Saturday, August 31, 2013

Match Preview: Liverpool vs Manchester United

Liverpool will be aiming to celebrate the birth of their most famous manager Bill Shankly with victory over arch-rivals Manchester United.

Monday marks 100 years since the birth of Shankly and the home fans would see victory over United as the ideal birthday present for the Liverpool legend.

Brendan Rodgers' side go into the game above United in the table after winning their opening two games of the season and they will be looking to set down a marker against the reigning champions.

Rodgers lost both meetings with United last season and breaking his duck against their old foes would be a major boost to their top-four aspirations.

United boss David Moyes has never won at Anfield during his time in charge of Everton and he will be seeking to end that record on Sunday.

United have won their last three league meetings against Liverpool 2-1, with Robin van Persie scoring in both fixtures last season.

Andre Marriner is the man in the middle for what should be as usual a passionate, fiery encounter between England's two most successful club sides.

Jose Mourinho went to Old Trafford on Monday night and shut up shop, making sure Chelsea didn't get beat. He put the pressure on Man United and they didn't do enough. This is now a big game for David Moyes because if they lose to Liverpool a few questions will be asked. They've had a tough start and if they go unbeaten in the first three games, I think that will be positive. However, if they lose the game, then that'll be two big games against big rivals that he hasn't won.

Liverpool has a number of injury concerns to contend with before Brendan Rodgers finalises his line-up.

Defensive duo Kolo Toure and Aly Cissokho and midfielder Joe Allen picked up injuries during the midweek Capital One Cup win over Notts County.

If Toure fails to recover from his groin problem, Liverpool is hoping that Martin Sktrel will recover from a knee injury to take his place alongside Daniel Agger in the heart of their defence.

Luis Suarez remains absent for Liverpool as he serves the eighth game of his 10-match ban meaning the in-form Daniel Sturridge will continue to lead the attack.

Sebastian Coates is a long-term absentee for Liverpool as he recovers from a cruciate knee injury.

Wayne Rooney could keep his place in the starting XI after impressing against Chelsea on Monday night.

Phil Jones is expected to shake off a back injury he picked up against Chelsea to start at right-back in place of the injured Rafael.

United boss David Moyes has no other injury concerns to deal with as he prepares for his first experience of Manchester United versus Liverpool at Anfield.

Moyes Prepared For Anfield Reception

David Moyes expects a fiery reception from Liverpool fans when he takes Manchester United to Anfield for the first time on Sunday.

Having managed city rivals Everton and the Reds' arch-enemies, the Scot knows that he will not be a popular man inside the stadium but is relishing the occasion.

United won on their last visit and completed the double over Brendan Rodgers's side later in the season while Moyes has never won at Anfield, only tasting victory on three occasions against Liverpool, but he is confident of turning that record around.

"Everybody tells me about the big rivalry between Liverpool and United and it was certainly there when I was at Everton as well," he told the press. "I would think I'll get as good a reception as I did with Everton.

"It has always been a difficult place to go but I am looking forward to going back there."

Toure Could Be Fit To Face United

Liverpool defender Kolo Toure could make a surprise return to action against Manchester United, just days after being stretchered off with a suspected groin injury.

Toure was stretchered from the field in the early stages of extra-time in the Capital One Cup win over Notts County and afterwards Brendan Rodgers admitted the Ivorian could be out for some time.

However, the injury is not as bad as first thought and Rodgers has hinted that he could be available for the visit of the champions.

“His injury is nowhere near as bad as what we thought. We’ll just assess that over the next 24/48 hours,” Rodgers said at his pre-match press conference.

“I think we were all thinking that he might be out for longer after the game, but he’s made an excellent recovery. The diagnosis isn’t anywhere near as bad as we thought, so we’ll see how he is for this weekend.

Liverpool prepare Move For Deni Hocko

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers is preparing a move for a player dubbed the 'next Pirlo', Deni Hocko, according to the Daily Star.

The Reds are in a battle with Premier League new-boys Crystal Palace for the youngster’s signature and sources in Italy have claimed that both sides have contacted Buducnost Podgorica over his availability.

Hocko has represented the Montenegrin national side at Under-17, U19 and U21 levels and has impressed going up the ranks.

Rodgers is also reportedly interested in Richairo Zivkovic, a Serbian youngster, who is currently FC Groningen's youngest ever goalscorer.

FC Groningen director Hans Nijland has revealed Liverpool's interest in their star, saying: "All the top clubs in Holland want him but Liverpool are here every week too.

"They are watching him closely and are very keen."

Liverpool is currently preparing to take on Manchester United at Anfield in a crunch game this Sunday.

Rodgers' side have started the Premier League season well, with two victories out of two and are yet to concede a league goal.

However, they face their biggest challenge yet as they welcome David Moyes' side to Merseyside.

Liverpool Set To Capture Ilori

Liverpool is on the verge of announcing the signing of Tiago Ilori from Sporting Lisbon.

Manager Brendan Rodgers has been in the market for a new defender after seeing injuries to Kolo Toure, Aly Cissokho and Sebastian Coates spread his options at the back very thin.

The highly-rated centre back has been attracting the interest of big European clubs but Liverpool look to have agreed a deal in the region of £8m according to the Mirror.

