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  • zocoss's Avatar
    25,008 posts since Sep '05
    • Group A: Man United, Shakhtar Donetsk, Bayer Leverkusen, Real Sociedad

      Group B: Real Madrid, Juventus, Galatasaray, FC Copenhagen

      Group C: Benfica, PSG, Olympiakos, Anderlecht

      Group D: Bayern Munich, CSKA Moscow, Man City, Viktoria Plzen

      Group E: Chelsea, Schalke, FC Basel, Steaua Bucharest

      Group F: Arsenal, Marseille, Borussia Dortmund, Napoli

      Group G: FC Porto, Atletico Madrid, Zenit St Petersburg, Austria Vienna

      Group H: Barcelona, AC Milan, Ajax, Celtic

  • zocoss's Avatar
    25,008 posts since Sep '05
    • Any good steamboat place to recommend?

      Last time East Coast Parkway got the very good Satay Bee Hoon steamboat but now it’s gone, changed to some Hong Kong stuff restaurant… What a pity.

      Anyone know where it’s gone to or a new place similar to it?

      Anyway, what’s with this forum now? I can’t seem to post without clicking on that Visual box on the top right side and can’t post any image/pictures here now since I change to Win 7? That time gave up then went MIA from this forum for sometime now. Last time using XP no problem leh. Any tech guy know why? lol.

  • zocoss's Avatar
    25,008 posts since Sep '05
  • zocoss's Avatar
    25,008 posts since Sep '05
    • Mancini Kop blast

      NO FAIR ... Mancini was unhappy with Liverpool's decision to play on
      NO FAIR ... Mancini was unhappy with Liverpool's decision to play on

      MANCHESTER CITY boss Roberto Mancini accused Liverpool of breaking one of football’s unwritten rules.

      The Reds refused to kick the ball out while Edin Dzeko lay injured and former City man Daniel Sturridge smacked in the equaliser.

      The match ended 2-2, meaning the champions are now nine points adrift of leaders Manchester United, and Mancini was unhappy with Liverpool and ref Anthony Taylor.

      He said: “They should probably have stopped. Dzeko was on the floor, we didn’t know what had happened.

      “After this foul we had 15 seconds before the goal but this can happen.

      “For the first goal, I’m disappointed. If Vincent Kompany did that, it’d probably be a red card but the ref gave nothing.

      “The linesman for 10 minutes saw everything for Liverpool but he didn’t see this. Refs are making mistakes every game.”

      Sturridge says Reds had got the go-ahead from ref Taylor to continue playing despite Dzeko being down.

      The England forward did kick the ball out for a similar incident in the second half but insisted it was the right call for his goal.

      He said: “The ref said ‘Don’t kick the ball out’. Sometimes you do fair play for the opposition but don’t get the same back.”

      Sturridge is set to miss England’s friendly with Brazil on Wednesday after picking up a thigh injury.

      Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers said: “Daniel has a dead thigh. He’ll struggle for England.”

      Manchester United midfield ace Michael Carrick has already pulled out of the friendly after suffering a hip injury.

  • zocoss's Avatar
    25,008 posts since Sep '05
    • I hope rafa stays... as we still need a comedian in the epl.

      But more importantly, he being here at chelsea makes them a lesser threat to the title challenge. So United only have City to deal with... tongue.png

  • zocoss's Avatar
    25,008 posts since Sep '05
    • In the end, i couldn't ask for a better result... Pool couldn't get full points and still haven't beaten a team above them in the league... And City dropped 2 more points making it 9 now to United... Laughing

      The Press is calling Aguero's goal as "Out of this world" and perhaps a strong contender for goal of the season... So far this, that Stoke goal and Bale's solo run stands out the most.



      Man City 2 Liverpool 2:

      Sturridge's strike was super

      Gerrard's was even greater...

      but Aguero's was out of this world!

      Sergio shows his class

      Edited by zocoss 04 Feb `13, 9:28AM
  • zocoss's Avatar
    25,008 posts since Sep '05
    • Sack 2 managers within a season? That would be a record even in Roman's standard i think... But Rafa really seems lost. And if not for the Arsenal, Everton and Spurs keep losing points themselves, Chelsea wouldn't be in 3rd by now... Lucky rafa.

  • zocoss's Avatar
    25,008 posts since Sep '05
    • 1-1 So far so good... Hope Pool manage to get somthing out of this match and see City lose more points...wink.png

  • zocoss's Avatar
    25,008 posts since Sep '05
    • Match Report: Rafael Benitez in denial as Moussa Sissoko and Newcastle United expose the truth about Chelsea

      Newcastle United 3 Chelsea 2: Newcastle are sparked into life by their new French connection


      Moussa Sissoko

      French fancy: Moussa Sissoko scored twice on his debut



      You can, at least, not fault the defiance of Rafa Benitez. He again proved immovable, unlike his side. "We could have won every single game we draw or we lost, every single game," he insisted after yesterday's defeat. "In all the games we had chances and played good football in the majority of them. When we couldn't we still had chances to win."

      Fact: Chelsea have picked up 22 points from a possible 39 during his reign, two points less than Roberto di Matteo picked up from one less game this season.

      "We are trying to finish in the top four, or top three, and we can," added Benitez. "We are still looking up towards Manchester City. With some players coming back I think we have more options. When we are in form and doing well we can beat anyone."

      Fact: Chelsea have won three games out of their previous 10 in all competitions.

      "I was really pleased with the reaction of the players," said the interim manager of Chelsea. "That is the main thing for me. The players showed character in the second half. It means something is right. If we cannot control these games, it is something we will have to improve."

      Fact: they were gun-ho, leaving gaping holes all over their defence and allowing Newcastle to fight back from a lost position.

      With Rafa there is always a "but".

      Frank Lampard's goal tally reached double figures for the 10th season running, a quite phenomenal achievement, with a breathtaking strike in the 54th minute

      "I'm here to talk about the game," said Benitez when asked about the fact Lampard is set to leave Stamford Bridge in the summer.

      There was, and indeed still is, some sympathy for Benitez. His looked a losing hand when he succeeded Di Matteo.

      Yesterday, a crucial decision went against him. Demba Ba had seen a shot saved by Tim Krul when the ball came back to him in the Newcastle penalty area. He headed the rebound narrowly wide. As he lowered his head, Fabricio Coloccini's desperate attempt at a saving tackle saw him smash his former team-mate in the face.

      "We couldn't change the situation of Demba Ba," he added. "It was a penalty and a red card for me. In the middle of the park [it would be] carry on, go back, free-kick. In the penalty area [it would be] carry on, go back, penalty and red card. It would have changed the game. We lost one player with a broken nose.

