Posts Tagged With: Champions League

Adam Lallana has finally signed for Liverpool, Here is his first full interview.

Adam, welcome to Liverpool Football Club…

Thank you very much. I’m over the moon for it to be sorted. I still can’t quite believe it. I just can’t wait to get started in pre-season and work with the team.

Can you describe your emotions right now?

Not really, no, it has not sunk in if I’m being honest. I’d like to thank everyone at Southampton for what they have done for me; I have been there for the best part of 14 years. I’m so excited for the next chapter of my career, coming to a special club like Liverpool. I’m quite humbled and I just can’t wait to get started.

After spending so much of your life on the south coast, how big a step is this for you?

It’s a huge step. Liverpool have got so much history and after the season they had last season, I can’t wait to get started and carry on and build on that. Champions League football is back; everyone is telling me that the atmosphere on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings at Anfield are something special. Lambert is up here already and he has been telling me all about it. It’s great that I can continue my career with him as well. That’s a special moment.

How much of a help is he going to be now you’re both here at Liverpool?

A massive help. I’ve spent the last four or five years with him. We’ve had great careers at Southampton and achieved something special, but we’re both thoroughly looking forward to the new challenge. It’s Rickie’s boyhood club and a club I can’t wait to be a part of.

Tell us what the thought process is when you find out that Liverpool Football Club are interested in you…

To start off with…if it’s true! There had been a lot of toing and froing and it had been a little bit longer than I’d anticipated, but it’s something I’m not quite used to. I’m grateful that Southampton accepted the offer in the end and granted my wish to play at such a fantastic football club, in Champions League football and competing for Premier League titles. I’ll probably get back started in pre-season within three weeks. I’ll have time to chill out with my family, go on holiday and take a break from it for a week or so. Then I’ll come back fully focused on the job in hand.

Who was the first person you spoke to about this move?

Probably my dad, my family and my wife. A lot of my close friends are Southampton fans, but they understand. They understand this is an opportunity that you just can’t turn down. At the age I’m at, 26 now, it’s just the right step. I’m sure most people will understand my decision.

You’ve had quite a rise in quite a short space of time – you’re now a Liverpool player, you’re an England international. Does it seem surreal? Does it sink in, how far you’ve come?

It doesn’t yet. To think, five or six years ago, I was playing in League One. But it’s a reality that we’ve climbed up the leagues and done so well. I’d like to think I’m here on merit, I think I’ve earned it. I just can’t wait to keep improving, playing with world-class players and a lot of England teammates as well, which I’m also looking forward to so much. It’s going to be a great new chapter in my life.

Do your ambitions as a player change now that you’re at a club like this?

They have to – it’s a huge club that wants to win titles again and compete in the Champions League. There are different targets to what a club like Southampton has, but I’m just going to be pushing to do the best I can.

What has the manager, Brendan Rodgers, said to you about how he sees you fitting into his Liverpool?

I can’t say I’ve had that chat in detail yet. But from what I have spoken to him, he seems like a top manager. Everyone compliments him massively and gives him great references. All of the lads at England said that if I did get the chance to work with him then it would help my career in huge ways. So I can’t wait to get started working with him.

How do you think your style and your game will complement what he already has here at Liverpool?

I hope it complements and I can bring something different to the team. People have said to me that there are similarities in the way Southampton and Liverpool play their football, and I hope that enables me to settle that much easier. I just can’t wait to start playing with the world-class players that are here – I’m only going to learn and get better.

Adam Lallana signs for Liverpool

Adam Lallana signs for Liverpool

Having watched Liverpool from afar and seeing the success Liverpool had last season, how much does that excite you to be part of it going forward?

Watching the run-in towards the end of last season was unbelievable, not just for myself but everyone involved in football. It got the hairs on the back of my neck standing up just watching them, and the style of football they were playing. Deep down, I was thinking to myself: hopefully one day I’ll be able to play in that team. That dream has become a reality now, so I can’t wait for that to get started.

You were part of one of the few sides to take points from Liverpool at Anfield. What was that experience like?