The 20-year-old, who was born in London, joined Sporting’s youth setup in 2006 and has progressed into the first team becoming one of the most highly-sought after talents in Europe during the process.

The Portuguese youngster has represented his national side at U18, U19 and U20 level but does have the option to play for England as his father is English.

His father and agent have apparently flown into London to complete the deal and he could be unveiled by the beginning of next week.

Liverpool Move For Shay Given

Liverpool is closing in on a shock move for Aston Villa goalkeeper Shay Given, according to reports.

Given had been linked with dropping down into the Championship in a bid to gain first team football after he failed to displace Brad Guzan at Villa Park.

However, according to the Daily Mail, Brendan Rodgers is aiming to bring in experienced back-up for Simon Mignolet, whom he brought into replace Pepe Reina in June, and has identified Given as being an ideal. Should talks go smoothly, a deal could be completed before the weekend.

The Reds have been busy during the transfer window and look to continue their movement in the transfer window after Kolo Toure sustained a groin injury in League Cup on Tuesday night against Notts County.

Liverpool Suffer Alderweireld Setback

Liverpool looks set to miss out on defender target Toby Alderweireld, according to the Daily Mail.

Brendan Rodgers had been keen to bring the 24-year-old stopper to Anfield, and was hopeful of securing the player's signature ahead of the September 2 deadline.

But Atletico Madrid have jumped to the head of the queue, with Alderweireld - who has just one year remaining on his Ajax contract - opting for a move to La Liga over an Anfield switch.

Alderweireld has not been short of admirers this summer, with the likes of Everton, Norwich and Tottenham all linked to the Belgian international.

Ajax have accepted numerous offers for the versatile defender, with Spartak Moscow coming closest to landing the £5 million-rated star, only for Alderweireld to reject a move to Russia.

However, the lure of playing Champions League football with Atletico proved to be too good an opportunity to miss, and Alderweireld is expected to complete his move to the Spanish capital imminently, paving the way for Manchester City to tie up a deal for Martin Demichelis.

Liverpool must now turn their attentions elsewhere, as boss Rodgers continues in his search for defensive reinforcements.

Injuries to summer signing Kolo Toure and Sebastian Coates - as well as persistent rumours linking Martin Skrtel and Daniel Agger with an Anfield exit - led the Liverpool chief into stepping up his search for a new defender.

With the Reds' missing out on Alderweireld, Joleon Lescott has been touted as a possible alternative, with a reported £7.5 million bid likely to be enough to prize the England international away from the Etihad stadium.

Allen Misses Wales' World Cup Qualifiers

Liverpool's Joe Allen will miss Wales' World Cup qualifiers against Macedonia and Serbia.

Midfielder Allen was injured playing for his club against Notts County in the 4-2 win at Anfield on Tuesday night in the Capital One Cup.

Allen joins Swansea City's Neil Taylor on the sidelines.

They will be replaced in Chris Coleman's squad by David Vaughan of Sunderland and Ashley Richards of Swansea City.

There were fears over Aaron Ramsey's fitness after the midfielder suffered a groin injury late on in Arsenal's Champions League win over Fenerbahce.

Ramsey finished the match on the bench but is expected to be available for Sunday's North London derby against Tottenham.

Fellow midfielder Allen limped off with a hamstring injury during Liverpool's victory over Notts County.

Defender Taylor is not included after being ruled out for four to six weeks after suffering severe bruising on his thigh during Swansea's Europa League win over Petrolul Ploiesti last week.

Liverpool Defender Set For Six-Week Layoff

Liverpool has been hit with the news that defender Aly Cissokho will miss up to six weeks with an ankle injury.

25-year-old Cissokho, who arrived on Merseyside from La Liga outfit Valencia this summer, picked up the problem during the early stages of the Reds' dramatic 4-2 victory over Notts County in the Capital One Cup on Wednesday that was sealed by extra-time strikes from English duo Daniel Sturridge and Jordan Henderson.

Despite initial hopes that he might be able to shake off the injury and feature in the coming weeks, Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers confirmed the French international is set for an extended spell on the sidelines.

"Young Aly Cissokho will be slightly different - he could be out for four to six weeks, which is a blow because he came in and trained really well last week," Rodgers was quoted by Sky Sports.

"He's on crutches at the moment and we'll look at that over the coming weeks."

Liverpool, who won both of their opening Premier League fixtures against Stoke City and Aston Villa without conceding a single goal, are set for a far sterner test of their top four credentials on Sunday as they host champions and fierce rivals Manchester United.

Young Reds Suffer Barca Loss

Liverpool's Academy youngsters suffered disappointment when they lost 3-0 to Barcelona in the final of the prestigious Soccer World Challenge in Japan.

Led by coaches Stephen Torpey and Dave Rowe alongside Academy technical director and head of coaching Rodolfo Borrell, the U13 squad had produced a brilliant performance to beat Kashiwa Reysol 4-0 in the semi-final.

Reysol are the Japan champions at U13 level and had only conceded one goal in their first five games of the tournament.

However, fatigue played a big part in the showpiece final as the U13 squad struggled in the heat and humidity as they lost to a strong Barcelona team.

Despite the loss it was an invaluable experience for the youngsters who won seven out of eight games in the competition.

Borrell told "We are really proud of the lads. They performed brilliantly in this tournament and they were a real credit to the club."