Qatar 2022: Adamu In Bribery Allegation

amos adamuThe paper wrote, “FIFA’s top investigator has been called in to examine evidence that the winners of the right to host the 2022 World Cup secretly offered $1m (£630,000) to the son of one of the voters. Documents passed to FIFA by The Sunday Times show the Qatar bid team offered the cash to Samson Adamu, 26, the son of Amos Adamu, the FIFA executive committee (exco) member. The money was to fund a dinner and workshop on the eve of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, though it cost a fraction of the sum offered.

“The deal was brokered by Ali al-Thawadi, the deputy chief executive of the Qatar bid, months before the contest in December 2010 to host the 2022 World Cup. He (Ali) denied knowledge of the offer when contacted last week. However, after being presented with our evidence, Qatar 2022 lawyers accepted there had been discussions and a contract had been drawn up, but said the team had later backed out of the deal after considering the “relevant FIFA rules”.

The PUNCH spoke with Samson Adamu in a telephone interview on Sunday and he denied the allegation.

He said, “That event they talked about is of public knowledge; it was no secret. In any case, I’ve not read the publication you are talking about but all I can say is that I had no underhand dealing with anybody associated with Qatar 2022 World Cup bid. It’s all falsehood.”

The Times report adds, “Secret documents seen by The Sunday Times show that Samson had been offered $1m to arrange the dinner by the Qatar committee competing to host the 2022 World Cup, months before his father was due to vote on which bidder should be allowed to hold the tournament. Amos Adamu was one of 24 members of the FIFA executive committee (exco) which decides where the World Cup is to be held.

“This newspaper (Times) has uncovered an extensive paper trail which shows how Qatar offered to pay Adamu’s son the seven-figure sum to host a dinner and workshop. In the end this cost about a fifth of the amount on the table. The funding of the glittering dinner remains shrouded in mystery. Invoices seen by this newspaper indicate that the event, called the African Legends’ gala dinner, cost about $220,000, a sum apparently way beyond the means of Samson’s company which had been set up months before with only £4,000 in share capital. Qatar says it had no financial involvement, no other sponsors were publicly linked to the dinner and guests were not charged for their tickets.

“The evidence that the Gulf state had secretly offered Adamu’s son a vastly inflated sum to host the African Legends’ dinner has emerged in emails and documents passed to The Sunday Times by a source working for a powerful figure in world football. The emails show how the plan for Qatar to pay Samson to host a football dinner was hatched between the young entrepreneur and Thawadi. The document states that Qatar agreed to pay Samson’s company “a fee of US$1,000,000 (One million United States Dollars)” for “sponsorship rights” of the dinner to be held in June 2010.

“The next step was to get the elders of African football on side. Samson lobbied the CAF executive to get behind the dinner at a meeting in Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo, on February 20. Samson then arranged a meeting with the Qataris at the Intercontinental hotel in London on March 4 to finalise the agreement. His Swiss lawyer, Daniel Magerle, was to fly over with him. Emails show Magerle had offered to assist Samson by setting up a Swiss association and a bank account which could be used to channel the payment for the legends’ dinner.

“Magerle encountered a snag, however. UBS, the Swiss bank, refused to open an account “as Swiss banks are very sensitive these days and international pressure has increased on certain matters”. He quickly offered a solution: Samson could ask for the cash to be paid into his own client account,” the Times report stated.

The account continues, When approached last week, the lawyer initially refused to comment. But after speaking to Samson he came back to say the meeting never took place because the deal had fallen through. Nor had he gone ahead with the plan to set up a Swiss association. Magerle said he did not know why the deal had broken down or how the dinner had been financed, but he assumed Samson had found some other source of ready cash.

“A prominent African journalist said Amos Adamu had approached him in March to ask for help in finding former football stars to honour at his son’s dinner. The dinner, held on July 8, was attended by eminent football figures including David Dein, the former Arsenal chairman, and Lennart Johansson, the former UEFA president.

“The members of the CAF executive committee kept their promise to “grace” the event with their presence, as did about six FIFA exco members. Around 20 famous African footballers, including Kalusha Bwalya. The guests were welcomed by Issa Hayatou, the president of CAF, and Kirsten Nematandani, president of the South African FA,” the Sunday report alleged.

“ It is not clear whether any of the powerful figures who attended ever knew of Qatar’s planned involvement, but there was a distinct air of discomfort when this newspaper raised questions about the dinner’s funding.”