It was a great afternoon. Southampton weren’t expected to get anything from the game. I remember the game quite well; we won 1-0 and a few fans clapped us off the pitch. It shows what respectful fans Liverpool are and how great the fans are. To be playing for Liverpool now, with them behind me, is another reason why I can’t wait to get started.

This is a great moment for you, signing for this football club, but we know it has been a difficult few weeks with England in the World Cup. How do you overcome a disappointment like that to ensure you start your Liverpool career well?

Just keep working even harder. We did suffer disappointment; not just myself, all of the lads are disappointed, the whole country is disappointed. We need to rest now for a couple of weeks, recharge the batteries and then get back to doing what we love, that’s playing football. Hopefully we’ll have learned a lot from the experience and take what positives we can into the European Championship campaign.

Do you become stronger mentally from experiencing something like that?

Without a shadow of a doubt. I think you can only become stronger mentally.It’s a long way from home, in different conditions and a lot of people’s first major tournament. So it is good experience. We just have to learn quickly and hopefully improve and get better results next time.

You mentioned spending plenty of time with your new Liverpool teammates while you were over in Brazil. Did you ask them questions about this football club and what it’s like to be here?

I did and they were on to me about when it was getting sorted. I was running out of answers in the end because I thought the more I say ‘soon’ the longer it would take. During the World Cup I was fully focused on just playing for England, but I was eager for it to get sorted once I knew I was coming home. Just so I can switch off and rest and recover for a couple of weeks before we start pre-season.

How much can you still learn from someone like Steven Gerrard? You’ve had opportunities to spend time with him at international level, but here with your football club now, how much can you still learn from someone like him?

There’s no limit to what I can learn playing with him. I grew up watching him. My best mates, he’s their legend. For me to be playing alongside him, not just at England but at club level, is quite surreal really. They’re always asking me what he’s like. He’s got that aura around him. But I need to quickly get used to it because I’ll be playing with him week in, week out.

You’ll make him feel old saying you grew up watching him…

Well, I did, it’s just the fact and reality. He’s still such a good player and he can go on to play for numerous more years with the quality he possesses.

Your first official game for Liverpool could be against your former club Southampton. What do you anticipate that feeling will be like?

It would have been worse if it was at St Mary’s, I’m glad it’s at Anfield. But to be lining up against my teammates from last year just had to happen. It’s fate. Rickie and I spoke about it, and he said he could have bet his mortgage on it, he knew it was going to happen.

You’ve experienced Anfield as an opposition player. What will that feeling be like to run out with the home support behind you?

I can’t wait to experience it. Everyone says it has got a unique atmosphere; it’s a unique ground with a lot of history. I just can’t wait to get on the pitch with the fans behind me, rather than just the away fans.

Finally, what is your message to those Liverpool supporters?

Hopefully I can settle in quickly, and I will give it my best throughout the whole time I’m here. I hope I can add something to the team and hopefully we can win trophies while I’m here, because that’s why I’m here – for success.

 

 

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Istanbul Champions League final-Nothing Is Impossible

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Rodgers looking for hungry players

Brendan RodgersBrendan Rodgers has stated that when searching for new players not just ability will play a part in the potential signings.

Having narrowly missed out on the Premier League title to Manchester City last season Liverpool have been busy in the transfer market already, with the signings of Rickie Lambert and Emre Can.

With Rodgers insisting that mentality will play a key part in any potential signings as the Reds look to go one better next season and win the Premier League title.

He told the Liverpool Echo: “What we do need to do to ensure we kick on? We need to ensure we continue with our thinking in terms of the types of players we’re going to bring in.

“We want to bring in players who are hungry. They must have the ambition to want to come in and succeed here.

“We need players who there can be no doubts about their quality.

“We’re in a position now where we’re going straight into the group stage of the Champions League and we’re going into the Premier League next season with an expectation and a belief that we can win the league.

“We need players that have those qualities. That belief, players who are willing to improve and who are hungry to improve themselves.

“If we can get a number of signings with that profile then we can go on and build on last season.”

