodgers focused on helping Suarez

first_img He added “As managers we look after the technical and physical side but the wellness and mental side of players can sometimes get overlooked. “It is a very important aspect of modern life and he will have all the help in order to improve and make that behaviour not happen again.” Rodgers denied Suarez had a serious mental flaw in his make-up – even though the player had no explanation for his actions last weekend. “In modern life, whether you are a footballer, plumber, joiner, bricklayer, work in a warehouse, you are not immune to issues and problems,” he added. “All we are saying is that whatever the behaviour issue is we will do everything we can to support that person and that person is now Luis Suarez. “I asked Luis what was he thinking and he couldn’t answer it. This is just an impulsive, inherent thing which came at that moment. “The world-class talent he is, which has wowed many people with his breathtaking qualities this year, there is that little wire in his brain which sometimes makes him act differently and that is what we are trying to help make sure doesn’t happen again.” Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers is focusing on Luis Suarez’s rehabilitation while the club decide whether to appeal against his 10-match ban for biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic. Reds officials, who received the written report of the independent disciplinary panel, have until midday today to opt to contest a punishment Rodgers described as “severe”. The Northern Irishman, speaking before the report arrived, was also critical of the intent to punish and not re-educate in the panel’s ruling. That is something the club will address with the help of renowned sports psychologist Dr Steve Peters, who has been working one day at the club’s Melwood training ground most of the season. Rodgers said: “That is something which remains in confidence and private to ourselves but we will be able to put in place the various needs in order for him to get that help,” center_img Press Associationlast_img read more

Light leads the way

first_img Press Association Leading Light looked appropriately named in winning the Curragh’s Airlie Stud Gallinule Stakes for Aidan and Joseph O’Brien. Given a positive ride from the front, it looked like the Montjeu colt might be swamped by Little White Cloud at the two-furlong pole. But O’Brien had saved plenty and the heavily-backed 4-6 favourite picked up again, in the end running out a cosy two and a quarter length winner from the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial third Little White Cloud. center_img The winning trainer said: “He’s a lazy horse. He doesn’t mind going along in front and there’s always plenty there when you want it. “He has plenty of pace and he’s able to get a position. He’s a very straight-forward Montjeu – he can get a position early, travel along and he can be tough at the end. “He’s lazy that’s why he wears the cheek-pieces. It helps him from being too lazy early on. “He’s a possible for Ascot or the Irish Derby. He wouldn’t mind 10 furlongs, a mile and a half or even two miles – I don’t think it matters to him.” last_img read more

United already formidable – Moyes

first_imgDavid Moyes is adamant Manchester United will be a major force this season even if he does not make the additions he is looking for. United’s pursuit of Cesc Fabregas appears to have stalled, meaning they will head back to England at their end of their five-match tour of the Far East and Australia without strengthening as so many anticipated. Links to Everton duo Leighton Baines and Maroune Fellaini continue to be made, and having already stated he needs more bodies in midfield the latter man in particular seems certain to be of interest. Yet Sir Bobby Charlton is confident Rooney will remain where he is beyond the September 2 transfer deadline and could still get the 52 goals he needs to match his own club scoring record. “Wayne Rooney is a Manchester United player and I think that he will continue to be a Manchester United player,” said Charlton, who was speaking during a visit to the Laureus-supported Operation Breakthrough project. “We are not silly enough to make any rash decisions. “I don’t like losing really good players and he is a really, really good player. “I was hoping one day that he might score as many goals as I had and that would have been really nice if it was at our club. I’m still thinking that way.” Moyes has confirmed skipper Nemanja Vidic will face Crewe in a pre-season friendly at Gresty Road this evening. Yet Moyes has reminded worried United fans that their team are defending Premier League champions. And with the club slapping a ‘not for sale’ sign around Wayne Rooney, other than the retired Paul Scholes, Moyes has all the players responsible for that triumph available to him. “The squad Manchester United has, without any additions, will be tough opponents for any team this year,” he said. “That is the squad that finished 11 points clear in the Premier League. I am confident in that squad.” Speaking ahead of the final tour game against local Hong Kong outfit Kitchee FC, Moyes is relishing the campaign that lies ahead. Yet talk continues to be dominated by the pursuit of Fabregas and Rooney’s status at United. More may become clear with the Fabregas situation when he returns to training with Barcelona amid speculation he will restate his desire to remain at the Nou Camp. There have been no such assurances from Rooney, who is said to be wary of the influence Sir Alex Ferguson still has at Old Trafford and the Scot’s negative opinion of him. Press Associationlast_img read more