      "It is something we have to consider. In other circumstances everybody would be talking about this. I want to remind you that that happened. Sometimes we don't remember these things. After watching the replay it is very clear. A player with a nose broken and bleeding for five minutes I think is good evidence. Demba has a broken nose and we will have to wait and see."

      Ba received lengthy treatment. Eventually, with his face taped up, he returned to the game. It was short- lived. By the time he was forced to leave the field, to cruel jeers from the majority of Newcastle supporters, his new club were behind. Davide Santon had crossed from the left and Jonas Gutierrez stole in ahead of a flat-footed John Terry to glance a header past Petr Cech.

      Lampard had missed a fine opportunity after just quarter-of-an-hour but on 55 minutes made amends in style, crashing a 25-yard shot past Krul. At that point Benitez was correct. Chelsea took control. A second, delightful goal would come their way just past the hour, Fernando Torres, who entered as Ba went off, laid the ball to Juan Mata and the finish was precise, curling into the top corner of the Newcastle goal.

      At this point Benitez needed his new team for once to speak up for his endless work on the training ground. They did not.

      Moussa Sissoko, the January signing from Toulouse, had become an increasing presence in the game. In the 68th minute, when fellow home debutant Yoan Gouffran broke free of an absent Chelsea defence and saw his shot parried by Cech, Sissoko was there to equalise.

      That was the end for the visitors. Newcastle had new energy. In the 90th minute Sissoko passed to Santon, took the return and drilled a fierce, low drive into Cech's goal.

      "It is undoubtedly the game of the season," said Alan Pardew. "It was fabulous. I do not think we will better that. When you play the top sides, it is important to knock them out of their stride.

      "We got the goal and in the second half Chelsea came out and showed why they had such fabulous players. We struggled for 15 minutes. They were two unbelievable goals. It can knock the stuffing out of sides but we didn't let that happen. We had intelligence. We got a breakaway and then we were back in the game. It was a fantastic winning goal. It nearly took the roof off. The whole team was magnificent. Sissoko? I don't really need to say too much. His performance spoke for itself."

      Something Benitez's Chelsea still cannot do.



      Chelsea's results in their last 3 matches.

      Brentford  2-2

      Reading  2-2

      Newcastle  2-3

  • zocoss's Avatar
    25,008 posts since Sep '05
    • Sterling charged with assaulting woman, 27, in Liverpool and he's heading for adult court despite alleged incident happening when he was 17

      Accused: Raheem Sterling has been charged with assaulting a woman in Liverpool

      Accused: Raheem Sterling has been charged with assaulting a woman in Liverpool





      Liverpool star Raheem Sterling has been charged with assaulting a woman.

      The 18-year-old winger was summonsed to Liverpool Youth Court today on a charge of common assault.

      The Jamaica-born footballer, who lives in Woolton, Liverpool, did not attend the hearing and solicitor Mick Hogan appeared on his behalf.

      Police said a 27-year-old woman, who is known to the footballer, suffered 'slight' facial injuries during an alleged incident in Toxteth, on November 2.

      During today's short hearing Mr Hogan told the court that Sterling denies the allegation.

      He said the alleged offence took place when the footballer was 17 but, as he turned 18 in December, the matter should be transferred to the adult courts.

      Mr Hogan said: 'I do have instructions to the effect that Mr Sterling will be pleading not guilty to this charge.

      'He is aware of today's hearing and the club are very supportive.'

      The move to the adult courts was supported by the prosecution and Chairman of the Bench Brian Upton adjourned the matter to Liverpool Magistrates' Court on February 22.

      Sterling made his senior international debut for England last November against Sweden and has earned plaudits for his performances for Liverpool this season.

      The youngster recently signed a new deal with the Anfield outfit after several months of wrangling.

      Speaking to Mail Online earlier this month, Sterling said: 'I've become a better all-round person, especially in how I live my life off the pitch these days. And I've learned to be more selective with the people who I trust.

      'The people close to me now are good for me, I've learned from the experiences I had growing up, from the people who weren't there for me. I now listen to my elders at home and at the club. I take on board what these people tell me.'

  • zocoss's Avatar
    25,008 posts since Sep '05
    • GAME 24 & 25


      EPL - Match 24 & 25 - January 29 / 30 / Feb 2 / 3 Fixtures







      Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

      Queens Park Rangers v Manchester City      3:45    mio   102

      Aston Villa v Newcastle United      3:45    mio   103

      Sunderland v Swansea City      3:45    mio   104

      Stoke City v Wigan Athletic      3:45    mio   105


      Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

      Arsenal v Liverpool       3:45    mio   105


      Manchester United v Southampton     4:00    mio   103


      Reading v Chelsea       4:00    mio   104


      Norwich City v Tottenham Hotspur     3:45    mio   105


      Everton v West Bromwich Albion      3:45    mio   106


      Fulham v West Ham United       4:00    mio   107





      Saturday, February 2nd, 2013


      Queens Park Rangers v Norwich City     8:45    mio   102


      Newcastle United v Chelsea     11:00    mio   102


      Arsenal v Stoke City        3:45    mio   103


      Everton v Aston Villa     11:00    mio   104


      Reading v Sunderland     11:00    mio   105


      West Ham United v Swansea City     11:00    mio   106


      Wigan Athletic v Southampton     11:00    mio   107


      Fulham v Manchester United       1:30    mio   102



      Sunday, February 3rd, 2013


      West Bromwich Albion v Tottenham Hotspur         9:30    mio   102

      Manchester City v Liverpool          12:00    mio   102




      Edited by zocoss 29 Jan `13, 10:14AM
  • zocoss's Avatar
    25,008 posts since Sep '05
    • Saints steal a march on Liverpool after £10.2m Coutinho bid is accepted by Inter

      Wanted man: Both Southampton and Liverpool have bid for Coutinho

      Wanted man: Both Southampton and Liverpool have bid for Coutinho




      Southampton have leapfrogged Liverpool in the race to sign Philippe Coutinho from Inter Milan after having a £10.2million bid accepted for the midfielder.

      The rival offer comes as Barcelona express an interest in signing Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina, 30, but in the summer window as a replacement for the departing Victor Valdes.

      Liverpool will step up interest in goalkeeping targets as they prepare for his departure but more pressing is the negotiations with Inter for Coutinho.

      They had a £6.3m offer rejected for the Brazilian last Friday and have improved that bid to £8m.

      They will now have to match Southampton's package to stand a chance of luring Coutinho to Merseyside. Southampton manager Maurico Pochettino had the 20-year-old on loan at Espanyol last season.

