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GUARDIAN – Liverpool 0-0 Bolton | FA Cup fourth round match report

Liverpool’s name did not join the litany of fourth-round heavyweight casualties but that was the limit of consolation for Brendan Rodgers. His team could not break the resistance of Bolton Wanderers or their goalkeeper Adam Bogdan and rarely reached the levels of Tuesday’s Capital One Cup semi-final against Chelsea but, on a day of profound shocks, they at least avoided becoming one more.Rodgers and Neil Lennon embraced on the final whistle while the Bolton chairman, Phil Gartside, punched the air at the thought of extra revenue from a replay. Bolton’s second chance was well earned. They defended resolutely, threatened occasionally on the counterattack and Bogdan provided a commanding foundation in goal. Continue reading…

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GUARDIAN – Brendan Rodgers eager for Glen Johnson’s Liverpool deal to be extended

• Manager believes defender wants solution to contract deadlock• ‘He wants security but is at one of the biggest clubs in the world’• Football Weekly Extra: a cup specialBrendan Rodgers has intervened in Glen Johnson’s contract stand-off with Liverpool to declare he wishes to keep the England defender at Anfield. The 30-year-old is a free agent this summer and eligible to sign a pre-contract agreement with a foreign club this month, having resisted Liverpool’s offer of a short-term extension on terms reduced from his £120,000-a-week wage.Liverpool’s offer was made late last season but Johnson wanted a longer-term deal and said in November that he was “not going to go crawling to anybody”. An impasse remains between the two parties but Rodgers has hinted a resolution that once appeared highly unlikely could happen and urged Liverpool to extend the right-back’s six-year career at Anfield. Continue reading…

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GUARDIAN – Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson and Chelsea’s Diego Costa in tunnel bust-up

• Rivals square up after heated Capital One Cup semi-final• No punches thrown but players had to be separated• Match report: Liverpool 1-1 ChelseaJordan Henderson and Diego Costa almost came to blows in the Anfield tunnel as Liverpool’s Capital One Cup semi-final against Chelsea ended in acrimony.The Liverpool midfielder had to be separated from the Chelsea striker by a member of his club’s backroom staff after the pair squared up following Tuesday’s first leg. No punches were thrown by Costa or Henderson but they pushed each other and were engaged in a furious argument. Continue reading…

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GUARDIAN – Thibaut Courtois: ‘Chelsea squad strong enough to win the quadruple’

• Keeper says team can win all trophies this season• ‘It will be difficult, but I think we have the team to do it’• Liverpool 1-1 Chelsea – Capital One Cup semi-final first leg• Rodgers insists Liverpool can overcome Blues in return legThibaut Courtois has said Chelsea can win a clean sweep of European and domestic honours and are being spurred towards that goal by the memory of finishing last season empty-handed.The Chelsea goalkeeper produced a commanding performance in Tuesday’s Capital One Cup semi-final first leg at Liverpool on his return from injury. While Liverpool produced the stronger display on the night, Courtois’ defiance in the 1-1 draw ensured José Mourinho’s team will be confident of reaching the 1 March final with victory in next week’s second leg at Stamford Bridge. Continue reading…

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GUARDIAN – Brendan Rodgers gets Liverpool to close the gap on Chelsea | Andy Hunter

Liverpool were close to beating Chelsea in this semi-final but Emre Can was still stretched to the limit in defence• Minute by minute report: Liverpool 1-1 ChelseaTo become a genuine rival and former friend of José Mourinho, as Brendan Rodgers admits his job necessitates, Liverpool must get under Chelsea’s skin as they regularly did in the days when Rafael Benítez was at Anfield and would have laughed at the notion of one day being in charge at Stamford Bridge. The Capital One Cup semi-final may be finely poised but represented a significant step forward for Liverpool in respect of a rivalry.At Anfield in November, Rodgers’ team were a distant second best to a Chelsea team coasting at the Premier League summit on an unbeaten run. Two months on they were unfortunate not to take a lead into next Tuesday’s second leg at Stamford Bridge and to give their manager the victory he has long craved over his former club and the man who appointed him Chelsea youth team manager in 2004. Continue reading…

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