Suarez commits future to Reds

first_img Liverpool had to fend off interest from Arsenal in the summer, who had a bid of £40,000,001 rejected, but their determination to keep Suarez has paid off with the Reds now second in the Premier League and the Uruguayan the leading scorer in the top flight with 17 goals, four ahead of his nearest rival Sergio Aguero of Manchester City. The club’s principal owner John W Henry said: “We are committed to working hard to keep our best players and this is an indication that we are moving in the right direction and moving at a pace that impresses one of the best players in world football. “The club has made major strides forward in recent years and we are all committed to delivering the success our supporters want and deserve.” Liverpool chairman Tom Werner added: “This demonstrates our commitment, as an ownership group, to building a team that competes at the highest level both in the Barclays Premier League and in Europe. “Our primary motive is to do what is best for Liverpool Football Club and today’s news is another significant step forward on this journey.” The 26-year-old Uruguayan has signed a deal believed to be worth £200,000 a week and although Liverpool did not specify the length of the contract it is understood it is an extension that will keep him at Anfield until 2018. Suarez has been in stunning form since returning from a lengthy suspension for biting that kept him sidelined until October, since when he has raced away in the Premier League’s scoring charts to become arguably the most in-demand striker in world football. The decision to sign a new deal follows a turbulent summer in which he suggested the club had reneged on an agreement to sell him if they failed to qualify for the Champions League. Suarez told the club’s official website “Without doubt the backing I have received from the Liverpool fans has influenced my decision. I am so proud to represent them and go out to do my best for them every time I pull on the shirt. “We have some great players and the team is growing and improving all the time. I believe I can achieve the ambitions of winning trophies and playing at the very highest level with Liverpool. My aim is to help get us there as quickly as possible.” Suarez’s spell at Anfield has often been a controversial one after being handed two long-term bans, one for racially abusing Manchester United’s Patrice Evra and last season for biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic, but the club has stood by him through thick and thin. Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers insisted Suarez had yet to reach his peak. He added: “This is fantastic news for everyone associated with the club; the team, the owners and most importantly the supporters. “Luis is a world-class talent and securing his services is crucial for what we are trying to achieve here. “What’s most important and most exciting is that, at just 26 years old, his best years are still ahead of him and we now know we’ll be seeing him reach that potential in a Liverpool shirt.” Luis Suarez has signalled his commitment to Liverpool by signing a new long-term contract to end speculation of a January move to a club involved in the Champions League. Press Associationlast_img read more

Rodgers draws line under ref row

first_imgLiverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has no regrets over his comments about referee Lee Mason but backed away from the argument to avoid further distraction to his side’s top-four push. The Reds boss was fined £8,000 after accepting a Football Association charge for questioning the integrity of a referee following the Boxing Day defeat at Manchester City. Rodgers argued a referee from the Greater Manchester area – Mason is from Bolton – should not have been appointed to a game involving a Manchester team. However, with his fourth-placed team challenging for a return to the Champions League, the Northern Irishman decided not to take the matter further. “My view hasn’t changed. I obviously accept the punishment but I’m not one who is the enemy to the officials,” he said. “My history will show that, I have always supported and encouraged them. “I was disappointed after the game, disappointed with the outcome (the fine) considering my history but all I was doing was speaking honestly and in no way was I questioning the integrity of the referee. “I was just talking about the logic and facts about other appointments would prove that true I am sure. “But it is gone. The only reason I never challenged it was because I didn’t want anything getting in the way of what we are trying to do here. “It would just prolong it and be something else to talk about when all I want is for us to talk about is our football.” center_img Press Associationlast_img read more

