Liverpool: The Vital LFC News Roundup
Your easy to digest news update on all things LFC. Snippets this week include fixture changes, FA Youth Cup progress and award nominations...
Liverpool FC have announced two fixture changes in February 2013. The trip to Manchester City will now take place on Sunday 4th February at 4pm and the visit of West Bromwich Albion to Anfield is now scheduled for Monday 11th February at 8pm. Both games will be broadcast live in the UK by Sky Sports.
Liverpool's FA Cup third round tie at either Lincoln City or Mansfield Town will be shown live on ESPN on Sunday 6th January. The kick-off time has yet to be confirmed but Brendan Rodgers' side will be looking to go one better in the competition than last season when they were runners-up to Chelsea.
Liverpool U18s eased into the FA Youth Cup fourth round on Tuesday night (5th December) with a thumping 4-0 win away to Swindon Town. An own-goal from Robins keeper Josh Helm, following a great run by Jerome Sinclair, set Steve Cooper's side on their way within 10 minutes. Jordan Ibe, Jack Dunn (2) and Sinclair himself were also on the score sheet as the young Reds produced a fine display. LFC U18s team: Fulton, McLaughlin, Maguire, Jones, Heaton, Biao (Randall), Peterson (Ojo), Lussey, Sinclair (Gainford), Dunn, Ibe.
The U21s have also enjoyed a big victory in recent days; overcoming Crystal Palace 4-1 on Friday afternoon (7th December). Goals from Daniel Pacheco, Adam Morgan, Samed Yesil and Jon Flanagan helped the Liverpool youngsters complete the opening stage of the season undefeated. LFC U21s team: Ward, Flanagan, Sama, Robinson, Smith, Roddan, Pelosi, Adorjan, Pacheco, Texeira (Yesil), Morgan.
Many of the youngsters who featured in the two games are now set to travel to Singapore this week to take part in the first-ever NexLions Cup. The mini-tournament, which also includes Manchester United and Sporting Lisbon, will feature several players with first team experience including attackers Adam Morgan, Samed Yesil and the club's youngest ever player Jerome Sinclair.
Ahead of playing the full 90 minutes in the victory over West Ham United on Sunday afternoon (9th December), Reds winger Stewart Downing expressed his disappointment at not playing more regularly. In quotes republished by Sky Sports the winger said: "It has been frustrating at times and I have been disappointed this season not to have played more games. But I am just trying to do my best when I play and to get a goal. It is a great club to play for. Hopefully it long continues."
Another to play the whole game against the Hammers was Raheem Sterling. The youngster turned 18 on Saturday and Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers is confident of agreeing a new contract with the player whilst also keeping his feet firmly on the ground. Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, Rodgers commented: "With young players, contracts get handed out left, right and centre to a kid who's not done anything, getting a four-year deal on decent money, and then clubs wonder why in two or three years it's gone wrong. It's gone wrong because you've taken away his hunger... There's good conversations so there's no worry or concern. It will be resolved."
Following the victorious trip to the capital, which secured back-to-back league wins for the first time this season, skipper Steven Gerrard has voiced his optimism about the future. The midfielder told the Liverpool ECHO: "We're building slowly towards where we want to be. We've got two home games now against Aston Villa and Fulham. If we can capitalise and make it 12 points out of 12 then we will find ourselves a lot closer to fourth. It's a platform to build on. We just have to focus on Villa now. Come the end of December we're really looking to be close to that fourth position."
Liverpool duo Steven Gerrard and Glen Johnson have been nominated for the England player of the year prize. The award will be decided by an online vote of fans and you can cast yours by clicking here. Martin Kelly and Jordan Henderson are both nominated for the young player's prize, while newly-recruited Liverpool Ladies midfielder Fara Williams is in contention for the women's award.
Former Three Lions defender and current Reds vice-captain Jamie Carragher has suggested some changes to spice up the Champions League. Speaking to the Daily Mail, Carragher explained: "Interest in the group stages has been dwindling and it has only been at the quarter-final stages that the competition has come alive. My idea would be to keep 32 teams but start things off with a knockout round, with all qualified teams needing a win to get through... The draw for the knockout stage would be seeded, so you would never get a situation where Barcelona faced Real Madrid... You would then be left with four groups of four, with the top two going through to contest the quarter-finals."
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