Culled from NaiJ

‘Arsenal Must Beat Montpellier’

With two games left to play in Group B, the north London outfit are one point behind leaders Schalke and one ahead of third-placed Olympiakos, with the Welshman looking to beat the already-eliminated French side at home in the hope of taking first spot.

aaron-ramsey“The group is pretty tight, so I think you can say we have to win that game,” he told the club’s official website. “We are at home, so hopefully we can do that and put ourselves in a strong position to qualify.

“When we played them in France we were under pressure for periods of the game and we did well to get a result.

“They have competed against every team in the group and shown that they can create and can be a threat, so they will be no pushover. They will want to prove something as well. We have to be aware of that and be on top of our game on the day.”

Ramsey is keen for Arsenal to top their group, as such giving them a better chance of avoiding one of the bigger teams in the next round, though qualification is the primary aim.

“Finishing second has been quite costly in the last few years,” he said. “We finished second in the group a couple of seasons ago and played Barcelona .

“So you know you’re going to have a strong team if you do finish second but, most importantly, we need to qualify and, if we do, we’re confident that we can compete and challenge against any team in the competition. But we must qualify first and then go from there.”
Culled From :NAIJ

Hamilton beats Vettel in Texas

The Formula One title battle between Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso will go down to the wire in Brazil after McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton won the US Grand Prix on Sunday.

Championship leader Vettel finished second after starting his 100th career F1 race on pole position while Alonso remained in contention with third place and is now 13 points adrift of the German with one race left.

While Vettel was denied a third straight title, Red Bull were able to celebrate the constructors’ title – becoming only the fourth team in the 62 year history of the sport to take the championship three years in a row.

“It’s incredible, something that everyone throughout the team has worked incredibly hard for and to have achieved it is something…I’m speechless really,” said team principal Christian Horner.

Thrilling finale

Vettel need finish only fourth in the Sao Paulo finale to take the title but the weather at Interlagos can be fickle and the wily and consistent Alonso cannot be ruled out for what would also be his third title.

“The race unfortunately hinged on one backmarker who didn’t use his mirrors, that was the difference,” said Horner after Hamilton passed Vettel for the lead on lap 42 after the German had lost time behind Indian Narain Karthikeyan’s HRT.

“There was nothing between the two of them today. They were trading times all afternoon and it was that one backmarker that cost us.

“But congratulations to Lewis, he’s obviously had bad luck at other races and it was important to finish ahead of Fernando,” said Horner.

Hamilton, winner of the last US Grand Prix staged in the United States five years ago, had been second at the start with Alonso lining up seventh.

The Spaniard would have started eighth but Brazilian Felipe Massa took a five-place penalty to move his Ferrari team mate to the clean side of the grid.

Warm welcome

“A first-time winner. I’m so happy,” beamed Hamilton, interviewed by US Formula One great Mario Andretti on the podium, of picking up where he left at Indianapolis in 2007 by winning the first race at the new Circuit of the Americas.

“It was such a warm welcome and one of the best, if not the best, race of the year – especially for me and the team,” added the 2008 champion, wearing a cowboy hat on the podium, who is moving to Mercedes at the end of the season.

“It’s been a long time since we had a win. I’m so proud of the team and grateful for the support we’ve had.”

While Vettel and Red Bull team mate Mark Webber got away quickly, Alonso made his move and was fourth after the first corner.

The Spaniard was gifted another spot on lap 17 when Webber retired with an alternator problem in a worrying development for Red Bull.

Needing to finish fourth or better to keep Vettel from clinching the title if the German won the race, Alonso kept his Ferrari near the top of the leader board for the entire race while Massa finished fourth.

Hamilton’s team mate Jenson Button was fifth after an outstanding drive while Kimi Raikkonen, winner in Abu Dhabi two weeks’ earlier, was sixth for Lotus.

Culled from Aljazeera

Rodgers: No major signings for Liverpool in January

The Anfield boss says it is unlikely there will be many changes at the club in mid-season, but admits that he is eager to add some striking competition to his squad

The Reds have just one fit senior forward at the club in the shape of star man Luis Suarez, having lost Fabio Borini to a foot injury and letting Andy Carroll move on loan to West Ham, and the former Swansea boss admits his lack of options will force him into the market.

However, the former Swansea manager is realistic about his budget at Anfield, and knows it will not be easy to bring in top quality in the middle of the season.

“The reality is that there was always going to be a bit of movement this season with the club trying to regain some of their money,” the Northern Irishman told reporters. “This season was always going to be difficult.