Lim blasts Cornelius transfer

first_img “There has been a lot of press speculation on the loss incurred by the club due to sales. This unfortunately is true. “We took the hard decision to incur these losses for the good of the club. “To commit the club to a significant cost and liability over a five year contract for one player is not prudent, especially as he was not to contribute to our success now, but was for the future.” League Managers Association chief executive Richard Bevan leapt to Mackay’s defence, branding Lim and Cardiff’s statement “inappropriate and unprofessional”. Bevan urged for caution during an ongoing legal process between Cardiff and Mackay, surrounding compensation and his departure from the club. “It is most unfortunate that Mr Lim has chosen to speak out in this way,” said Bevan. “Mr Lim is aware that there is a legal process under way between Malky Mackay and Cardiff City and it is both inappropriate and unprofessional for either party to be making public statements of this nature at this time. “Given that Mr Lim has spoken out against Malky Mackay in relation to the acquisition of a player, however, it is only right that the record is put straight on the following two key issues. “This is the same Mr Lim to whom, under the specific and express terms of Malky Mackay’s contract of employment with Cardiff City, Malky was obliged to report in respect of all matters pertaining to the transfer of players. “This is the same Mr Lim who, when being asked more than once, upon dismissing Malky Mackay, why he was dismissing him, said that he did not know the reason. “All football clubs at the elite level have systems in place for corporate governance. “Cardiff City is no exception. “A manager, even in the Premier League, does not go out and “sign” players. “All recommendations go to his CEO and board, essentially the Chief Executive on the board’s behalf – deals with all financial arrangements to finalise any signings.” Cardiff chief executive Simon Lim criticised the transfer policies of former manager Malky Mackay and Iain Moody, the ex-head of recruitment, in a statement released on Thursday. Lim confirmed the club effectively wrote off nearly £9million over Danish striker Cornelius, who has returned to FC Copenhagen after just seven months in Wales. Cardiff have claimed that “imprudent and careless management” has cost them “in excess” of £8.5million over their signing of unsuccessful striker Andreas Cornelius. Club-record signing Cornelius failed to score in his doomed South Wales stint, and now Cardiff bosses have singled out his disastrous transfer. “The key shareholders have made their dissatisfaction of such a huge loss known to the board of directors which they believe is due to imprudent and careless management undertaken by the previous football management,” Lim said in the statement. Cardiff’s chief executive also praised new manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s work in the January transfer window, another veiled swipe at former boss Mackay. “Our shareholders have expressed their support and pleasure to the new management team,” the statement reads. “Tan Sri Vincent Tan, through the board of directors and with their support, is ‘encouraged by the work done by manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in the January transfer window.’ “Solskjaer was instrumental in attracting top professionals who have the experience and the willpower to make an immediate impact in the club’s desire to maintain its Premier League status.” Lim confirmed through the statement that Cardiff spent £6million on six permanent January recruits and the loan deal for Wilfried Zaha, and recouped £3million from player sales in the same period. “This is good business for the club, where all participants were fully informed and an integral part of a process,” said Lim. Press Associationlast_img read more

