Flanagan Sentenced For Assault

Liverpool defender John Flanagan was sentenced to rehabilitation and 40 hours of unpaid work on Wednesday, having pleaded guilty to attacking his girlfriend.

The 25-year-old full-back admitted an offence of common assault by beating at a hearing on January 2.

Liverpool Crown Court heard that he kicked his partner Rachael Wall in a central street in the northwest English city in the early hours of December 22.

District judge Wendy Lloyd sentenced Flanagan to a 12-month community order, which includes 15 rehabilitation activity days, 40 hours of unpaid work, £85 court costs ($117, 96 euros) and an £85 victim surcharge.

“You are, of course, a young man of previous good character and therefore it’s undoubtedly sad that you have brought yourself here by your behaviour,” she said.

“It was a matter of this lady going to the floor twice and you used your foot on her on one occasion.”

The court saw security camera footage which showed Flanagan hitting his girlfriend before pushing her against a wall twice and then kicking her.

His lawyer Lionel Grieg told the court: “He deeply regrets his behaviour and there is genuine remorse.

“They are back together and working very hard at the relationship.”

Liverpool-born Flanagan has made more than 50 first-team appearances for the Reds since making his debut aged 18.

He has captained Liverpool and made an appearance for England as a substitute in 2014.

Flanagan spent last season on loan at Burnley after 20 months out due to knee surgery.

He has featured only once for Liverpool this season.

© AFP

Coutinho Inspires Liverpool Rout Against Swansea

Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho underlined his importance to the Reds ahead of the transfer window with a fine individual display in a comfortable 5-0 win over Premier League strugglers Swansea City on Tuesday.

The Brazil international scored his 12th goal of the season with a fine curling effort and provided an assist for compatriot Roberto Firmino.

Coutinho, who was strongly linked with a move to Barcelona in the build-up to the season, has enjoyed his most prolific goalscoring month in a Liverpool shirt, finding the net seven times in December.

Trent Alexander-Arnold’s determination saw him score Liverpool’s third after half-time before Firmino and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain finished from close range.

Liverpool’s victory ensured they remain in the thick of the battle for the Champions
League places in fourth spot — five points behind second-placed Manchester United.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp had made four changes from the side that drew 3-3 against Arsenal.

Joel Matip and Alexander-Arnold came into the defence, while Georginio Wijnaldum and Oxlade-Chamberlain both started in midfield.

It did not take Liverpool long to assert their authority against the Premier League’s bottom club.

The tireless Firmino dispossessed Jordan Ayew in midfield and rolled the ball into the path of Mohamed Salah who in turn fed Coutinho just outside the penalty area.

Coutinho, restored to an advanced role in Liverpool’s attacking triumvirate, cut inside onto his right foot and curled a sumptuous shot into the top right corner of the net, which Swansea goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski could only stand and admire.

Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, who retained his place despite a high-profile blunder against Arsenal, was called into action shortly afterwards.

A deep cross picked out Ayew at the back post and the Swansea striker’s header brought a smart save out of the Belgium international.

With the atmosphere at Anfield flat and Swansea happy to pack men behind the ball, the remainder of the first half lacked any real intensity.

Liverpool continued to pose the greater threat with Emre Can, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Firmino all trying their luck from distance to no avail.

The Reds squandered a golden chance to add to their advantage on the stroke of half-time when Salah nabbed the ball in midfield and put Firmino through on goal, only for the Liverpool forward to drag his shot wide.

AFP

Tensions Mount As Klopp Eyes Euro Boost

Assailed by mounting criticism from frustrated fans, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp needs to mastermind a sustained challenge in the Champions League to keep the doubters at bay.

With Liverpool lagging 12 points behind Premier League leaders Manchester City despite Saturday’s 3-0 win over Huddersfield, Klopp could be forgiven for breathing a sigh of relief that Slovenian minnows Maribor are the next visitors to Anfield on Wednesday.

Having failed to win a trophy in his two-year reign and already out of the League Cup, Klopp has had to face some awkward questions as Liverpool struggle to get back on track after a spluttering start to the season.

The knives were out for Klopp following the recent 4-1 thrashing at Tottenham, with pundits and fans suggesting Liverpool are no better off than when the German’s predecessor Brendan Rodgers was in charge.

