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LFC players round up, final group games

Captain fantastic, Steven Gerrard, was at his very best against UkraineOut of Liverpool’s 7 representatives at Euro 2012, only 4 managed to make an appearance in the final round of games of the tournament’s group stages, one of those being a 7 minute cameo for big Andy Carroll at the end of England’s crucial 1-0 victory over co-hosts Ukraine.

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By Christopher Burn

Captain fantastic, Steven Gerrard, was at his very best against UkraineOut of Liverpool’s 7 representatives at Euro 2012, only 4 managed to make an appearance in the final round of games of the tournament’s group stages, one of those being a 7 minute cameo for big Andy Carroll at the end of England’s crucial 1-0 victory over co-hosts Ukraine.

Andy Carroll

I will start this round up with Andy Carroll, I was somewhat irked by his exclusion from the starting line-up for Tuesday night’s encounter with the Ukrainians, with a goal in the win against Sweden capping a fine performance leading England’s Front line I thought he was surely a shoe in. Roy Hodgson will have his reasons for leaving big Andy on the bench, one of them being quite understandable, Rooney, one of England’s mainstays coming back into the side needed a partner and Roy would obviously believe that his club strike partner would provide the best combination, like I say understandable.

Andy Carroll came into the game with 7 minutes remaining of normal time, replacing Wellbeck , who in my opinion appeared yet again to be out of his depth at International level. Wellbeck is clearly a talented player, but so far has somewhat failed to make his presence known to the defenders of the three other teams that make up Group D, Carroll reminded us in his short 7 minute run out that he has no such problem, he put himself about, instantly putting pressure on the backline of Ukraine, winning aerial battles, putting in well timed challenges, holding the ball and bringing the midfield players into the game. There were also shouts for a penalty as Andy was shoved to the ground when the Ukranians resorted to fouling the big man, not being able to meet his power in the air.

Only 7 minutes but yet another encouraging performance in front of the watching world, surely a shout for the Italy game.

Glen Johnson

Glen Johnson, another one of England’s Mr. Dependables at the back. Ukraine were barely a threat down the England right, mainly down to Johnson’s reliability, something that seems be missing in the eyes of many England supporters. Glen was always tight to his man, ensuring that a pass or cross worth of note was possible, he never looked flustered on the ball either, finding his England teammates with consummate ease as he had in the previous two matches.

Glen Johnson, much like Ashley Cole on the left is more noted for his ability going forward, overlapping and getting quality crosses into the forwards, he did not provide much of this part of his game on Tuesday night, venturing forward only a handful of times as Roy clearly put the shackles on him and likewise with Cole on the other side, not losing being the mantra. Glen however managed to venture forward a few times and supplied 3 Successful crosses and won 2 free kicks in the final third.

Glen is clearly a top notch Right Back and has been one of Englands better performers so far, offering a cool head and reliable defensive work, an obvious choice to start at right back in the Quarter Final.

Daniel Agger

Switching to Denmark for a moment, a team that includes our very own super Danny Agger. In my opinion Agger has so far been the tournaments best defender in one of the tournaments worst defenses, he has never put a foot wrong and has prevented Denmark from being on the end of some heavy defeats.

In Denmark’s third and final game of the Euros, Agger was Denmark’s stand out performer, making several last ditch tackles to halt the German’s impressive attack, cleaning up mistakes made by his Centre Back Partner Kjear and covering the gaping hole left by his ill disciplined Left Back Poulsen. On a number of Occasions Danny Agger went head to head with Gomez in the air and came out on top as well as making a nuisance of himself in the opposition area from set pieces.

What we know Agger for at Liverpool is his ball playing prowess, his ability to bring the ball out of the back and start an attack, he didn’t hide any of this ability as he played pass after pass after pass, whilst under the tireless chasing pressure of the German forwards.

I am definitely looking forward to seeing Danny Agger produce the same type of performances in the red shirt of Liverpool next season as part of a good Brendan Rodgers passing side.

Steven Gerrard

Wow, yet again Super Stevie G shows the world why he is Captain Fantastic, putting in another top class performance, leading his team to victory in an inspiring way. Stevie has easily been England’s best player so far and certainly was in the final group game Vs Ukraine, playing a fifth of England’s passes at a success rate of 90.6%. Our Captain along with Parker worked very hard at protecting the England back line, he put in several good challenges, only giving away one foul (probably very unlucky to have seen the foul given and the yellow card received for it).