Scarlets strike back in Munster win

first_imgScarlets held on to claim an 18-13 RaboDirect Pro12 victory over leaders Munster, who were denied an unprecedented clean sweep of victories over the four Welsh regions. It all went Scarlets’ way straight after the break. Keatley missed a second minute penalty, while Aled Thomas was on target with his own penalty before Barclay ran in 60 metres after picking off scrum-half Duncan Williams’ pass from a line-out. But for much of the rest of the half the Scarlets were under the cosh especially when Josh Turnbull was sin-binned for a careless use of the boot. Van den Heever thought he had a second try on 68 minutes but it was disallowed for an earlier knock-on by Williams at a ruck. The match saw British & Irish Lions centre Jonathan Davies return for the Scarlets giving him an opportunity to prove his fitness ahead of Wales’ RBS 6 Nations clash with England at Twickenham next Sunday. Davies was back after recovering from a pectoral injury in Wales’ defeat to South Africa last November. He partnered former England international Olly Barkley in midfield. Leaders Munster, who had won all their previous seven games against the four regions, made eight changes from the side that beat the Ospreys last weekend. Despite having most of the territory and possession in the first period, Scarlets found themselves frustratingly 13-8 behind at the break. Munster had to soak up attack after attack in the opening quarter but the Scarlets had to settle for a 3-3 scoreline with Barkley and Ian Keatley having swapped penalties in the space of two minutes. For all their intense pressure Scarlets were eventually rewarded with a try when scrum-half Gareth Davies scampered in after breaking down the blindside from a maul. But all the hard work from the Welsh region was undone in the space of five minutes before half-time when a dropped pass by Barkley in midfield allowed Van den Heever to run in unopposed. And on the stroke of half-time, a Scarlets infringement at a ruck allowed Keatley to kick a penalty to give the visitors a five-point cushion going in to the second half. The Munstermen had to settle for a losing bonus point which stretched their lead to three points over Leinster. A try apiece from scrum-half Gareth Davies and flanker John Barclay were the back bone of the victory at Parc y Scarlets with Munster’s only try coming from wing Gerhard van den Heever. Press Associationlast_img read more

Rodgers expects big midfield battle

first_imgLiverpool manager Brendan Rodgers demands his side should always dominate in midfield and has warned that will be more crucial than ever when title rivals Manchester City visit on Sunday. “Midfield is always a key battleground, it’s the jungle of the pitch,” he said. “They have a world-class player in Yaya Toure. I’ve seen him a lot since he came to this country – he has been a real attacking force for them. “Before that at Barcelona he played as a holding player and at centre-half in some games. He is a player of immense quality. “Fernandinho has come in and been a real rock for them and they’ve dropped David Silva into that number 10 role and he is one of the best in the world. “We will look forward to that battle in there, it is an area where we look to dominate in a lot of our games and I am sure it will be contested competitively. “We will play with no fear because that is the way we know how to play football.” Reds fans have mobilised themselves again in preparation and will line Anfield Road in their numbers armed with flags and banners to welcome the team coach before kick-off, and Rodgers issued what sounded like a rallying cry to those troops. “We will unleash the supporters this weekend yet again on the opponent,” he said. The Reds’ pressing and passing, with Steven Gerrard playing a holding role, has been a key to their success this season. But against City they will come up against one of finest midfields in the top flight, and Rodgers knows whoever comes out on top in that area is likely to do so in the game. “Anfield is a special place to play football and a difficult place for teams to come and play. “I sense a real nostalgia about the place, the feel of the old Liverpool, and we will always respect that and it is important it drives us forward in the future.” Despite being top of the table, Rodgers has played down their title chances, but even he could not dismiss Sunday’s encounter as just another game – although he does not believe it will be defining in the race for the championship. “It is a significant game, there is no doubt about that,” he added. “It is two teams who have done extremely well this season in their own different ways but there is still a lot of work to do. “Our focus is on the three points because at the end of the day that is all that comes out of the game – even after this game there are still 12 points to play for. “I am sleeping very well but I’ve not dreamt of lifting the title. “Our objective remains to qualify for the Champions League, only then can we think of other things. Once we’ve cleared that hurdle we can look at other objectives.” Press Associationlast_img read more