With Liverpool qualifying for the Champions League Rodgers knows he needs a bigger squad to keep the team fresh.

It’s one where we just need good players,” added the boss.

“The position we were in last summer was that we were losing players who were cover players and it was difficult for us to bring in starters.

“This year the squad will change around. We will need to change the team regularly over the course of the season in order to keep the efficiency and the energy in the team.

“Those players who are coming in need to be capable starters. They have to be to the level that we require to perform. That is absolutely key for us this summer.”

 

 

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Luis Suarez surprised by Liverpool’s title charge

Luis Suarez has stated that even he is surprised by Liverpool’s title challenge, with the financial firepower of teams like Manchester City and Chelsea.

The Uruguayan, who is likely to be crowned PFA player of the year this Sunday, cannot believe the progress from seventh last season to potential champions this season.

“It would be something that no one would believe,” said Suárez . “We have good players, but if you look at the complete squad, we don’t have the tools to be up there. The truth is that we have surprised ourselves at how well we’re playing. We have good players who are demonstrating why they are at Liverpool and it would be something amazing for the Premier League because of the investment made by Chelsea, City, and Arsenal. Even Tottenham have spent over £100 million and we, with so little investment, are in that position. It would be incredible.”

With Liverpool in a good position to keep hold of their star striker, having Suarez sign a contract extension earlier this season. Liverpool have guaranteed Champions League football and could become English champions, so are in a great position for a non-disruptive summer with Suarez.

Speaking about next seasons Champions League “There is a lot of potential,” he said. “There are young players such as Sturridge, Coutinho, Luis Alberto who hasn’t played much, Joe Allen and Flanagan. All of them are good young players that have played a lot this year and, with a couple of good players that could come into the team with European experience, it could help us.”

 

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Barcelona look to sell Liverpool target for 8million

TelloBarcelona are prepared to sell 22-year-old winger Christian Tello this summer for 8million, with Liverpool and AC Milan vying for his services.

Liverpool have been long term admirers of Tello, who came through the Barcelona youth academy. The Merseyside club made a failed attempt to sign Tello on loan in the summer.

Tello has made 19 league appearances this season for the Catalan club, 17 of those coming off the bench.

It is believed that Tello has scheduled a meeting with Barcelona’s Sporting Director Andoni Zubizarreta for the end of the season, but it is believed that Barcelona will look to sell Tello for any bids in excess of 8million.

With Liverpool being in the Champions League next season they are looking at options to further improve the depth of the squad to compete in cup competitions as well as the league.

 

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Steven Gerrard: Premier League glory would top Champions League triumph

gerrard aSteven Gerrard has claimed that a Premier League winners medal would top Liverpool’s Champions League triumph in Istanbul in 2005, as Liverpool continue their title bid.

Liverpool are currently sat in fourth place just six points of the league leaders Arsenal, with the Liverpool skipper claiming that this is the closest Premier League title race in years, and it can only help the Reds there first Premier League trophy.

Gerrard helped Liverpool claim Champions League glory in 2005 against AC Milan in one of the best matches of all time as Liverpool came from three goals behind to draw 3-3 and win the game on penalty’s, but it is the prestigious Premier League trophy that Gerrard now craves.

Gerrard has been at Liverpool for 16 and a half years and has yet to win the Premier League, the Liverpool skipper claiming words would not describe his feeling if Liverpool were to become champions.

“[Winning] it scares me really,” Gerrard told Sky Sports’ Geoff Shreves in an exclusive interview.

“I don’t know how I’d handle myself. When I won the Champions League, for the week after, talk about being on cloud nine, all your clichés, it’s even better than that.

“If I could add a Premier League title to my collection it would probably be the best day of my life besides my kids being born; I think it would almost top the Champions League because it’s the one I haven’t got.”

Only one team has finished outside of the top four with 21 wins in a season, that being Tottenham last season, and with Liverpool having 18 games to go and nine wins to reach that target Gerrard sees no reason why Liverpool can’t be in the Champions League next season.

“That gives us hope, I’m confident we can get that amount of wins to get us in the top four but it’s easier said than done,” he added.

