Istanbul Miracle Voted as the most memorable Champions League Night In History


The Reds’ inspiring victory over Carlo Ancelotti’s side topped the chart, beating Manchester United’s last minute winner in 1999 and Zinedine Zidane’s glorious goal in 2002

Liverpool’s magnificent comeback against AC Milan in Istanbul to win the Champions League in 2005 has been named the most priceless moment in the last 20 years of the tournament in a survey conducted by MasterCard.

The credit card company asked thousands of football fans to vote for their favourite moments from European football’s showpiece tournament across the last two decades.

It was the gripping final nine years ago in Istanbul that topped the list. Liverpool looked dead and buried as they went in 3-0 down to Carlo Ancelotti’s AC Milan at half-time. However, Rafael Benitez’s side fought back in remarkable fashion, scoring three goals in the space of six minutes to take the clash into extra time before winning it on
penalties.

That glorious final was voted the best moment, beating off Manchester United’s last-gasp rally against Bayern Munich to claim the trophy in 1999 and Zinedine Zidane’s magnificent volley to win the tournament for Real Madrid against Bayer Leverkusen in 2002.

Javier Perez, president of MasterCard commented: “The tournament has delivered countless priceless moments over the past 20 years and the fans have been there all the way, so it’s fantastic to be able to get their opinion on the greatest moments.”

The top five Champions League moments are:
1. Liverpool’s comeback against AC Milan in Istanbul in the 2005 Final;
2. Manchester United’s last minute victory vs Bayern Munich in the 1999 Final;
3. Zinedine Zidane’s volleyed goal against Bayer Leverkusen in the 2002 Final;
4. Barcelona’s victory over Manchester United in the 2011 Final;
5. Ronaldinho’s goal for Barcelona against Chelsea in March 2005

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Suarez Dismisses Treansfer Speculations


Liverpool's Luis Suarez

Liverpool’s Luis Suarez

Liverpool striker Luis Suarez has dismissed
speculation linking him with a move away from
Anfield this summer.

The 27-year-old Uruguay international signed a new four-and-a-half year contract in December and denied that a clause allows him to join Real Madrid or Barcelona this summer.

“There is no clause that suggests a priority for a specific team,” he said. “My head now is focused on the World Cup. My agent tells me what’s there. It’s more speculation than reality.”

Suarez, who joined Liverpool from Ajax for £22m in 2011, wanted to leave the club last summer, with Arsenal making an offer of £40m plus £1 in the belief it would trigger a clause in his contract which they thought existed for any Champions League club. Suarez stayed and had a superb season after missing the first six matches of the campaign to complete his ban for biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic.

Liverpool challenged for their first league title since 1990, before eventually finishing second, two points behind champions Manchester City.
Suarez scored 31 times in 33 league games and was named the Barclays Player of the Season, the Professional Footballers’ Association Player of the Year and Football Writers’ Association Player of the Year.

Liverpool were top of the table just three weeks ago but lost to Chelsea before squandering a 3-0 lead in the final 11 minutes of their next match at Crystal Palace to be held to a 3-3 draw.
Suarez buried his face in his shirt after that draw at Selhurst Park and said: “I was so angry on the inside. A week before we had real hopes of winning the league and after the Palace game, we knew that it had gone.

“We had lost the chance. I felt frustration and rage at the fact that the opportunity had been lost.

“I covered my face because I was so hurt and frustrated. I preferred people not to see me.”

Liverpool’s Brendan Rodgers is named LMA’s manager of the year


Liverpool's manager, Brendan Rodgers.

Liverpool’s manager, Brendan Rodgers.

*Northern Irishman led team to highest finish in five years
*Tony Pulis wins Premier League manager of the year award

