METRO – Transfer window live blog – January 7th 2013

Will QPR boss Redknapp be frustrated in his pursuit for new recruits? (Picture: Action Images) It’s the morning after the FA Cup weekend before, and clubs are expected back at the negotiating table for another hectic week of the January transfer window – all of which we’ll bring to you right here at Metro. Whether your team is after a striker to fire them up the table, or a defender to stop them slipping down it, this is your one-stop shop for all the goings-on across the Premier League. There have already been plenty of moves so far in the window, with Daniel Sturridge, Joe Cole and Demba Ba already proving to be shrewd signings for Liverpool, West Ham and Chelsea respectively. But there’s still plenty more to be resolved, with Theo Walcott, Nani, Marouane Fellaini, Wilfried Zaha and Radamel Falcao just a few of the top names being linked with headline-grabbing moves this month. Metro’s Sport team will be providing regular updates and inside tips on what’s happening in the window, and you can leave your views by dropping a comment below.

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GUARDIAN – Hearts 0-1 Liverpool | Europa League play-off round first leg

Brendan Rodgers is perfectly open about the fact that the Europa League is not anywhere near the summit of his priorities during his first season in charge at Anfield. By his own admission, a “small” Liverpool squad ensure that.Yet Liverpool’s manager will be grateful for an instant response from his players – in terms of result at least – to Saturday’s humbling at the hands of West Bromwich Albion. Avoiding embarrassment, and more negative discussion, from a visit to Edinburgh was Rodgers’s main aim. Mission accomplished on that front.Rodgers selected only four of the players who started that 3-0 defeat at the Hawthorns for the first leg of this play-off tie. Hearts’ youngsters are worthy of credit for their display against more illustrious opposition but they still face a massive task in overturning this tie next week on Merseyside. An own goal from Andy Webster sealed Liverpool’s 1-0 win against the Scottish Cup holders, even if Hearts could reasonably argue they were good value for at least a draw.In the first period particularly, Hearts strongly belied any sense this was a mis-match. By full time the Hearts players were deserving of the warm ovation they received from their supporters. Hearts had plenty cause for trepidation as they prepared for a first meeting with Liverpool since an Anfield friendly in 1929.A year ago, Tottenham Hotspur arrived at Tynecastle for a Europa League play-off first leg and swaggered back across the border with a 5-0 win. That evening provided the latest, harrowing reminder of how comparisons between prominent clubs in England and Scotland have been rendered illegitimate by a financial gulf.Albeit Liverpool fielded an infinitely weaker team here than Spurs did then, Hearts have been blunted by the loss of key players at the end of last season because of budgetary constraints. John McGlynn was appointed as the Hearts manager this summer with firefighting in mind.Hearts will at least have felt the monetary benefit of this occasion. From the kick-off, the hosts’ mission was to prove they would not be as overawed as when Tottenham came to visit. That previous, wounding episode had doused expectation around these parts even if that was not clear in the midst of a rousing atmosphere.Andy Carroll took a seat in the Tynecastle directors’ box after being ruled out of this fixture with a hamstring complaint. Rodgers had brought the former Newcastle United striker north with the intention of starting him. It may be of slight interest to Newcastle that Carroll is not, therefore, cup tied for this competition.In Carroll’s absence, Fabio Borini led the Liverpool attack. Yet the first glimpse of an opening fell to Hearts, John Sutton only narrowly failed to capitalise on a lax Jamie Carragher backpass. Charlie Adam responded immediately, with a driving run and shot that had the home goalkeeper Jamie MacDonald scrambling. Pepe Reina needed a more spectacular save at the opposite end, thereby denying Arvydas Novikovas what would have been a wonderful opening goal.Liverpool’s most menacing early threats arrived from Raheem Sterling, their 17-year-old attacker. His 29th minute angled shot forced MacDonald to punch to safety. An even better opportunity fell to Borini, who failed to properly connect with a fine Jordan Henderson cross.Hearts were afforded an astonishing let-off just seconds before the interval. After Mehdi Taouil cheaply gifted possession to Liverpool, Sterling played in Borini with only MacDonald to beat. The Italian did that but watched his fierce shot rebound from a post.The second half lacked the routinely frantic pace of the first. Liverpool made the first move at raising the tempo by withdrawing Jack Robinson and sending Stewart Downing on as a replacement. Joe Allen was the next to appear, Jay Spearing sacrificed by Rodgers on that occasion.McGlynn lacked the options of his counterpart. Nonetheless, even with half an hour to play it was easy to infer both sides would settle for a goalless draw. MacDonald and Reina had virtually been reduced to onlookers amid a lot of untidy midfield scuffling.The crucial goal arrived in similarly scrappy circumstances. Martin Kelly found sufficient space on the right flank to throw a low cross into dangerous territory. The ball rather struck Webster more than flew into the Hearts net on account of any attempt at a clearance. Webster’s colleagues had made an equally significant error by not clearing the danger earlier.McGlynn was always likely to lack the attacking artillery to mount a strong home response, and so it proved. The Hearts substitute Andrew Driver spurned his team’s best hope of salvation. From a Ryan McGowan cross, the winger just proved unable to secure the connection to turn the ball beyond Reina. Liverpool’s goalkeeper saved well from Callum Paterson in the dying seconds.Victory belonged to the visitors, to the relief of Rodgers. For Hearts, there is knowledge in defeat that they will travel to Liverpool with hope and with pride intact.Europa LeagueHeartsLiverpoolEwan Murrayguardian.co.uk © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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