      West Brom, meanwhile, are weighing up a loan for Liverpool's out of favour defender Sebastian Coates after allowing Craig Dawson to join Bolton on loan. West Brom boss Steve Clarke worked with Coates at Anfield. Wigan are also in the frame.

  • zocoss's Avatar
    25,008 posts since Sep '05
    • <!-- Affiliate Code Do NOT Modify -->  <!-- End affiliate Code-->

      Hazard horror: Chelsea's Eden shown a red card for kicking ball boy at Swansea


      OUCH! ... Eden Hazard appears to kick out at Swansea ballboy



      Swansea reach first major final


      Hazard red for kicking ballboy




      Hazard sees red for KICKING ballboy







      EDEN HAZARD was forced to issue a grovelling apology after seeing red in extraordinary circumstances when he KICKED a ballboy during Swansea’s Capital One Cup defeat of Chelsea.

      The Belgian star said: "The boy put his whole body on to the ball and I was just trying to kick the ball. I think I kicked the ball and not the boy. I apologise.

      "The ballboy came in the changing room and we had a quick chat and I apologised and the boy apologised as well. It is over. Sorry."

      The debacle took place when Charlie Morgan, 17, son of Swansea director Martin, pounced on the ball after it ran out for a Swansea goal kick in the 78th minute.

      Desperate to see play restarted, Hazard ran up to the lad who seemed to lie on top of the ball. 

      The midfielder then grappled with Morgan and, after failing to wrestle the ball from his grasp, appeared to kick him in the STOMACH, leaving him rolling on the floor in agony.

      With the young lad helped off to receive treatment, referee Chris Foy had no choice but to show Hazard a straight red card.

      In another bizarre twist, Morgan had earlier bragged about his plans to waste time as a ballboy during the game when he tweeted just hours before kick-off. 

      Chelsea showed little sympathy for the lad on their official Twitter account, tweeting firmly in support of their player moments after Hazard was sent off.

      They wrote: “Has football gone mad? Hazard is sent off for kicking the ball under a ball boy attempting to smother the ball rather than return it.”

      The club later apologised for their tweet and boss Rafa Benitez confirmed that Morgan and Hazard had apologised to each other after the game.

      Benitez said: “They both talked. The boy knows he was wasting time. Hazard was frustrated and trying to get the ball back.

      “We can not change the situation. We are disappointed because we lost a player.

      “The best thing for us is to move forward.”



      ED CASE ... Edin Hazard tries to get ball back from the ballboy
      ED CASE ... Edin Hazard tries to get ball back from the ballboy




      The incident overshadowed a remarkable night for Swansea who booked their spot in a major final for the first time in the club's history.

      Boss Michael Laudrup said: “We know this is going to take some of our headlines.

      “But we have to try to understand what was going through the head of the player.

      “I was a player and I can understand he was frustrated and wanted the boy to give him the ball. But there are some things that you can never do.”

      Swansea later announced that South Wales Police had interviewed Morgan and his father but they had decided not to press further charges.

      Edited by zocoss 24 Jan `13, 9:58AM
  • zocoss's Avatar
    25,008 posts since Sep '05
    • Materazzi a ‘liar’, says Rafa

      Benitez rages at Sir Alex and calls Materazzi a liar TEN times in astonishing rant

      Anger management: Rafa Benitez takes Chelsea training on Tuesday  
      Anger management: Rafa Benitez takes Chelsea training on Tuesday

      Anger management: Rafa Benitez hit out at Sir Alex Ferguson, below, and Marco Materazzi









      Rafa Benitez was ranting at the double last night, renewing his feud with Sir Alex Ferguson and accusing his former Inter Milan defender Marco Materazzi of being ‘a liar’ 10 times during an amazing outburst.

      Chelsea’s interim manager insisted it is ‘obvious’ his old Manchester United foe Ferguson is still putting undue pressure on match officials.

      Benitez, who attracted notoriety for launching an infamous tirade of ‘facts’ about Ferguson’s approach to referees at Liverpool four years ago, claims that Ferguson has continued to throw his weight around.

      He said: ‘Maybe now a lot of people are seeing the same things. I will not talk too much about that because it’s obvious. It’s a question for the FA what they do about it.

      'What I said at that time was what I thought and what I’m seeing now is similar. It depends on the FA. I don’t know what they will do.

      He was referring to the potential charge Ferguson faces for claiming linesman Simon Beck had a ‘shocking game’ at Spurs on Sunday.

      Benitez’s willingness to reopen the debate about Ferguson’s influence may increase the enmity between long-standing rivals, but Ferguson is unlikely to be too concerned as his side have an 11-point lead over Chelsea.

      Rafa Benitez’s feud with Marco Materazzi yesterday took an extraordinary twist when the Chelsea coach accused the former Inter Milan defender of being ‘a liar’ 10 times during an amazing outburst.

      Benitez, who must overturn a 2-0 deficit against Swansea in tonight’s Capital One Cup semi-final second leg, is furious over claims made by the World Cup winner.

      Materazzi, who played under Benitez at the San Siro in 2010, claimed Chelsea’s interim manager ‘could not be trusted’ and ‘is weak’.

      The Italian, who gained notoriety when he was headbutted by Zinedine Zidane in the 2006 World Cup final, also claims Benitez took down pictures of predecessor Jose Mourinho at the training ground.

      Benitez said: ‘In Italy everyone knows Materazzi and everyone at Inter knows him — he’s a liar. He’s lying. He’s lying. He’s lying, just lying. Everything he has said is a lie.

      ‘What he said about Mourinho is not true. Nobody knew Mourinho was leaving (in 2010) and no-one knew the Inter position would become available.

      ‘I don’t know about the locker room, so it’s a lie. If you talk about lies, then he is a liar.

      ‘I’ve spoken to his family and they told me I had to understand him so I want to respect him and be nice — but everyone knows him. He cannot discredit anyone because everyone knows him. Forget about him — it’s a lie. Simple.’

      After a fleetingly promising start in Italy, Benitez's Inter began to struggle and following the manager's demands for money to spend he was sacked in December 2010, only six months into a two-year contract.

      Chelsea fans have consistently been hostile to the Spaniard since he replaced Roberto Di Matteo and became the club's interim manager, and Materazzi, himself no stranger to controversy, says he understands why.

      'Rafael Benitez is not my ideal coach,' the World Cup-winning defender said. 'If I was president of a club, I would not trust him with my team. What I did not like about him is how he introduced himself to the group.

      ’A great coach, like Jose Mourinho or (Marcelo) Lippi discusses rules with within the group, but Benitez wanted to write 10 or 12 rules. It was like the traffic or being back at school.’

