The Guardian

GUARDIAN – Brendan Rodgers’ tweaks to talented trio is key to Liverpool’s success

Brendan Rodgers’s tactical tinkering has been crucial to Liverpool’s fast starts to gamesA contest against relegation-threatened Norwich City was not the most daunting tactical test for the champions elect but Brendan Rodgers was forced to cope without two star players at Carrow Road.Jordan Henderson had missed only 21 minutes of Liverpool’s Premier League campaign this season but was suspended following last week’s dismissal in the dramatic 3-2 victory over Manchester City while Daniel Sturridge out injured has formed a prolific partnership with Luis Surez, the major reason for Liverpool’s title charge. Liverpool have an excellent starting XI but not great strength in depth, so this was a genuine challenge. Continue reading…

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The Guardian

GUARDIAN – Liverpool’s Brendan Rodgers salutes his team of vote-winners

Liverpool have more than one contender for player of the year, which could split the vote, but the manager is more interested in the improvement of all his players as title race hots upLiverpool’s visit to Norwich on Sunday may be an Istanbul-sized psychological obstacle for the title challengers to overcome, if Steven Gerrard’s analogy is accurate, yet the Premier League leaders do possess a not-so-secret weapon to boost confidence at Carrow Road.Luis Surez has scored 11 goals in four games against the Canaries, including four goals at Anfield in December and hat-tricks on his previous two trips to East Anglia. Just one goal on Sunday would take the Premier League’s leading goalscorer to 30 for the season and strengthen an already solid case for the player of the year award. Continue reading…

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The Guardian

GUARDIAN – Brendan Rodgers: Steven Gerrard is Europe’s best controlling midfielder

Manager says Liverpool captain deserves more praise ‘I would not swap Gerrard for anyone at the moment’Brendan Rodgers believes Steven Gerrard’s leadership skills have taken the focus from his outstanding form during Liverpool’s title challenge and insisted he would not swap his captain for any playmaker in Europe.The 33-year-old has been instrumental in Liverpool’s surge for a first league title since 1990 having adapted superbly to the holding midfield role he was given by Rodgers in January. Gerrard’s influence at Liverpool was demonstrated again following last Sunday’s crucial victory over Manchester City when he called his team-mates into a huddle and demanded they “go again” at Norwich City on Sunday. Continue reading…

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The Guardian

GUARDIAN – Players get it right by having Luis Suárez on the PFA award shortlist | Paul Doyle

His diving and ill-judged outbursts grate but for football reasons Suárez deserves a nomination alongside Eden Hazard, Steven Gerrard, Adam Lallana, Daniel Sturridge and Yaya TouréPresenting player of the year awards before the season has reached its most important stage is a lot like tipping a taxi driver before he has finished explaining how to right society’s wrongs, but that’s how it is and there’s nothing we can do about it here. All we can do now is discuss whether the players have picked the right people on the shortlist for the Professional Footballers’ Association’s award. The answer is yes. Well, Luis Surez is on the list and that’s the main thing.There was a fear that Surez would be shunned by his peers on the grounds that he can be a frightful coot. His diving and ill-judged outbursts certainly grate. But judge him solely on his footballing performances and the Uruguayan is a natural wonder on a par with a clicking porpoises and gnashing tigers. Surez can take your breath away. Continue reading…

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The Guardian

GUARDIAN – PFA Player of the Year award shortlist: Gerrard and Lallana nominated

Hazard, Sturridge, Suárez and Touré also on shortlist Barkley and Sterling among nominations for youth awardSteven Gerrard, Eden Hazard, Adam Lallana, Daniel Sturridge, Luis Surez and Yaya Tour are the six players nominated for this year’s Professional Footballers’ Association’s Players’ Player of the Year award. Continue reading…

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The Guardian

GUARDIAN – Premier League: 10 things to look out for this weekend | Paul Doyle

Arsenal’s grey clouds lifting, Sturridge’s injury benefiting Suárez, Pellegrini under pressure and Pulis the great entertainerArsenal have won just two of their last eight matches but they will arrive for this one in upbeat form. Not only will the sight of Hull remind them that they will soon contest an FA Cup final and perhaps end their epic trophy-drought, but Everton’s surprising defeat to Crystal Palace has given Arsenal a boost in the chase for the last Champions League spot meaning that, like last season and contrary to the stereotype, Arsenal could take advantage of another team’s bottling. Hull, meanwhile, still need a victory to confirm their Premier League survival and Steve Bruce will likely give Shane Long and Nikica Jelavic the chance to shoot past Wojciech Szczesny none of that trio are likely to feature in the final so all talk of a dress rehearsal for Wembley is to be treated with the contempt that all cliches deserve, at the end of the day. Continue reading…

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