“We’ll look to do something in the January transfer window, though. There’s not going to be wholesale changes in terms of players coming in, that’s the reality of where the club is at.

“We’re looking to grow over the next six months, we’ll get some reinforcements in January and that will support the group who have been magnificent for me so far.

“Hopefully in the summer we can build again.”

Rodgers spent a large part of the summer clearing his squad of the signings made by previous managers on Merseyside, with the likes of Charlie Adam, Dirk Kuyt and Maxi Rodriquez all leaving Anfield.

Fringe players at Anfield such as Stewart Downing, Jordan Henderson and Joe Cole may be among those moved on to create room for new faces at the club in the New Year.

Culled from

Czech Republic win Davis Cup

The Czech Republic won the Davis Cup after Radek Stepanek stunned Spain’s Nicolas Almagro in the decisive rubber of the 100th final here on Sunday.

Stepanek, the world number 37, beat 11th-ranked Almagro 6-4, 7-6 (7/0), 3-6, 6-3 in three hours and 52 minutes in a clash of the teams’ number-two players on the hardcourt of Prague’s O2 Arena.

The Czech Republic lifted their first Davis Cup since gaining independence following a 1993 split with Slovakia. The former Czechoslovakia won the trophy in 1980.

The victory has also handed the Czechs a rare team double after their women lifted the Fed Cup here two weeks ago – a feat last achieved by the United States in 1990.

“It’s amazing, we’ve written history here in our country,” a jubilant Stepanek said after the game.

“I cannot describe what I’m feeling right now,” added the 33-year-old.

“There are no words to say. Indescribable. This is the best thing that can be,” said Tomas Berdych, his teammate.

Rowsing support

In Sunday’s key rubber, a wild home crowd of more than 14,000 fans was all that Stepanek needed to shake off the fatigue from Friday’s singles and Saturday’s doubles.

His game against a rested Almagro went with serve until Stepanek capitalised on a single set point to break the Spaniard for a 6-4 win in the first set.

“I came on the court with a mindset that I have to stay calm, hungry, motivated, concentrated, and always know what I’m doing. And that’s what I did,” Stepanek said.

The crowd got even louder as Stepanek, combining patience with aggressiveness, pulled off a series of winning volleys as he came back from 4-2 down in the second set.

He failed to convert four set points but then thrashed Almagro 7-0 in the tiebreak.

“I played very aggressive today, I didn’t want to leave anything behind, I wanted to be the one who is active, who is controlling the game,” Stepanek said.

Almagro fought back and held on to his serve to take the third set.

But Stepanek, red hot and propelled by the crowd, refused to bow and took the fourth and decisive set after breaking Almagro’s serve once again.

Ferrer win

In Sunday’s first match, Spain’s David Ferrer beat Berdych in straight sets.

Ferrer, the world number five, needed just two hours and 25 minutes to see off sixth-ranked Berdych 6-2, 6-3, 7-5.

The 27-year-old Berdych got off to a slow start, losing his opening service game in the first set and then another to let Ferrer, 30, move ahead without too much trouble.

“I played very focused, very aggressive, I started really good and maybe that was the key,” Ferrer said, praising his first serve and forehand.

Ferrer broke Berdych’s serve early in the second set for a 3-0 lead that prompted Berdych to take a bathroom break.

But even that did not help – Berdych was flat and allowed Ferrer to gain the upper hand in long exchanges and finally take the second and third sets too.”It’s very difficult to beat Tomas in three sets but I played one of the best matches of my career in Davis Cup,” said Ferrer.

Berdych said he was upset he had failed to decide the tie.

“In Davis Cup this year, I have lost only one rubber and it was the last one,” he said.

“Ferrer played an excellent game and I was always way behind him,” Berdych added.

On Friday, Ferrer beat Stepanek 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 and Berdych then put the Czechs level after beating Almagro 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-7 (5/7), 6-3.

In Saturday’s doubles rubber, Berdych and Stepanek beat Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez 3-6, 7-5, 7-5, 6-3 for their 12th victory in Davis Cup doubles against a single loss.

Spain, who had won the Davis Cup three times in the past five years, were missing world number four Rafael Nadal, who is recovering from a knee injury.

Culled from Aljazeera

Nigeria’s Eaglets beat Mali’s Junior Eagles

Nigeria’s U-17 national team, the Golden Eaglets, on Sunday beat the Junior Eagles of Mali 2-0 in the first leg final Qualifier for the 2013 African Junior Championship at the U.J. Esuene Stadium, Calabar.