      Materazzi. who played briefly for Everton, is best known for his part in Zinedine Zidane's red card in the World Cup final of 2006, the legendary Frenchman's final act as a professional footballer.

      Benitez held productive talks with Roman Abramovich on Sunday after the Chelsea owner returned to London from his holiday in St Barts.

      The manager said: ‘Without giving away too many details, the owner was really pleased with the result against Arsenal (a 2-1 win on Sunday).

      ‘He has ideas and I do too. We share ideas and it’s fine. We explain to each other what we’re trying to do.’

      Addressing Chelsea’s form, Benitez added: ‘Could we do a bit better? Yes. Could we have won games we lost? Yes. But the team is progressing and if you talk with the players they say we’re going in the right direction.’





      Rafa's rules: Materazzi did not like the Spaniard's management style at Inter Milan

      Rafa's rules: Materazzi did not like the Spaniard's management style at Inter Milan

      Edited by zocoss 03 Feb `13, 10:35AM
  • zocoss's Avatar
    25,008 posts since Sep '05
    • Tonight's the night! Manchester United will have signed Wilfried Zaha by breakfast

      Report claims deal will be completed under cover of darkness, though Zaha will stay at Palace this season – and not have medical until the summer!


      Under cover of darkness: Wilfred Zaha will sign for Fergie tonight it is claimed


      Under cover of darkness: Wilfred Zaha will sign for Fergie tonight it is claimed








      Wilfried Zaha will wake up Red-faced tomorrow morning, and be a Manchester United player by the time he's shovelling down his Frosties, according to a report.

      The Daily Mail's John Drayton has reported the paper's understanding that the long-running Zaha saga is coming to an end tonight, with a £12million deal due to be signed.

      The Mail report claims that, as widely understood elsewhere, Crystal Palace were committed to brokering a deal that kept Zaha in the Championship for the rest of THIS season, and that this would now form part of the final agreement to be signed tonight.

      The Mail report also claims that Zaha would not undergo a Manchester United medical until the summer, though adding that this was in part because some members of the Old Trafford club's medical staff were not available now, and in part because he would be remaining at Palace this season.

      Edited by zocoss 23 Jan `13, 1:06PM
  • zocoss's Avatar
    25,008 posts since Sep '05
    • Father's support: Liverpool FC boss in court as footballer son and team-mates accused of hotel sex assault

      Brighton and Hove Albion player Anton Rodgers and three other footballers are accused of attacking a woman in a hotel room


      Steve Cook, Anton Rodgers, George Barker and Lewis Dunk arriving at the Old Bailey

      Accused: (L-R) Steve Cook, Anton Rodgers, George Barker and Lewis Dunk

      <!-- Can pick up the first element because is searching for author name -->




      Four footballers took lewd photos as they sexually assaulted a drunken teenage girl in a hotel bedroom, a court heard today.

      The players – one of them the son of Liverpool FC manager Brendan Rodgers – took the pictures of themselves performing sexual acts on the half-naked 19-year-old as a “record of their conquest”, the Old Bailey heard.

      Anton Rodgers, 19, and three other players are accused of attacking a drunken woman in a hotel room after celebrating a cup final win.

      Brighton and Hove Albion players Rodgers, Lewis Dunk, 21, and George Barker, 21, and former teammate Steve Cook, 21, who now plays for Bournemouth, all deny the charges.

      The Old Bailey heard how the four footballers took pictures of themselves sexually assaulting the 19-year-old woman to have a “permanent record of their conquest”.

      The sportsmen allegedly took the young woman back to their hotel room and assaulted her after celebrating victory for their club in the Sussex Senior Cup.

      Rodgers, Barker and Dunk, all of Brighton; and Cook, of St Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex, also deny voyeurism.

      The offences were said to have happened at the Jury's Inn Hotel in Brighton in July 2011.

      Richard Barton, prosecuting, said: "This case concerns how a group of young professional footballers, intoxicated after a night out together celebrating a cup final victory, took advantage of a young woman, who herself was intoxicated and who was obviously in a vulnerable condition.

      "After taking her back to a hotel room, they waited until she had fallen asleep, and so was unable to resist, and then sexually assaulted her in a deliberately humiliating way.

      "They compounded the humiliation by taking photographs of themselves doing so in order to have a permanent record of their conquest."

      He added: "They did so for their own gratification, intending to share the photographs between themselves and they may have done so to share with others at their football club.

      "These were the actions of a group of arrogant young men labouring under the misguided belief that by reason of their privileged position they could with impunity take advantage of a young woman in this way, because even if she realised what they had done to her, she would not dare report it."

      He said the teenager - described as chatty and bubbly - did not tell police for six months "through fear of repercussions".


      She finally made a complaint about being "repeatedly taunted" about the incident by another footballer at the club.

      Liverpool boss Rodgers, 39, watched with other family members from the public gallery as the case was opened.

      Mr Barton said the woman spent the evening at four nightclubs.

      At the last, Lola Lo, she met a number of footballers out celebrating and one bought her a drink.

      "It would seem alcohol played a part in the events that night," said Mr Barton.

      A friend of the woman did not consider her to be so drunk that she was a danger to herself.

      It is possible her drink might have been spiked but there was no suggestion the accused had interfered with her drink, the prosecutor added.

      But this was not a case of a drunken young woman who did things when drunk that she later regretted.

      Mr Barton continued: "This is a case of a group of men taking advantage of a woman who through a combination of drink and tiredness, ended up unconscious.

      "She was not in a condition to resist, give consent or prevent things happening."

      The woman now had a series of flashbacks. One was walking along the seafront with Lewis Dunk, who had his arm round her.

      She could remember waking up in a hotel room the next day in a double bed with Anton Rodgers next to her.

      Another player, Ben Sampayo, was asleep on a single bed in the room, which had been booked for them by the club.

      Mr Barton said Rodgers was wearing only his underwear and she did not have her bra on.

      "Her dress was pulled up, exposing her body. Her breasts were exposed.

      "Toilet paper was strewn around the room and there were remnants of shaving foam."

      The woman had tried to ring her sister but her mobile battery was dead.


      Anton Rodgers with his father Brendan Rodgers arriving at the Old Bailey

      Stress: Father and son show the strain as they arrive at the Old Bailey




      Mr Barton said she asked to use Rodgers'. He was reluctant at first but agreed after she was persistent.

      She could not remember her sister's number and scrolled through photographs on the handset.

      "She saw there was a whole series of photographs of a young woman wearing a pink dress.

      "The woman was lying on a bed, clearly not awake and, in some of them, semi-naked men around her.