It must have been especially worrying for Klopp that victory against Huddersfield was played in a muted atmosphere punctuated by moans from the tetchy Anfield crowd.

Given Liverpool’s rich history — which includes 18 English titles and five European Cups — Klopp fears his club’s supporters now have unrealistic expectations of what can be achieved in a football world far different than the club’s heyday.

Liverpool’s net spends of £54 million ($71 million, 61 million euros) in the last transfer window was dwarfed by the sums splashed out by title rivals Manchester City, Manchester United, and Chelsea.

“The problem is here, the moment things don’t work out, we get compared with the past,” Klopp complained.

“They wreck the confidence of the players when they say things like, ‘You are not good enough’. It’s a problem.”

Against that difficult backdrop, Klopp might find a long run in the Champions League — a competition that stirs the emotions of Reds fans like no other — is his best chance of changing the mood music at Anfield.

Liverpool is well placed to qualify for the last 16 after taking five points from their first three matches.

Home truths
A 7-0 demolition of Maribor in their previous fixture took them to the top of Group E, also featuring Sevilla and Spartak Moscow.

But to make an impact in the latter stages of a tournament Liverpool last won in 2005, Klopp, who took Dortmund to the Champions League final in 2013, must solve a couple of pressing problems.

For much of his reign, the 50-year-old has been hamstrung by his failure to plug the leaks in Liverpool’s defense.

The Reds have been breached with alarming regularity again this season and have already conceded 16 times in the league — three more than any other team in the top six.

As if that wasn’t enough to keep Klopp awake at night, the German has also been frustrated by Liverpool’s issues at the other end, where his richly gifted forwards have repeatedly spurned chances to kill off opponents.

Aware that Liverpool’s season was in danger of spiraling out of control, Klopp responded by delivering a few home truths to his players ahead of the Huddersfield game.

“Against Tottenham, we made mistakes and got criticised. This is what it means to be at a big club,” Liverpool defender Joel Matip said.

“We know we did it wrong and he (Klopp) didn’t hold back, he said it directly. You have to speak about these things honestly and that’s what he did.

“He said it was not good enough, he spoke very honestly about the things that have to change.”

Klopp’s blast inspired Liverpool’s first win in four league games, but whether that helps turn the jeers back to cheers remains to be seen.

 

Source: AFP

Messi Rates Ozil Ahead Of Coutinho

Barcelona ace Leo Messi rates Arsenal attacker Mesut Ozil ahead of Liverpool midfielder Philippe Coutinho.

Both attackers have been linked with Barca ahead of the January market.

And Don Balon says Messi has told Barca chiefs to consider signing Ozil next summer instead of Philippe Coutinho.

Messi feels Ozil would be a smarter buy compared to the Liverpool playmaker.

The German is off contract in June and still to settle on new terms with the Gunners.

Liverpool, meanwhile, rejected three bids from Barca in the summer for Coutinho, 25, and rate him at €200m.

 

Reds To Extend Scoring Form – Salah

Liverpool must replicate their Champions League finishing to revive their Premier League campaign, winger Mohamed Salah has said.
Salah and striker Roberto Firmino grabbed a brace each as Liverpool pounded Maribor 7-0 on Tuesday night to record their biggest away European win.

The victory has given Liverpool, who managed one win in their last five league games, the confidence to be more clinical in front of goal, said Salah.

“I think it’s an important result for us so we have to keep looking forward and we have to win the next games,” the Egypt international told BT Sport.

“In the last three or four games we missed many chances… and we had bad luck.

“I think that everyone has confidence that the good result is coming, so now we are in a good position and I’m sure in the next games it will be the same.”

The 25-year-old has now scored eight goals in 13 appearances for Liverpool but was more occupied with team performance than a personal record.

“The team did good and we had a good result so that’s the most important thing,” Salah added.

“I’m very happy for that – seven goals or eight goals (scored since he joined Liverpool) doesn’t change anything, but the most important thing for us is to concentrate on improving the results in the Premier League.

“We didn’t win for two, three games, so we need to carry on and keep looking forward and win the next games.”

Eighth-placed Liverpool travels to third-placed Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.

 

 

Source: SuperSport

“We Will Be Title Challengers” – Klopp

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is adamant they will be title challengers over the long-term.