The Manu Garba-tutored team took the lead in the 26th-minute of the game through a perfectly headed cross by Wilfred Ndidi in Jersy number 5.

The goal boosted the confidence of the team as they took control of the match to end the first half at 1-0.

The Eaglets came back better in the second half but poor finishing robbed them of goals.

However, Alhassan Ibrahim made it two in the 83rd minute of the game.

Speaking to newsmen after the match, Garba said the team was unlucky, adding that he would work on the scoring ability of the team. “We will re-strategise before the second leg in Bamako.”

He said that his boys controlled the game but missed several scoring chances.

On his part, the Malian coach, Sanni Coulibaly, said that his boys played well. “They lost to ill-luck; I wish Nigeria goodluck, he said through an interpreter.
The second leg comes up in two weeks in Bamako.

Meanwhile, former Super Eagle’s skipper Nwankwo Kanu described the boys as a “bunch of talented players”, adding that they would improve with time. “I believe in them; I trust the team and I know what the coach is able to do,’’ Kanu said, adding that Nigerians should support the team.

Culled from PM NEws

Eaglets edge Mali U17s

EagletsNigeria’s Golden Eaglets defeated their Malian counterparts in an Under17 African Championship by 2-0 at the UJ Esuene in Calabar on Sunday.

The Nigerians, learned, played the first leg of the the final round of the qualifying under protest that the Malians looked too old for Under17s.

The Eaglets for the first time found a tough opponent in the Malians who kept possession well.

The hosts found it difficult to settle down in the early periods of the match as the Malians used their physique to their advantage.

Mali’s Under17s resorted to aerial balls and for the first time in more than 360 minutes, Nigeria’s goalkeeper, Adeyinka Adewale was made to work.

But it was the impressive Wilfred Ndidi who put Nigeria in front on 24 minutes with a headed goal from a corner kick.

Kelechi Iheanacho then came close to making it two for Nigeria just past the half hour mark but his attempt fizzled wide.

In the restart, Bernard Bulbwa was guilty of missing twice from goalscoring positions in quick succession as Nigeria continued to press for a second goal.

The Nigerians finally cracked open Mali’s defence with seven minutes left in the business end of the game for their second goal through Alhassan Ibrahim who benefited from a rebound after good work from Success Isaac.

It was the first time that the Nigerians will score less than three goals in a match in the CAN Under17 qualifying after defeating Guinea 7-0 and Niger Republic 10-1, both on aggregate, in previous rounds.

Mali will play hosts to Nigeria in Bamako in a fortnight with the winners of the two-legged game qualifying for the championship in Morocco next year.

culled from Supersport

Bright Dike wants permanent Eagles shirt

NEWLY capped Super Eagles player Bright Dike has indicated his desire to maintain a permanent shirt in the team.

Dike made his debut for Nigeria in an international friendly that saw the coach Stephen Keshi side defeat Venezuela 3-1 in Miami, USA.

Bright Dike, the Portland Timbers of USA striker said he is ready for Eagles when called upon.

“I will like to keep playing in the Super Eagles. It was a great experience the first time, Dike said on a sports programme monitored by in Lagos.

“I’m ready to respond and give my best whenever I’m called upon to do so,” he added.

Meanwhile, coach Stephen Keshi has said the power playing forward has a future with the national team.

“He’s quick, aggressive and always coming back to defend and it was difficult for anyone to say this was the first time he was playing for Nigeria.

“I’m so happy that Bright did not disappoint and we will see when camp opens what he can do for the team,” Keshi concluded.

Culled from The Nation

Ferguson: Ronaldo now ‘unbuyable’

Sir Alex Ferguson believes former Manchester United forward Cristiano Ronaldo is now “unbuyable”, but admits he maintains hope he will one day return to Old Trafford.
Ronaldo left United for Real Madrid in 2009 in a deal worth £80 million, and has since scored a remarkable 165 goals in 162 appearances.

Following United’s shock 1-0 loss to Norwich, Ferguson admitted he wished he still had Ronaldo to call on, claiming the reigning La Liga champions got a bargain price.

“I’d like to think it would be [possible to get Ronaldo back], but I don’t think it will be. You’re talking about incredible amounts of money now,” Ferguson said.

“What would you think his value would be? He’s definitely unbuyable. Who could afford to buy him?

“He was definitely good value for Madrid, but he always wanted to play for them. It was his boyhood dream. I’m not saying he’ll stay there forever, you never know. How do you know we’ve not got a buy-back clause for him?”