      "She looked at some of the many photographs and then realised to her horror that she recognised the unconscious woman in the pink dress was in fact herself.

      "She has no recollection of these photographs being taken."

      It was the prosecution case that the men in the pictures were the defendants.

      Mr Barton said the woman woke Rodgers up and asked him to delete the pictures.

      "She wanted him to get rid of the photographs but he simply laughed at her. He told her that these were nothing to do with her," added the prosecutor.

      "She pleaded with Rodgers to delete the photographs but he told her: 'Sorry, we are going to a barbecue'.

      "He locked himself in a bathroom and had a shower. She was told by Sampayo to leave, which she did.

      "The indifference shown towards her by Rodgers and the others that morning is indicative of the group's overall attitude to her and the events the night before."

      Mr Barton said Sampayo had woken when the woman was allegedly arguing with Rodgers and she asked him how he would feel if it was him.

      "He said that if there were a group of women with their genitals exposed near his face he would be proud of that and would put any photographs of it on Facebook."

      The woman missed work that day but arrived the following day wearing "scruffy clothes" and appeared as though she had not slept, the court heard.

      After she was questioned by her manager, she claimed she was attacked in the street but said she did not know the names of the men involved, fearing the repercussions of reporting the footballers, Mr Barton said.



      Anton Rodgers

      Young star: Anton Rodgers in action for former club Chelsea




      She provided detailed descriptions of the men to police in the hope the footballers would be identified as her attackers, jurors were told.

      The prosecution say the woman's initial refusal to identify the defendants as her attackers proved she did not willingly take part in any sexual acts in order to sell a "kiss and tell" story.

      "She is not a young woman who is a wannabe 'wag' but rather she was clearly mortified by what she subsequently found out had happened to her as she lay unconscious on that bed", said Mr Barton.

      The jury heard that the woman saw two of the defendants - Rodgers and Barker - some time after the incident, when Barker allegedly said: "Do you remember having sex with me?"

      The woman eventually went to police some six months after the alleged offences when another Brighton footballer, who cannot be named for legal reasons, revealed he had seen intimate photographs and videos of her from the hotel.

      He claimed they had been shared among his teammates and threatened to post the photographs and videos online, the prosecutor said.

      The woman spoke to her employers before contacting police on January 12, the court heard.

      The woman told police she had seen a number of photographs of sexual acts being performed on her, the court heard.

      She recalled one of the photographs showed the initials 'GB' sprayed on her thigh in shaving foam, with one of the defendants - George Barker - stood next to her grinning, the court heard.

      The defendants were arrested on January 19 and interviewed by police.

      Cook admitted that photographs had been taken of the woman with some of the players' genitals showing, but claimed he was in the background and did not take part.

      In a prepared statement, Barker said only one photograph had been taken of the woman, which featured his initials written in shaving foam on her leg.

      Dunk told police he woken up to see another player - Leon Redwood - writing 'GB' on the woman's leg in shaving foam but claimed he had not seen any photographs.

      Rodgers refused to answer police questions, the court heard.

      Another player - Ben Sampayo - was also interviewed by police and admitted to seeing photographs of the woman unconscious after he had been woken in the night by his teammates.

      The jury was shown a photograph recovered by police from Barker's mobile telephone, which featured the defendant standing next to a woman, with the initials "GB" written in white foam on her leg.

      No other photographs of the alleged abuse were found by police, the court heard.

      Mr Barker told the jury the woman had provided a "clear and compelling account" of what the four defendants did at a time when she was "unconscious and so very vulnerable".

      "Some of these defendants accept that something inappropriate did happen, but point the finger at someone else, denying their own involvement," he said.

      "Sadly the truth is that they were in it together. They deliberately humiliated her and they did so for their own sexual gratification.

      "If anyone during the trial were to suggest that it was a joke, then you may think it was singularly unfunny and constitutes conduct going far beyond that which would ever be considered acceptable even in jest between friends.

      "Here it was with a vulnerable unconscious young woman and as such, the prosecution say, it constituted criminal sexual misconduct."

      The trial was adjourned until tomorrow.

  • zocoss's Avatar
    25,008 posts since Sep '05
    • Liverpool boss Rodgers arrives in court to support son charged with sexual assault and voyeurism

      Trial: Anton Rodgers has arrived at the Old Bailey on charges of sexual assault and voyeurism

      Trial: Anton Rodgers has arrived at the Old Bailey on charges of sexual assault and voyeurism

      Support: Brendan Rodgers was at the Old Bailey to back his son

      Support: Brendan Rodgers was at the Old Bailey to back his son




      Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers was at the Old Bailey today as his son Anton arrived to face trial accused of sexual assault and voyeurism.

      The offences are alleged to have taken place at the Jury’s Inn hotel in Brighton, East Sussex, in July 2011.

      Brighton and Hove Albion players Rodgers, 19, Lewis Dunk, 21, George Barker, 21, and former team-mate Steve Cook, 21, who now plays for Bournemouth, deny the charges.

      The players are alleged to have assaulted a woman at the hotel. Rodgers, Barker and Cook are on bail.

      The trial is not due to open in front of a jury until tomorrow.



      Accused: Brighton and Hove Albion player Lewis Dunk (centre) arrives at the Old Bailey

      Accused: Brighton and Hove Albion player Lewis Dunk (centre) arrives at the Old Bailey

      Steve Cook (right)
      George Barker

      Charged: Steve Cook (left) and George Barker (right) arrive, with Rodgers (bottom left) and Anton (bottom right)

      Strolling: Rodgers walks to the court 
      Anton Rodgers, 19

      Brighton defender Ben Sampayo, 19, has been told no further action will be taken against him over the alleged incident after he was arrested.

      A sixth player, Seagulls midfielder Tommy Elphick, 24, was released without charge following the original arrests in January.

      The charges come after a four-month investigation by Sussex Police.

  • zocoss's Avatar
    25,008 posts since Sep '05



      It's official! Rafa's the WORST Chelsea manager of Roman's reign at the Bridge


      In the cold: Rafa Benitez, pictured in training today, has the worst stats after 16 games in charge of all nine Chelsea bosses under Roman Abramovich

      In the cold: Rafa Benitez, pictured in training today, has the worst stats after 16 games in charge of all nine Chelsea bosses under Roman Abramovich

      Snow joke: Gary Cahill was involved in a snowball fight as the Chelsea players trained at Cobham

      Snow joke: Gary Cahill was involved in a snowball fight as the Chelsea players trained at Cobham


      In on it: Ashley Cole also picked up some snow during a break in training

      In on it: Ashley Cole also picked up some snow during a break in training


      Back to work: Fernando Torres (centre) is wrapped up as the players get on with their drills

      Back to work: Fernando Torres (centre) is wrapped up as the players get on with their drills




      Rafa Benitez has endured the worst start to his tenure at Chelsea of all nine Roman Abramovich-era managers - and that's official.