Stats are stats and only tell so much of a story, Stevie G’s leadership cannot be described solely by stats but also by what we see with our own eyes, throughout the game against Ukraine he was a constant communicator, telling his colleagues exactly where to be, where to pass, to pick up their effort. But Gerrard also leads by example, chasing a lost cause or injecting that one moment of quality, this came when in the 48th minute he found himself in possession of the ball on the right channel, he incredibly turned the hapless Ukrainian fullback inside out with a delicate touch and a powerful stride before delivering a devastating ball into the heart of the Ukrainian penalty area, such was the quality of the delivery even 3 defenders and a goalkeeper failed to deal with it enough to prevent the returning Wayne Rooney from greatfully  nodding home from close range.

So going into Sundays Quarter Final match Vs Italy we know one thing, Super Stevie G will be there to rely on, to drag us and his team through their challenge, whatever the outcome may be.

Let us know your thoughts by commenting below, by Facebook or tweeting us @TheKopTimes2

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Jurgen Klopp dispels injury concern after surprise substitution against Southampton

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Xherdan Shaqiri

Xherdan Shaqiri started for Liverpool in the clash against Southampton and was instrumental in our a 3-0 lead at half-time.

His shot was turned into the net by Wesley Hoedt for our first goal and his free-kick was slotted into an open net by Mohamed Salah for our third.

It was a little surprising that Jurgen Klopp decided to take the Swiss star off at half-time and replace him with James Milner.

Shaqiri was our most impressive attacker on Saturday as he played an advanced role behind our front three.

However, Milner came onto the pitch and we played with three central midfielders, something Klopp has used to great effect throughout his time at Liverpool.

The German spoke to the club’s official website as he explained he wanted more control in the game and that’s why he took Shaqiri off.

“I said to Shaq at half-time that I had never brought a player off after such an influential time without an injury. He is not injured. But I wanted to control the game and go back to our normal formation. And that helped, we really controlled it.”

The manager further added that it was not easy to make the change, given how influential Shaqiri was in the first half.

Klopp did explain the change to Shaq but playing the Swiss star had an impact on our defence and that was a problem for the manager.

“The only problem was defensively. Offensively, it was a good idea but, how I said, we have to work on that more often. But he was good and I liked it.”

Read more: Shaqiri shines: Player ratings as Liverpool defeat Southampton 3-0

The 26-year-old had a fantastic game and it will be great to see him play more games if he can have the same sort of impact in the coming months.

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Stats prove this Liverpool star is back to his best after win against Southampton

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Mohamed Salah

Mohamed Salah scored in the 3-0 win over Southampton but he could have gotten a few more too. The Egyptian was unlucky that a goal was called offside and also had a brilliant backheel just going wide of the post.

The former AS Roma forward hasn’t looked as sharp as he did last season but Sky Sports shared some stats that prove otherwise.

The forward is still some way off matching his 32 goals from last season in the Premier League but now, he has three to his name.

What will come as a major relief, however, is that the 25-year-old is getting into the right places to score. The forward was brilliant but that little bit of luck was missing when it came to his finishing.

He did score our third goal against the Saints as he reacted to Xherdan Shaqiri’s free-kick and that just proves he is hungry as ever to get on the scoresheet.

Fortunately for Liverpool, we have goals coming in from other positions too. Joel Matip got one yesterday, while we have also seen James Milner, Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Georginio Wijnaldum score multiple times this season.

Liverpool and the Egyptian haven’t looked as sharp as they did last season but that is a good sign for the coming months.

Read more: “I’ll donate my ribs”, “He has 18 ribs” – Some Liverpool fans relieved star player doesn’t have major injury

The Reds are on top of the Premier League and once Salah starts banging the goals in, we should win games more comfortably.

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Stat proves Liverpool have made Anfield a fortress as Liverpool beat Southampton 3-0

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Liverpool made it seven wins a row in all competitions on Saturday after beating Southampton 3-0. The Reds were barely troubled by the Saints as an own goal from Wesley Hoedt opened the scoring for us.

Joel Matip got the second before Mohamed Salah finished the scoring in the first half to keep us at the top of the Premier League.

The win saw us register our fourth clean sheet of the season but also brought up another stat regarding our domination of teams at Anfield.

Liverpool didn’t lose a single Premier League game at home last season and have continued that form in this campaign too.

The only concern for us has to be the draws at Anfield. Last season, we dropped a number of points despite taking the lead in games.

Everton and Tottenham were a couple of teams that pulled off draws at our home but this season has a different feel for the Reds.

This is the first time we have won our opening seven games in the history of the club. And we should break a few more records along the way.

Our next clash is in the Carabao Cup against Chelsea at Anfield and it will be interesting to see how it goes against our title rivals.

Read more: “Imperious performance”, “Already a better career than Charlie Adam” – Some Liverpool fans go crazy after brilliant first-half by summer signing

We face the Blues next weekend in a huge Premier League clash as well and hopefully, the Reds will come up with all three points at Stamford Bridge and continue our march.

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