During his six seasons at United, Ronaldo won three Premier League titles, one FA Cup and a Champions League crown. Ferguson insists his performances from 2003-2009 make him one of the club’s all-time greats.

“He’s an unbelievable player – one of the best. We have a pantheon of great players and Ronaldo definitely compares with any of them.

“Although he had a natural talent, he is in many ways manufactured himself. He practised and practised. He had a bit of the Eric Cantona about him in that way. Paul Scholes is still the same,” Ferguson concluded.

Spanish La Liga: Five-star Madrid, Messi inspires Barca

Cristiano Ronaldo drew a rare blank but Real Madrid still enjoyed a comprehensive 5-1 win over Athletic Bilbao in the Primera Division.
It was unclear whether Real’s first goal came from Karim Benzema or an own goal from the unfortunate Jon Aurtenetxe, but there was never any doubt about the result which took Jose Mourinho’s side back to within eight points of leaders Barcelona, who had seen off Real Zaragoza earlier in the evening.

Sergio Ramos made it 2-0 after 30 minutes and Benzema made absolutely sure of getting his name on the scoresheet with a superb finish soon after, while Mesut Ozil and Sami Khedira also got in on the act at the Bernabeu.

Lionel Messi had scored twice and set up a maiden Barcelona goal for Alex Song as the Catalan giants powered to a 3-1 victory over Zaragoza.

Messi took his season tally for Barcelona to 22 in all competitions with strikes in 16th and 60th minutes while he also turned provider in the 28th minute to help summer signing Song open his account for the club.

Song’s goal put Barca back in front after Zaragoza had drawn level through Paco Montanes.

Espanyol slipped to the bottom of the league after a controversial 2-1 defeat at Valencia which saw them end the game with nine men.

Jonathan Viera gave the home side the lead on 15 minutes but Samuele Longo equalised on the half-hour mark and the visitors looked like clinging on for a welcome point.

However, Hector Moreno was adjudged to have handled in the area three minutes from time and after Moreno and Sergio Garcia were sent off for protesting to the referee, Roberto Soldado drilled home the penalty.

Another 11 players were booked in an ill-tempered game which will have done little to boost Espanyol manager Mauricio Pochettino’s chances of holding onto his job.

Elsewhere, Malaga’s winless streak stretched to four games as they played out a goalless draw against resolute Osasuna at El Sadar.

EPL: United, Chelsea lose ground in title race

A rampant Manchester City moved to the top of the Premier League after Chelsea and Manchester United lost to West Brom and Norwich respectively on Saturday, as QPR were left stranded at the bottom of the table by the same margin after they lost an early season relegation battle against Southampton and Reading came from behind to defeat Everton.

After Arsenal scored five to beat Tottenham in the day’s early match, Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero then scored twice apiece as Man City repeated that feat with a 5-0 win over Aston Villa, while Luis Suarez was again instrumental as Liverpool battered Wigan and Michu and Jonathan De Guzman notched as Swansea consigned Newcastle to another defeat.

Chelsea fell four points behind the league leaders in the title race after they were beaten 2-1 by West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns.

Baggies manager Steve Clarke had spoken before the match of his side’s desire to take a major scalp at home after coming so close against Manchester City earlier in the season, and that hunger and self-confidence was evident as WBA took an early lead. They needed a bit of help from the visitors, however – Shane Long taking advantage of some slack marking from David Luiz to power a header past Petr Cech from close range.

The Blues managed to get back on level terms just before half-time – as Eden Hazard profited from a deflection off Billy Jones to see his shot deceive the previously well-positioned Boaz Myhill – but the decisive goal in the second half would go to the home side, as Peter Odemwingie got his head on a Long cross to delight the home crowd.

With 40 minutes to go in the game at that point Chelsea still had plenty of time to find an equaliser, but were denied at every turn as Juan Mata, Hazard and Daniel Sturridge could find no way through in a tense final phase of the contest.

Then, in the day’s evening match, Manchester United missed the chance to return to the top of the table after they were beaten 1-0 by Norwich City.

At a raucous Carrow Road, Anthony Pilkington’s perfectly placed second half header was too good for United, who were unable to find an equaliser in the closing stages as Jonny Howson missed a glorious chance to kill matters off.

At the bottom of the table, Mark Hughes could face a sleepless night as he sweats about his job, after watching his QPR side beaten 3-1 at home by a Southampton side in similar relegation trouble.