      Many of Chelsea's dissenting fans may feel vindicated to know that the much-derided Spaniard has the worst record of the group with a paltry 56 per cent win rate at the club.

      Although Andre Villas-Boas had the same win percentage, Benitez has seen his side lose four of his first 16 matches under his control, whereas the now-Tottenham manager only lost three.

      Perhaps unsurprisingly, according to the Opta stats, Jose Mourinho was the most successful in his early reign at Stamford Bridge.

      The man they call the 'Special One' won an impressive 13 of his first 16 games (81 per cent). So too did the double-winning Italian Carlo Ancelotti but he lost one more game than Mourinho in the early stages of his career in west London.

      Interestingly, Benitez's Chelsea have scored the most goals in his short spell in charge than any of the others, with an 8-0 home win over Aston Villa helping them on their way to an unsurpassed 40.

      Special One: Jose Mourinho
      Not bad: Carlo Ancelotti had a win percentage of 81 per cent

      The special ones: Jose Mourinho (left) and Carlo Ancelotti each had a win rate of 81 per cent in their first 16 games at the helm

      Request: Chelsea fans have been opposed to Benitez since he replace Roberto Di Matteo

      Request: Chelsea fans have been opposed to Benitez since he replace Roberto Di Matteo




      Villas-Boas's outfit conceded the most goals (18) in his first 16 games. Mourinho's Chelsea, by contrast, were incredibly stingy, conceding just four goals.

      Benitez has been the subject of chants and derogatory banners from the Chelsea faithful, who have not hidden their disdain at his appointment after he replaced the Champions League-winning Roberto Di Matteo earlier this season.

      He and misfiring striker Fernando Torres have been targeted in recent weeks at Stamford Bridge after a string of disappointing results.

      Any remaining title hopes for Chelsea were left in tatters on Wednesday evening when they wasted a two-goal lead to allow Southampton back into the game to draw 2-2, leaving them 13 points behind leaders Manchester United.

      Benitez did little to endear himself any further to the home support when he replaced crowd favourite Frank Lampard with Torres in the second half.



      Not bad: Felipe Scolari
      Joint worst: Andre Villas-Boas

      Different beginnings, same end: Andre Villas-Boas (right) made a poor start to his reign but Luiz Felipe Scolari (left) won 11 of his first 16 games - but both were sacked in their first season at Chelsea

      Short spell: Guus Hiddink (right) had a relatively successful stint as Chelsea manager

      Short spell: Guus Hiddink (right) had a relatively successful stint as Chelsea manager

      Hero: Di Matteo was sacked despite delivering the Champions League to Roman Ambramovich

      Hero: Di Matteo was sacked despite delivering the Champions League to Roman Ambramovich

      Shrugged off: Avram Grant lost only one of his first 16 games in charge after succeeding Mourinho

      Shrugged off: Avram Grant lost only one of his first 16 games in charge after succeeding Mourinho




      Chelsea fans were also distraught to see the club's chances of winning the Capital One Cup decrease drastically as Swansea won 2-0 at the Bridge in the first leg on January 10.

      Worse still for Benitez, one of his four losses in charge came against west London rivals and Premier League basement boys Queens Park Rangers.

      Benitez has found it extremely difficult to get results at Stamford Bridge and has only managed two victories from seven home games.

      The interim manager is likely to be moved on by Abramovich in summer, but with top target Pep Guardiola snubbing the Russian billionaire's riches to move to Bundesliga outfit Bayern Munich, it is unclear who will take charge if and when the former Liverpool boss departs.



      Waving goodbye: Claudio Ranieri was in charge when Abramovich took charge of the club

      Waving goodbye: Claudio Ranieri was in charge when Abramovich took charge of the club

      Satisfied? Abramovich has had nine managers since taking control of Chelsea in 2003

      Satisfied? Abramovich has had nine managers since taking control of Chelsea in 2003








      No home comforts: Benitez has struggled at home

      Chelsea have managed just two victories - albeit high-scoring ones - from their seven home matches in all competitions under Rafa Benitez, who has been jeered by Chelsea fans at every game.

      It is now three matches since Chelsea last tasted victory at home and the natives are getting restless.

      Ahead of Arsenal's visit to Stamford Bridge on Sunday, Sportsmail takes a look at Chelsea's home-sickness under Benitez.



      November 25: Chelsea 0 Manchester City 0 (Barclays Premier League)
      Chelsea kept their first clean sheet in 11 matches but Benitez (right) was jeered and booed by the home fans, angry that Roberto Di Matteo had been sacked.

      November 28: Chelsea 0 Fulham 0 (Barclays Premier League)

      Another uninspiring goalless draw from Chelsea, who toiled against a well-organised Fulham side. Benitez and Fernando Torres bore the brunt of the fans' frustrations.

      January 2: Chelsea 0 QPR 1 (Barclays Premier League)

      Chelsea's west London rivals QPR won at Stamford Bridge for the first time in two decades with a goal from former Chelsea midfielder Shaun Wright-Phillips.

      January 9: Chelsea 0 Swansea 2 (Capital One Cup, semi-final first leg)

      Chelsea were punished for another poor performance and Benitez was showered with more abuse from the stands, mainly for not bringing on new striker Demba Ba, as Swansea took charge of the tie.

      January 16: Chelsea 2 Southampton 2 (Barclays Premier League)
      Chelsea were cruising at 2-0 with goals from Ba and Eden Hazard but they allowed relegation-battling Southampton to hit back and claim the draw.

      Edited by zocoss 20 Jan `13, 11:25AM
  • zocoss's Avatar
    25,008 posts since Sep '05
    • Forren policy: Defender seals £4.2m move to Southampton after snubbing Liverpool

      The centre back becomes the second player after Gaston Ramirez to snub Liverpool in favour of the Saints

      New boys: Vegard Forren shakes hands with his new boss, Mauricio Pochettino

      New boys: Vegard Forren shakes hands with his new boss, Mauricio Pochettino

      Welcome addition: Fans hope Forren will be able to ease some of the club's defensive woes






      Vegard Forren has given Southampton fans some cheer by signing for the club on the day they harshly sacked manager Nigel Adkins.

      The centre back was set to move to Liverpool on trial but the south coast side acted quickly to bring him to St Mary's on a three-and-a-half year deal.

      Saints desperately needed to boost their defensive options and this £4.2million acquisition will be viewed as a relative coup for the club.