Even though Liverpool have now won just one of their last eight matches, the manager explained that he has seen enough this season to believe they will threaten the sides at the summit of the league.

Klopp said: “We have to do whatever is necessary and we will be challenges. We will be challengers for the next few years, no problem.

“We showed big heart, we were brave. I thought we were smart in doing the right thing at the right moment but in the end, it didn’t work out.

“I am not overly-positive, I am not crazy but I really see we are still good, and that is what I try to push. People around the stadium today saw a game they wanted to see — but they all had Liverpool shirts on.”

 

Everton: Onyekuru In Liverpool Amidst Rumors Of Recall From Loan

Everton forward Henry Onyekuru has been spotted in Liverpool in the height of talks about a possible return to his parent owners Everton in January.

Onyekuru was signed by Everton from Belgium side Eupen after scoring 24 goals last season, which was his first top-flight experience since moving to Europe from Nigeria two years ago.

He was immediately loaned out to Anderlecht, where after a period of bedding in, he has recaptured the form that made him the beautiful bride of most European team during the summer transfer window.

Everton is struggling to get goals since the start of the English Premier League season ‎, and Onyekuru who has five goals in seven games has been tipped for a return to the team in January.

The 20-year-old gave credence to ‎the story with a picture of himself with Liverpool as his location on his Snap Chat account earlier today.

Liverpool, Man U Fans Trigger Moscow Security Jitters

As thousands of British fans head to Moscow for Champions League matches involving Manchester United and Liverpool, Russia faces a crucial test of its security measures just months ahead of the 2018 World Cup.

Some 2,000 British fans are expected to arrive for matches on Tuesday and Wednesday against Moscow teams known for problems with hooliganism and racism in the stands.

Liverpool plays Spartak Moscow on Tuesday and Manchester United plays CSKA Moscow on Wednesday, both kicking off at 1845 GMT.

The head of the Russian Football Union’s security committee, Vladimir Markin, warned them to behave or face an extended stay behind bars.

“I don’t want to scare anyone but I warn those who plan to come here not to support their side and see the country but to commit hooliganism: the law is the same for all, not just for Russians,” Markin told TASS state news agency on Sunday.

“Those who break it will face a suitable punishment, possibly in the form of a long stay in Russia, in conditions our guests won’t like.”

The influx of supporters raises the spectre of a repeat of the violence at Euro-2016 in France when street battles erupted in central Marseille ahead of the match between England and Russia on June 11 — 35 people were injured and three Russian hooligans jailed.

Russia has vowed to ensure fans’ safety when it hosts the World Cup next year and has cracked down on its own hooligans who model themselves on the hooligan gangs that dogged English football in the past.

For the Liverpool and Manchester United games, tightened controls will be in place at stadium entrances and nearby metro stations — as happened when Russia hosted the Confederations Cup in June and July without incident.

A multi-lingual telephone helpline (Fans Hotline 8-800-775-76-88) is set to open 24 hours between Monday and Wednesday to offer British fans’ legal support if needed.

Both Liverpool and Manchester United have warned fans to be on their best behaviour.

“You can expect there to be a visible police presence wherever groups of LFC and Man United fans congregate,” a Liverpool statement said.

Manchester United called for “impeccable” behaviour from its supporters and advised them not to “attract attention” and to avoid wearing the team’s colours in public.

Risk of jail
In April, President Vladimir Putin approved new legislation toughening punishments for foreign fans responsible for crowd trouble at sports events.

The legislation makes it possible to bar known foreign hooligans or those suspected of planning trouble from entering Russia.

The law increases the fine for such offences to 50,000 rubles ($868, 733 euros) and also makes them punishable by up to 15 days of detention in police cells followed by deportation.

After the Marseilles clashes, the Russian interior ministry’s counter-extremism division also cracked down on Russian fans, leading to more detentions and convictions.

“The atmosphere at football matches has on the whole improved. You feel safer,” said one Spartak fan, who gave his name as Alexander.

“Even if the number of aggressive fans hasn’t gone down, the clubs have learnt to organise matches better,” the 24-year-old said, praising a decision to reinforce crowd control using volunteers in plain clothes rather than “the police, who irritate the fans.”

Nevertheless, Spartak supporters fired a flare at the German referee during a match with Slovenia’s Maribor earlier in September.

UEFA fined the Russian club 60,000 euros and banned it from selling tickets for its next away match.