Coetzee celebrates in style

first_img Coetzee, a Liverpool FC fan, turned 28 on Friday and gave himself the best possible present with a round which catapulted him up the leaderboard to sit just one stroke behind overnight leader Rory McIlroy. With the breeze continuing to blow Coetzee put himself in a good position as few players in the morning groups were able to make an impression. South African George Coetzee showed what could be done despite the windy conditions at Royal Liverpool as he celebrated his birthday in style with a round of 69. Press Association He began the day at two under and went to the turn in level par 35 but had five birdies coming home – including three in succession from the 12th – to ensure a bogey at 17 did not put a dampener on his day. “This is probably, definitely my favourite major. It’s always going to be my birthday week,” he said. “It’s nice to play well, obviously, in a very prestigious event and to have my birthday coincide with it is also nice. “It was quite a good feeling to look at my name and be at the top of the leaderboard.” “Obviously six under was a hell of a score yesterday (by McIlroy) and I didn’t think it was doable today to get to that number. “But when I made birdie on the 13th I was like, ‘Well, all right, now I’m pretty close.'” Sweden’s Robert Karlsson and American Brooks Koepka grabbed early birdies to move to four under but some of the bigger names struggled to get going. Defending champion Phil Mickelson was one over through 14 holes having had an eagle, a birdie and two bogeys. World number one Adam Scott, probably McIlroy’s main challenger on the first page of the leaderboard, dropped back to two under after a couple of early errors while playing partner Justin Rose finally got his round going around the turn. The Englishman, targeting victory in a third successive tournament, holed from short of the ninth green for birdie and then chipped in at the 10th for an eagle to move up to two under. McIlroy, not due to tee off until 2.27pm, is bidding to become only the third player to win three majors by the age of 25 to follow in the footsteps of Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods, who goes out 22 minutes ahead of the Northern Irishman. last_img read more

Give Balotelli time, urges Rodgers

first_imgLiverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has admitted summer signing Mario Balotelli will never match Luis Suarez’s Anfield impact. Rodgers backed the Italy striker to shrug off ”unfair” criticism and end his six-game Premier League drought however, despite Balotelli missing another glorious chance in Sunday’s 3-2 win at QPR. The Liverpool boss said Balotelli’s early Reds career has been blighted by comparisons with Uruguay forward Suarez, who completed a summer transfer to Barcelona. The former Swansea manager bristled at suggestions Balotelli could have missed another sitter if Steven Caulker had not scored the decisive own goal. ”Wow, that’s being very unfair: an open goal, from six yards?” said Rodgers when quizzed if Balotelli would have converted the tap-in from Raheem Sterling’s cross. ”Well okay, that’s harsh. It’ll drop for the boy. ”The most important thing for me is his work, the guy’s doing his best; he’s working really hard. ”It’s just not dropping for him at the moment, but I would have said he would have finished that, if young Steven Caulker had not turned it in. ”The criticism of him has been unfair, yes. ”And that’s because he’s probably seen as the direct replacement for Luis, and as I said before, Luis was irreplaceable and a real world-class talent. ”And that’s not what’s being asked of Mario. He’s not going to be what Luis was. ”Mario’s come into here, everyone knows him and they’ve seen him over his career, he’s a great boy, and I’ve really enjoyed working with him. ”He wants to improve and be better, but it’s not going to happen overnight.” Liverpool sneaked to victory in west London courtesy of own goals from Caulker and Richard Dunne, plus a deflected effort from Philippe Coutinho. Eduardo Vargas twice equalised at the death for the impressive hosts, only for Sterling to force Caulker’s own goal and keep QPR at the bottom of the Premier League. Suarez’s 31 goals propelled Liverpool’s title challenge last term, before the controversial forward bit Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup. The lengthy ban that followed allowed him to push through his craved Barcelona move, and the 27-year-old is only now gearing up for his club debut against chief rivals Real Madrid this weekend. Rodgers admitted Liverpool built their entire game plan around Suarez’s talents and, with Daniel Sturridge sidelined for another month, that has to change. Rodgers backed £16million AC Milan recruit Balotelli to emerge stronger after his slump, once Liverpool successfully shift their team ”dynamic”. ”He’s not going to be what Suarez was: he’s a totally different type of player,” said Rodgers. ”Luis played on the shoulder, we freed up the team for him for a couple of years to exploit his qualities. ”Now we have to have a different dynamic and type of game, but (Balotelli) has got qualities, and he’s really focused on making sure that he’s concentrating on preparing himself to train and play. ”And then eventually the goals will come for him.” Press Associationlast_img read more