“We’ve got some very difficult fixtures coming up but our home form is very good and if we can click away from home, I’m very confident we can get in there.

“If you offered me fourth spot now, yes [I would take it]. The reason I would take it is we’ve been out of the Champions League for so long, the chance to get Champions League football back here at Anfield, I’d snap your hands off.”

Gerrard was forced to miss the busy festive period through injury and admits it was difficult as it would be for any player, but was more disappointed due to Liverpool’s surprise title challenge so far.

“I think any footballer would echo being out is the worst time, you feel out of it, you don’t feel part of the group, it can be lonely when you’re in the gym doing your rehab,” he said.

“To be back in amongst the group and training and I’ve had some minutes, I’m ready to fire now, hopefully I’ll be in from the start.

“It was made worse because of the games I knew I was going to miss, Spurs away, City away, Chelsea away, three of the biggest games you play when you’re fighting for a top four position.

“When I got the scan results I was told four to six weeks initially, so I knew the whole of the Christmas period I wasn’t going to be available, so it was disappointing but even more so because of the games we were playing.”

Liverpool and England skipper believes that Liverpool can benefit from the closest Premier League table in years, starting against Stoke City on Sunday.

“I think the teams in the middle of the Premier League are very strong now, I think the league is improving year-by-year,” he added.

“It gives us a fantastic opportunity to stay in amongst it. If we find some consistency we believe we can take one of the top four places and that was our aim at the beginning of the season.

“I think from positions four down to 14 you’re in for a hell of a game, you’re not guaranteed to take maximum points.”

Gerrard believes that Liverpool’s away form must improve if they are to become genuine title contenders this season under Brendan Rodgers.

“I think the key is always your home form, over the years we’ve dropped silly points at home, teams have come to Anfield with an attitude of ‘we’ve got a chance’; but if you look at our home form under Brendan, it has been very strong and very consistent,” Gerrard said.

“If you get your home form right, then you can build on your away form. Our away form’s been a little bit inconsistent but that’s what we’re working on and if we can get that right we’ll be a force in this league.”

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Liverpool show interest in Turkish goal-machine

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Sterling: Rodgers can steer us back into Champions League this season

Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling believes that Brendan Rodgers can steer Liverpool back into the top four next season.

Liverpool have been out of the Champions League places since finishing second in the 2009-10 season but 18-year-old Sterling believes if Liverpool can produce the form that they achieved since the turn of the year into the whole of the next season then they will get back into the top four.

“We just need to get a good start to the next season and hopefully maintain that, and 100 per cent I think we’ve got a good chance of finishing in the top four,” said Sterling.

The Jamaican-born star was given his first England cap by Roy Hodsgen for England in a friendly against Sweden in November, but injury saw him sit out the end of the season.

“For me at Liverpool, 100 per cent it’s about cementing a starting place in the team, getting a good run of games and hopefully getting some goals for the club, and obviously assists as well,” said Sterling.

“If I do that then hopefully I’ll get a pick for the England squad.”

It was Kenny Daglish who gave the academy prospect his debut for the reds in a league match against Wigan towards the back end of the 2011-12 season-but it was Brendan Rodgers who put life into his career where he made 24 appearances in the league scoring 2 goals.

“I can’t talk any more highly of him as a person, not just as a manager,” he said of Rodgers.

“He’s a top guy. He’s one of those who isn’t only interested if you’re playing well at that moment. He looks at players who are not playing or young players.

“Liverpool should be really grateful they’ve got a manager like that.”

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Liverpool Managing Director Ian Ayre urges patience from Liverpool supporters

Liverpool Managing Director has stated that it could take up to three years for the reds to get back into the Champions League saying ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day.’

Ayre is pleased with the progress Liverpool have made under Brendan Rodgers-especially with the second half of the season. Although he has warned it could take up to three years to get back into the Champions League.

Liverpool improved on their eighth place finish under Kenny Daglish by finishing seventh in Brendan Rodgers maiden season at the helm. But it was the second half of the season where they impressed losing just the two games since the turn of the year.

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