Liverpool’s manager, Brendan Rodgers, was named the
League Managers’ Association manager of the year on
Monday night.
The Northern Irishman was honoured for the first time at
the annual awards dinner in London after he led Liverpool to
second place in the Barclays Premier League, which was the
club’s highest finish in five years.
The award is voted for by all LMA members, including every
manager from the top four professional leagues in English
football.
The LMA chairman, Howard Wilkinson, said of Rodgers’ win:
“There can be no greater tribute to a manager and his work
than a tribute awarded by his match-day foes and peers.
This evening we applaud Brendan Rodgers as he receives
that most valuable award.
“Liverpool Football Club’s performances and results this
season have provoked memories of some of those
momentous years in the past when they had to contend
with those two United’s, the first from Leeds, the second
from Manchester.
“For Liverpool and Brendan, I’m sure we all hope this season
marks the beginning of a new voyage and a new era.”
The Crystal Palace manager, Tony Pulis, was named the
Barclays Premier League manager of the year for his work
at Selhurst Park, which saw the club keep their top-flight
status after he guided them to an 11th-place finish.
Pulis arrived at the club when Palace had four points from 11
games but they finished the season with 45.
He told his club’s official website: “This is a community club,
based in the most densely populated area in London and has
a great opportunity of pushing forward.
“We’ve got to stay in the Premier League for the next two
or three years to realise what we can eventually achieve.
We have to look forward and say this is the way we will go
and do it.”
Leicester City’s manager, Nigel Pearson, won the Sky Bet
Football League Championship manager of the year award
after he steered the Foxes to automatic promotion to the
top flight, while Wolves’ Kenny Jackett and Leyton Orient’s
Russell Slade were named joint League One managers of the
year.
Scunthorpe’s Russ Wilcox picked up the League Two award,
with Sheffield United’s Nigel Clough named the FA Cup
manager of the year.

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Liverpool collapse leaves title dream in tatters


Today I will be writing more of the liverpool’s self destruction, because personal I felt bad after the final whistle

After another disastrous slip from his team, Brendan Rodgers could only sit there with a disbelieving smile of regret.

“We go top tonight as well, with 81 points with a week to go in the season,” the Liverpool manager said after this tectonic 3-3 draw at Crystal Palace, shaking his head as he paused. “And we sit here devastated.”

That is the incredible truth after this incredible match. It also reflects the remarkable scale of the team’s collapse, both in this game and in the title race.

The Arsenal side of 1998-99 is the only other team since the Premier League was founded to go into the final week on top yet not win the title, but that scenario came fraught will all manner of fixture caveats and complications. Here, just when it looked like Liverpool were going to make it as difficult as possible for Manchester City, they so clearly created complications for themselves. Afterwards Rodgers conceded the title.

“Yes, for me it is [over],” he said. “Yes. We needed to win tonight to keep the pressure on.”

Instead, after all the justifiable talk of the psychological work with Dr. Steve Peters, Liverpool themselves buckled under pressure. Rodgers also conceded that afterward. They were consumed by the cauldron of Selhurst Park, their title challenge swirling down it. After Damien Delaney hit his deflected 78th-minute strike — his first of the season, typical, and Palace’s first of the night — a ripple went around the tight old stadium. The roar started. “Then everything took off,” as Palace boss Tony Pulis put it. “It was amazing, the support. When the second goal went in, it was just a matter of time until we got the third. That’s as good as I’ve heard for a long, long time.”

Liverpool won’t forget this for a long, long time.

They froze. Palace seized the moment, most notably the irrepressible Yannick Bolasie. His breathtaking run past Glen Johnson before the second goal was the real moment when it all started. His utterly ambitious stride opened up an entire tract of the pitch, and the game. In there lay all of Palace’s remarkable abandon and Liverpool’s apprehension.

Rodgers’ side was by then playing with utter fear, paralysed in the face of almost every frantic Palace attack. Dwight Gayle showed contrasting coolness, offering such a cacophony of a climax.

“It’s thinking clearly under pressure which is important,” Rodgers lamented. “Our decision-making in that period of pressure has to be better. That’s not just tonight. It’s something I’ve seen at times this season. We ended up getting a point when we should have got three.”

That will be just as galling as the deep disappointment of this draw. Liverpool had actually done the hard part, both in the title race and the game. They had broken down a side notoriously durable in Palace, and got the early goal that set them up with a genuinely ingenious set piece through Joe Allen.

After that, Daniel Sturridge displayed his divine touch for the second, before Raheem Sterling and Luis Suarez interchanged so gloriously for the third. It all reflected the absolute brilliant best of their football this season. Yet, just when they seemed at a peak — returning to the top of the table with a win that put all the pressure on City — they hit rock bottom. They completely caved in.

Worse, it would be difficult to say this wasn’t coming. It would also be difficult to say there wasn’t a strong degree of arrogance, even hubris, at the root of it. Consider the amount of games over the past 13 fixtures in which Liverpool have been on the brink; in which they’ve conceded so many to really put them in trouble; in which they have displayed nerves. There was the 3-2 win at Fulham that started the run, Swansea City, Cardiff City, Sunderland, West Ham United, Norwich City and even Manchester City’s initial comeback at Anfield.

But on each of those previous occasions, their attack did just about enough.

