Liverpool’s midfield to thrive in absence of Steven Gerrard?

December 26, 2013

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“At the age of 33, Steven Gerrard remains an integral part of the Liverpool team. So far this season, he has recorded six assists (joint second in the league) and averaged 2.7 key passes per game – third highest after the unstoppable Luis Suarez and the pass master Mesut Ozil. These qualities of the England skipper are hardly a revelation to anyone with an interest in LFC news. The question is – how do Liverpool perform in games of high intensity with Gerrard in the side? How do they deal with opponents pressing them high up? And equally as important, do Liverpool themselves press effectively enough with Gerrard at the heart of midfield?” Backpage Football


The Suárez Conundrum

December 26, 2013

“I first made it to Montevideo shortly after Richard ‘Chengue’ Morales scored the winning goal against Australia in a World Cup playoff in 2001. Ragged horses and carts danced through the streets like Lipizzaner stallions. Children begging on the streets got extra portions of Pollo Milanese from diners leaving fine restaurants. Beautiful girls shared their grappamiel. And posters of Chengue, a bare-chested Afro-Uruguayan, waving La Celeste (the iconic sky blue Uruguay shirt) were in every shop window. It was a poor, but proud city. On my second visit in 2007, I saw the remarkable progress of the country under newly elected President Tabaré Vázquez. Under Vázquez all social and economic indices were up. He was the first member of the left wing Frente Amplio to be elected President. Poverty levels plummeted, child hunger was greatly reduced, smoking in public places was banned and Uruguay confronted the crimes committed in the military dictatorship years of 1973 to 1985.” Road and Kingdoms


The 100 best footballers in the world 2013 – interactive

December 26, 2013

“Welcome to the Guardian’s choice of the world’s top 100 footballers for 2013. We asked our international panel of experts to name their top players in action this year and rank them in order of preference. You can see who the judges are and read how we compiled the final list here. Starting with No100 in the bottom right, click on individual players in the interactive to read more about their year.” Guardian


Top 50 Players in the World 2013: Part 5 – 10-6

December 26, 2013

“Not long to go until we reveal this year’s winner but for now, here’s the first batch of players to crack the top ten. Two of last year’s top five have dropped slightly and feature here, while a certain Welshman jumps 15 places to 6th after a massive 12 months.” Backpage Football