With both sides coming into the game 20th and 19th in the table, speculation had run high before kick-off that the losing manager could be sacked. But Southampton were clearly up for the game from the off – and took the lead early on as Rickie Lambert put his head in where it would hurt to nod home after Jason Puncheon’s shot was cleared off the line.

Puncheon – who had been the star of the show in the first half – himself then scored on the stroke of half-time to give Nigel Adkins a bit of breathing room, but only four minutes of the second half had passed before Junior Hoilett – rising highest in the penalty box to reach the header – gave Hughes’ side a glimmer of hope.

But an Anton Ferdinand own goal with seven minutes remaining extinguished any remaining hopes the Loftus Road crowd had of escaping with something from the game, leaving club owner Tony Fernandes to reflect on how adamant he really is about keeping Hughes at the helm.

QPR’s plight looks all the worse after Reading overcame an early deficit to pick up their first league win of the season with a 2-1 triumph against Everton at the Madejski Stadium.

Steven Naismith had put the Toffees ahead after ten minutes to give the hosts cause for concern, but – despite another influential performance from Marouane Fellaini – the Royals were not fazed. It took them until the second half to fight back but fight back they did, Adam Le Fondre equalising by heading home from a Nicky Shorey cross after 50 minutes, before converting from the penalty spot after being brought down by Seamus Coleman to give Brian McDermott a much-needed and keenly-celebrated victory.

At the Etihad Stadium, holders Manchester City had the referee to thank for giving them a relatively easy afternoon in a 5-0 victory over Aston Villa.

City owed a certain debt to Joe Hart for keeping them on level terms in the early part of the contest as Villa started the brighter. But they were ahead at half-time thanks to David Silva’s opportune effort – the Spaniard cleaning up after Vincent Kompany and Carlos Tevez had both made a hash of a glorious opening.

In the second half the points were sealed, thanks to two dubious penalties. Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez converted one apiece – as Villa complained bitterly about referee Jon Moss’s two decisions.

Both those goals came around the hour mark, and then Aguero scored from open play just minutes later to leave Villa simply trying to save some face. That they barely managed – Tevez completing the rout for Roberto Mancini’s side with 15 minutes still to play.

In the day’s early kick-off, Arsenal fell behind early against Tottenham to a goal from former Gunner Emmanuel Adebayor, but he was dismissed for a wild tackle on Santi Cazorla and 10-man Spurs were soon overwhelmed in a 5-2 defeat.

Mertesacker team celeb Arsenal v Tottenham
PA PhotosPer Mertesacker is mobbed after his equaliser for Arsenal

A header from Per Mertesacker drew Arsenal level, before two goals in quick succession from Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud put Arsenal ahead. Cazorla slotted home from close range on the hour to put Arsenal in complete control.

Gareth Bale got his name on the scoresheet 20 minutes from time but the comeback was snuffed out by a late goal from Theo Walcott.

Brendan Rodgers enjoyed bragging rights over Roberto Martinez as his Liverpool side demolished Wigan 3-0 at Anfield – with Luis Suarez once again proving instrumental.

Martinez was strongly linked with the Reds’ manager’s job before Rodgers eventually took the reins in the summer, but was unable to mastermind an away victory thanks to three second half goals.

It was Suarez, so instrumental to his side all season, who again provided the cutting edge – breaking the deadlock just after half-time by taking the ball from Raheem Sterling and rifling in a low shot from ten yards, before doubling the advantage soon after with a conversion from a similar spot after running onto Jose Enrique’s through-ball.

Enrique then got on the scoresheet himself – Suarez providing a sweet interchange with Sterling before the newly-capped England player saw his shot parried away by goalkeeper Ali Al-Habsi. It would only fall to the Spaniard, however, who crashed the ball home to give Rodgers a comfortable triumph.

Finally, at St James’ Park a mistake from Tim Krul changed the course of the contest as Swansea picked up a valuable 2-1 away victory against Newcastle.

With the hosts, shorn of Papiss Cisse due to an ongoing dispute with the Senegalese Football Association, unable to carve out many gilt-edged goalscoring chances the visitors were virtually handed the lead in the second half, after Krul wildly sliced a backpass into the path of Pablo Hernandez, who crossed for Michu to turn home.

Jonathan De Guzman then made it 2-0 with a handful of minutes left, again taking advantage of a questionably Krul parry to find the net after Danny Graham’s shot was only half-denied. Demba Ba would then net in injury time, but it was not enough to spark a full comeback.