It was understandable, then, that they banked on it again. Here, however, their greatest strength became their greatest weakness. It left them so badly exposed. And, just as an admirable arrogance powered their play through this season, it arguably crossed over into something self-defeating there. Rather than just see out the game, they tried to make up the goal difference. There was a clear hubris there. Liverpool went for everything, but it may well have cost them everything.

Some of Rodgers’ comments on this afterward were curious, particularly given that he otherwise so creditably fronted up to the media after such an evidently devastating disappointment.

“It’s game management,” Rodgers said. “That was the key. Players, no matter how fit they are, are going to look a bit tired at the end. Palace were dead in the end, but they got the goal and then a second. It was the management of the game that cost us.”

Rodgers was talking in general, and about a more abstract concept, but it is a criticism that should be directed at himself, too. His final 10-word sentence, when taken in isolation, is actually apt. On this occasion, after such a supreme season for him personally, Rodgers’ management did cost them.

Some decisions were odd, not least those to bring on Victor Moses and Philippe Coutinho rather than Daniel Agger. Whatever about game management, Liverpool looked like they didn’t know how to defend. There is also a fair question about whether Rodgers actually knows how to set up a team defensively, even if that appears reactionary right now. It is deeply ironic after his post-Chelsea comments, when he said Jose Mourinho’s kind of negative play is “not difficult to coach.” It looked beyond Liverpool here.

At the very least, Rodgers now does precisely know what areas of his team he needs to improve for the future. He admitted that afterward. That can eventually be perceived as a positive, even if it does not feel like it now. This could be the true making of this team. It has happened to other great sides of the past. As Paul Breitner once put it about Bayern Munich’s 4-0 defeat to Ajax in 1973, “it was one of the most important defeats you can have. Sometimes a defeat is very important for your future.”

On the other side, there are long-term negatives to this, too, beyond the painful memories. There is the very issue of perception. Because, over the past few weeks, there has been an unmistakable mystique about Liverpool — a wonder at just how they were doing it, and awe at the way they were doing it. Teams feared them.

Now, that fear may give way to something else, especially since the scale of the collapse was — without being too blunt — such a joke.

Teams will know how to set up against them, frustrate early on, then counter.

Rodgers, instead, must stand them up again. Steven Gerrard’s words after the Manchester City win are more relevant now than ever. Liverpool must go again. They must look to the massive brilliant strides they’ve made. They must not allow the immense scale of this collapse to overshadow the many more glorious moments of this season, even if that feels impossible now. They must try and use this as motivation, as a positive.

After the game, Pulis tried to offer another positive.

“Don’t write Liverpool off yet,” the Palace manage said. “It’s been that kind of season.”

That is true, and there may be another twist. This just felt like a defining one.

Liverpool squandered a three-goal lead in the final 11 minutes at Crystal Palace to see their Premier League title hopes suffer a severe blow – and leave Luis Suarez in tears at the final whistle. Brend


Brendan Rodgers’s side looked to be maintaining the pressure on title favourites Manchester City, and reducing a gap in goal difference that remains at nine.
Joe Allen’s first goal for the Reds and strikes from Daniel Sturridge and Suarez put the Reds in complete command as the visiting fans urged their side forward in search of more goals, with City in their sights.
Instead, their fragile defence collapsed completely at the first sign of serious pressure as Palace sent Selhurst Park wild with goals from Damien Delaney and a double from substitute Dwight Gayle.
Liverpool’s point put them back on top of the table, but the sight of players on their haunches and an emotional Suarez – his face covered by his shirt as he was ushered towards the tunnel by captain Steven Gerrard and substitute Kolo Toure – told the tale.
Manchester City are now in pole position to win the title, with home games against Aston Villa and West Ham United to come.
Rodgers will be at a loss to explain how his team crumbled so badly to squander the chance to move closer to their first title in 24 years.
Palace have proved their quality against illustrious opposition before this season, but here they made a tame start and allowed the visitors to take the early initiative.
Liverpool had a clear penalty appeal rejected early on when Yannick Bolasie missed his kick completely in the area and only connected with Glen Johnson.
Referee Mark Clattenburg only awarded a corner, and Liverpool were frustrated once more when Mamadou Sakho headed Gerrard’s kick off target when completely unmarked.
Johnson was causing problems down Palace’s left flank, and he should have put Liverpool ahead when he found himself clear on the end of Allen’s raking long pass, but his header beat home keeper Julian Speroni and the bar.
Liverpool’s threat was growing and it was no surprise when they finally went ahead after 18 minutes. Allen pulled away from marker Joe Ledley to meet Gerrard’s corner with space and time to head past Speroni.
Palace finally showed more ambition as half-time approached, and Liverpool keeper Simon Mignolet was called into action to save from Jason Puncheon and Mile Jedinak.
Any hope of a recovery seemed to be swept away by Liverpool’s dazzling start to the second half that, at that stage, looked to have put the game out of Palace’s reach and ate into City’s superior goal difference.
Sturridge saw his curling shot superbly turned on to the post by Speroni, only for Suarez to blaze the rebound wildly off target with the keeper still trying to recover his position.
Speroni had no such luck moments later when Sturridge’s low shot from the edge of the area took a crucial deflection and trickled out of his reach.
Liverpool, sensing there were more goals to be had, surged forward and Suarez made it three with his 31st Premier League goal of the season when he beat Speroni easily after a neat exchange with Raheem Sterling.
Palace had shown little but were revived 11 minutes from time when Delaney’s 25-yard shot was deflected high beyond Mignolet.
Liverpool suddenly seemed gripped by panic and Palace exposed them ruthlessly two minutes later as Bolasie squared for Gayle to score with a precise finish.
And then, with two minutes left, the visitors’ misery was complete as substitute Glenn Murray chested a long ball into Gayle’s path for another comprehensive finish.
As Palace players celebrated, Liverpool’s reacted in a manner which suggested they believe their title challenge is finally over.
Open