On Friday, Spartak’s Italian manager Massimo Carrera urged fans “not to repeat such actions,” TASS reported.

“I hope that they will take seriously the risk of not being allowed into the stadium next time,” Carrera said.

Ahead of the World Cup, Russia wants to avoid a repeat of serious fan violence seen in the past.

In 2002, after Russia was knocked out of the World Cup by Japan, fans watching on an outdoor screen near the Kremlin went on a rampage, killing one and wounding dozens, and setting cars on fire.

In 2010, thousands of fans rioted on the street after a Spartak supporter was shot dead in a fight between members of Russian and North Caucasus ethnic groups.

 

 

Source: The Guardian

 

Klopp Vows To Never Give Up

The Liverpool Coach Jurgen Klopp insists he won’t stop attacking principles despite Liverpool’s recent struggles.

Klopp’s team has gone four games without any win and fell out of the League Cup at Leicester this week.

The Reds have conceded 10 goals in that spell, sparking criticism of Klopp’s defenders and claims his commitment to all-out attack has left them too exposed.

Klopp concedes Liverpool’s defence needs to improve, but the Liverpool manager has no intention of changing his philosophy.

With Liverpool returning to Leicester in the Premier League on Saturday, Klopp made it clear he will not allow his players to start adopting a more conservative approach.

“In the beginning, it was so nice, how fluent we are, how creative we are. We are still fluent and still creative but we don’t score, so it’s a big problem,” Klopp said.

“If you would ask me what would you prefer: ‘Do you want your team perfect in defending set-pieces but don’t know how to play football or would you prefer the other way round?’ – I still would take this second one.

“In the moment it feels like we solved it but in the situation, you can see again we are back to old patterns or how we did it a few weeks before.

“What we have at the moment because of the situation is that everybody wants to help where the first ball is.

“We come too close together in the situation where the first ball is going after a throw-in and it means for the second ball we don’t have a good formation.

“We need to get more natural in these things because it’s not that difficult, to be honest, but it happens too often.

“Now we have to work and then it will be even more difficult to create something against us.”

 

Klopp Frustrated With Club Miscues

Jurgen Klopp admitted he is getting sick of Liverpool’s defensive miscues after they slumped to a 2-0 defeat at Leicester in the League Cup third round.

Klopp’s side crashed out as careless play allowed Shinji Okazaki and Islam Slimani to score for Leicester in the second half at the King Power Stadium on Tuesday.

Liverpool have kept just two clean sheets this season and have been criticised for letting teams off the hook.

Reds boss Klopp admitted he is now becoming fed up of the sloppy performances which have left his side without a win in four matches.

“After the first goal you saw the heads from Leicester went up, that was a bigger difference,” Klopp said.

“The game changes in moments like this, you have the chance to do it by yourself or sometimes you are on the wrong side and that’s how it is.

“But that we concede like this, that makes me really, really sick.

“We are still a good football team, I see it, but unfortunately it doesn’t feel (like that) at the moment because it’s a cup competition.

“We wanted to go into the next round and nobody is interested who plays the better in the first half.

“The story of this game is really easy to tell, we were the much better team in the first half, we played good football, we didn’t score, that’s sometimes part of football.

“But as long as we concede goals like we conceded today, then it is quite difficult.”

 

Klopp Keeps Making Liverpool Laughable – Shearer

Alan Shearer England legend has slammed Jurgen Klopp and his work with Liverpool.

The Liverpool club has dropped two points at home to Burnley on Saturday.

Shearer wrote for The Sun: “Jurgen Klopp is brilliant at the public relations game.

“Indeed, listen to him and you would be fooled into thinking everything has been on an upward curve since he joined Liverpool.

“Yes, he got them back into the Champions League with last season’s fourth place, which will have brought him plenty of boardroom bonus points.

“The truth, however, is that Liverpool is no different under boss Klopp than they were under Brendan Rodgers.

“Brilliant going forward but not so clever at the back.”

He also said of Klopp: “I am left wondering just what he does on the training ground when the same defensive errors are repeated week in, week out.

“What I witnessed on Saturday in their draw at home to Burnley was laughable.

“Much like when I analyzed their 3-3 draw at Watford on an opening day and, more recently, their 5-0 defeat against Manchester City.”