      Forren said: 'It’s a dream come true for me. Southampton is a big club in the Premier League, which is where I have always wanted to come and play football.

      'When I was told of the interest from Southampton, straight away I wanted to come and talk to the chairman.

      'We had a chat and I was very impressed — there was no doubt that this is where I wanted to be.

      'The plan the chairman has for this club is fantastic. There is a good, young squad here and the way they play fits me well, so I hope I can join the team and get some good results.'


      Change of plan: Molde defender Vegard Forren has abandoned a trial at Liverpool in favour of talks with Southampton

      Change of plan: Molde defender Vegard Forren has abandoned a trial at Liverpool in favour of Southampton

      Heading off: Norway international Forren (No 5) looks set to leave Molde for a move to England




      Fulham and Everton were also tracking the 24-year-old but new Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino will be able to deploy him as he bids to avoid the drop.

      Forren has appeared five times for Norway and made 158 appearances for Molde between 2007 and 2012, scoring six goals.

      Edited by zocoss 19 Jan `13, 11:39AM
  • zocoss's Avatar
    25,008 posts since Sep '05
    • Originally posted by Bus&Soccer l0v3r (VO3x 1):

      icon_lol.gif at least he own up he dive

      ppl like ashley young dun even dare .. haiz

      There is nothing to be proud about especially with this one where it was so obvious as there were 3 defenders around him but the closest was still yards away from him and yet he fell like a rotten coconut.

      There were countless others before this and yet he is only admitting this one? How about the others?

      However, the problem isn't about him diving anymore, i think almost everybody knows this already but putting his manager and his team mates to ridicule after the way they defended him... The next time he cry wolve again, these people will want to stay away from defending him again of risk having eggs on their faces once again... lol.

      Rodgers already looking desperate in interviews trying to repair the damage to himself as well as the club's reputation.  

      It would have been better for thim to shut his mouth as the case was months ago and has been forgotten... He just reopen a can of worms.

  • zocoss's Avatar
    25,008 posts since Sep '05
    • The Suarez files... a history of controversy

      Liverpool forward Luis Suarez is back in the spotlight - and here are some of the previous controversies surrounding the Uruguay forward...

      February 2007: Suarez made his international debut against Colombia but was sent off in the final minutes after being shown a second yellow card for dissent.

      November 2007: Joined Ajax from Uruguayan side Nacional but he was later suspended by the Dutch giants after a half-time dressing-room altercation with team-mate Albert Luque.

      July 2010: During the 2010 World Cup quarter-finals, Suarez prevented Ghana's Dominic Adiyiah from scoring in the final minute with a deliberate handball on the line and was subsequently sent off. A penalty was awarded but missed by Asamoah Gyan and footage showed Suarez celebrating on the sidelines. Uruguay eventually went through to the last four on penalties.

      November 2010: Suarez was handed a seven-match ban by the Dutch FA and fined by his club for biting PSV Eindhoven midfielder Otman Bakkal during an Eredivisie match.

      October 2011: Following his move to Liverpool in January 2011, he was involved in a tackle with Everton's Jack Rodwell and went down with apparent minimal contact. Rodwell was then sent off.

      October 2011: Suarez was alleged to have racially abused Manchester United's Patrice Evra during a Premier League match. Suarez was later found guilty by an independent regulatory commission and banned for eight matches and fined £40,000.

      December 2011: Was seen making an offensive gesture towards Fulham fans. At this time he had already been charged by the Football Association over the racism incident, although not yet punished, but was handed a further one-match ban for the gesture.

      February 2012: United and Liverpool met again at Old Trafford, but more controversy blew up as Suarez refused to shake Evra's hand before kick-off.

      October 2012: Celebrated a goal against Everton by diving in front of Toffees boss David Moyes who had earlier claimed that 'divers' such as Suarez were putting fans off the English game.

      January 2013: Handles the ball prior to scoring Liverpool's second goal in the FA Cup third-round tie at Mansfield.

  • zocoss's Avatar
    25,008 posts since Sep '05
    • Luis Kops it: We'll punish Suarez for 'unacceptable' dive claims, insists Liverpool manager Rodgers


      No laughing matter: Rodgers and Suarez at training on Thursday  
      Liverpool boss was shocked that Suarez dived to try to win a penalty against Stoke — and stunned the Uruguayan was stupid enough to admit it on TV.




      Brendan Rodgers has torn into Luis Suarez after he admitted diving in an attempt to win a penalty earlier this season, describing the Uruguayan’s actions as ‘not acceptable’.

      The Liverpool manager stopped short of fining his striker but insisted he will not tolerate any behaviour that undermines the club. ‘It was wrong to say what he said,’ said Rodgers. ‘It was not acceptable. This club has always kept its matters in house and that’s what we will do. But diving is not something we advocate here.’

      The Northern Irishman spoke to Suarez (right) at the training ground after his admission that he dived to try to win a penalty against Stoke. Rodgers considered fining Suarez for his  ill-judged words on ESPN Argentina — a two-week sanction would have cost him £200,000 — but decided against it even though there was precedent when Everton manager David Moyes fined Phil Neville after he was booked for diving during the Merseyside derby in October.

      The FA are aware of Suarez’s comments but are unlikely to take the matter further.

      Trouble: Luis Suarez admitted he dived against Stoke

      Trouble: Luis Suarez admitted he dived against Stoke



      Suarez told Argentinian TV: “I dived there — and I’m going to be sincere with you — because we were drawing against Stoke and I wanted to invent something.”




      Given the consistent backing he has been given by his club this  season, his decision to give such a candid interview has embarrassed Liverpool and Rodgers does not want the episode to come back and haunt his side.

      ‘It’s been difficult for us this season with regards to penalties,’ added Rodgers. ‘We’ve only had one. The team always goes into every game looking to win in the best possible way with a sporting manner and we don’t want that to change.

      ‘But this situation might affect people’s thinking. I’m not saying it will do, but it could do. It might make  people think twice about things and that’s certainly  something we don’t want. The team puts maximum effort into the game and I wouldn’t want second thoughts going into anybody’s mind.

      ‘I’ve spoken to Luis on it. I’m not sure it makes a big difference if we are saying he is fined one week’s, two weeks’ or four weeks’ wages.

      ‘This is a big club, bigger than anyone and whatever people say goes around the world. It certainly doesn’t help him but, more importantly, it doesn’t help the team.

      The game against Stoke on  October 6, in which Suarez admitted diving, ended in controversy, with Tony Pulis lambasting him for his theatrics and Rodgers defending the former Ajax striker after he was stamped on by Stoke defender  Robert Huth.

