GUARDIAN – Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino: a thiever of balls who never stops running | Marcus Christenson

The 23-year-old Brazilian arrives with a hefty price tag but his Bundesliga record is excellent and his work rate and application reminiscent of Luis SuárezIn December 2010 the Hoffenheim sporting director, Ernst Tanner, travelled to the east coast of Brazil to check out a player at the second division side Figueirense. The reports had been promising but Tanner did not know what to expect as he turned up for training to watch the young Roberto Firmino Barbosa de Oliveira.Afterwards, Tanner was not much the wiser. “It was strange because during some exercises he would just, without any apparent reason, just fold … but instead of making a big meal out of it and getting angry, he listened carefully to his coach and learned from what he had done wrong. That impressed me.” Related: Liverpool’s new signing Danny Ings prepares to play the numbers game Related: Liverpool announce signing of Joe Gomez from Charlton Athletic for £3.5m Continue reading…

ESPN – Frank Lampard’s extended Manchester City stay has proved to be a disaster

Manchester City midfielder Frank Lampard and Liverpool midfielder Steven Gerrard were honoured to receive Merit awards by the PFA for their stellar careers. Frank Lampard has been a bit player for Manuel Pellegrini since the start of the year. When the news was announced on New Year's Eve, it arrived as little surprise: Frank Lampard would be staying on as a Manchester City player after all. As 2015 began, a Lampard winner against Sunderland took City dead-level at the top of the Premier League with Chelsea on points, goal difference and goals scored. As a footballing decision, keeping the 36-year-old until the end of the season paid instant dividends. What soon followed, though, registered as a significant reverse to the umbrella…