      ‘In fairness to him, most players wait until the end of their careers when they are writing their books to put it in,’ said Rodgers. ‘He has been honest enough to come out and say it in the middle of his career.

      ‘It’s something in the game that we are trying to clean up. My feeling as the manager of this club is that it (the dive) was wrong.

      ‘I don’t think I’ve been put in a difficult position. I’ve only ever called it honestly. I have defended him when I feel it is right and will continue to do that. Luis and I have a strong relationship and he understands that and knows that. I don’t feel let down, I’ll just call it like it is. I said at the time it was the wrong thing to do. I need to protect the club and the group and if anything puts that in jeopardy I will deal with that. Luis is aware of my feelings.’


      Controversy: Suarez made headlines this month when he handled the ball at Mansfield

      Controversy: Suarez made headlines this month when he handled the ball at Mansfield

      Controversy: Suarez made headlines this month when he handled the ball at Mansfield




      Ex-Premier League official and Sportsmail columnist Graham Poll has called on the FA to reprimand Liverpool's striker following last night's startling confession.

      Poll said: 'Brendan Rodgers has said that Suarez is unfairly victimised but even he will struggle to plead his star striker's innocence after these quotes.'

      'The name of Suarez should certainly attract papers now – those from the FA disciplinary department.

      'Liverpool fans will, of course, claim victimisation once again but now that Suarez has confirmed what most outside of the red half of Merseyside have asserted all along even the most diehard must accept that their No 7 must be charged.'

  • zocoss's Avatar
    25,008 posts since Sep '05
    • He’s Rafa Boo-nitez

      Chelsea interim boss Rafa Benitez
      IT'S STARTING TO BITE ... for Chelsea interim boss Rafa Benitez

      Latest odds from Coral's Tim Reynolds

      RAFA BENITEZ has been cut to 16-1 to be the next Premier League manager to leave following Chelsea’s 2-2 with Southampton.

      The result means Chelsea have now won only one out of their six domestic matches at Stamford Bridge under Benitez.

      It’s 6-4 for the Spaniard to still be at Stamford Bridge on the opening day of the 2013/14 season.


      RAFA BENITEZ was booed off again at Stamford Bridge last night.

      Chelsea’s lowest crowd of the season — 38,484 — turned on the interim manager as they drew 2-2 with Southampton after leading 2-0 in their Premier League clash.

      The fans were furious when hero Frank Lampard was subbed for Fernando Torres 11 minutes from time and they again vented their anger at the final whistle.

      It was only the third time in Chelsea’s Premier League history they had failed to win after leading by two goals at half-time.

      Benitez admitted: “I’m not angry but I am disappointed. When you know your players and what they can do, you are disappointed when you don’t win a game like this.

      “Everything changed in the second half. We were not under pressure, but we made the same mistakes as we have in the past and that is my concern.

      “I wanted to see the reaction from my team after Southampton scored their first goal and we didn’t do well.

      “We had chances to score, we weren’t clinical enough and they broke on the counter-attack.

      “I told the team at half-time that we needed a third goal. We cannot be happy to be drawing at home. The next game against Arsenal has to be totally different.”

  • zocoss's Avatar
    25,008 posts since Sep '05

      EPL - Match 23 - Jan 19 / 20 / 21  Fixtures






      Matches on Singtel Mio Tv :     



      Saturday, January 19th, 2013


      Manchester City v Fulham      11:00    mio   102


      Liverpool v Norwich City    11:00    mio   103
      Newcastle United v Reading       11:00    
      mio   104
      Swansea City v Stoke City     11:00    
      mio   105

      West Ham United v Queens Park Rangers     11:00    mio   106

      Wigan Athletic v Sunderland     11:00    mio   107

      West Bromwich Albion v Aston Villa     1:30    mio   102



      Sunday, January 20th, 2013



      Chelsea v Arsenal             9:30    mio   102


      Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester United    12:00    mio   102




      Monday, January 21st, 2013


      Southampton v Everton    4:00am (Tue)    mio   102







      Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

      Arsenal v Liverpool
      Aston Villa v Newcastle United
      Manchester United v Southampton
      Norwich City v Tottenham Hotspur
      Queens Park Rangers v Manchester City
      Reading v Chelsea
      Stoke City v Wigan Athletic
      Sunderland v Swansea City





  • Moderator
    zocoss's Avatar
    25,008 posts since Sep '05
    • Match Report: Manchester United’s old rivals Liverpool are just speck in rear view mirror

                              Manchester United 2 Liverpool 1

      As the last seconds of hope were squeezed out of Liverpool, Sir Alex Ferguson jabbed at his wristwatch and cast an accusing look at the fourth official. Liverpool, for the large part, looked like a team who are a speck in Manchester United’s rear-view mirror this morning and their manager’s suggestion last night that “We are 24 points behind Manchester United but we are not 24 points behind on quality” frankly stretched the bounds of credibility. Humour worked better. “That win might be critical. I don’t think we’ll catch United now,” said former Liverpool player

      Jan Molby, who must have been joking.

      Liverpool are yet to beat one of the Premier League’s top-10 sides this season and Rodgers seized on the notion, when it was put to him, that a win against a big club might just be the “next step” which changes everything. He quoted back Ferguson’s 1990 FA Cup third-round win over Nottingham Forest and expressed hopes for his very own “defining moment”. The more prosaic truth was that his side looked short of class.

      Rodgers characterises this squad as one assembled on a shoestring, though that is not entirely true. Joe Allen cost £15m and was the player Rodgers wanted at all costs, even if no cash was left for Fulham’s Clint Dempsey. That leaves Rodgers needing to persist with him, as an article of faith in his own judgement. Rodgers rested Allen over Christmas because he was “jaded” but he stretched logic yesterday by withdrawing Lucas Leiva, one of Liverpool’s few productive players, and not Allen at half time.

      Rodgers’ name for his holding midfielder is “controllers” but United commandeered it, as Liverpool drifted deep. They enjoyed comfortable possession – a novelty for them on these occasions – and there were more than 10 passes in the build up to the goal which put them ahead. Shinji Kagawa’s work off the ball was one of its lesser appreciated subtleties but the finished product was simple: Robin van Persie’s own movement allowing him to dart in ahead of Daniel Agger’s challenge to meet Evra’s low cross and scoop the ball beyond Pepe Reina.

      It was a desperately timid first half from a Liverpool perspective. Rodgers has been reading Deep Survival, writer Laurence Gonzales’s study of why some people hold onto life and others don’t, and for 45 minutes it looked like his side were just trying to avoid a fatal blow. Liverpool supporters require something far more visceral.

      Edited by zocoss 14 Jan `13, 12:21PM