Who Will Win the Premier League?


Who will win the Premier League?

Who will win the Premier League?

This year’s title race is one of the most
open in the history of the Premier
League, with Liverpool, Chelsea and
Manchester City in a three-way tussle
that may only be decided on the last day
of the season.

Goal difference handed City their first title in
44 years in 2012, while Manchester United
finished a point ahead of Arsenal in 1999, with
Chelsea just a further three points back
Liverpool had their lead over Chelsea cut to just
two points when their 11-game winning run was
ended by Chelsea’s 2-0 win at Anfield on Sunday,
with the two clubs having just two fixtures left
to play.
But City are now only three points behind
Liverpool with a game in hand and a superior
goal difference, after they beat Crystal Palace
2-0 following the Liverpool-Chelsea match.
On Sunday BBC Sport pundit Mark Lawrenson
told Match of the Day 2 Extra he expected
Liverpool to “blow Chelsea away”, but speaking
on BBC Radio 5 live the morning after Chelsea’s
win he encapsulated the changing nature of the
title chase by saying:
“Up until yesterday, Liverpool were in control of
their own destiny. Liverpool have to win the
league this year because Chelsea will be
stronger next year, so will City, Arsenal, and
Manchester United. This is their opportunity and
the fact that they let it slip was obviously for
them not good.”
There could still be plenty of twists and turns to
come, but here is how the rest of the season
shapes up for the three title contenders:
LIVERPOOL
The Reds could be as low as third by the time
they play again, away at Crystal Palace on
Monday, 5 May. Their title rivals City and
Chelsea are in action on Saturday and Sunday
respectively, and wins for both would put Jose
Mourinho’s men above Manuel Pellegrini’s side
by the time Liverpool kick off at Selhurst Park.
Victory at West Ham on 6 April put Liverpool,
seeking to win a first Premier League title and
first league championship since 1990, to the top
of the table for the fourth time during the
current campaign.
But the topsy-turvy nature of this season’s title
race is shown by the fact that they were as low
as sixth on 12 January, when they were seven
points behind then-leaders Chelsea.
Palace have secured their Premier League
status with a fine run of form since the start of
2014, but their 2-0 defeat by City was their third
loss in their last five outings at home.
On the final day of the season, Liverpool host a
Newcastle side who are comfortable in mid-
table and last won in the league at Anfield on 16
April 1994.
CHELSEA
If City beat Everton on the evening of Saturday,
3 May, Chelsea will be in third place when they
play struggling Norwich at Stamford Bridge just
under 24 hours later.
A win over the Canaries, who have plummeted
down the table with a run of five straight
defeats, will put the Blues back to the top
position that they occupied for nearly two
months until supplanted by Liverpool at the
start of April.
But Blues boss Jose Mourinho has repeatedly
written off his side’s chances, even greeting the
win at Anfield by saying: “We are not in it. The
champions will be Liverpool or City, we have
nothing to celebrate.”
They round their campaign off with a trip to
Cardiff, who could be relegated by then but
could also require a win to remain in the top
flight.
MANCHESTER CITY
City know more than anyone about the fine
margins that separate success from failure in
the Premier League, having claimed the title on
goal difference in 2012.
That hardly begins to describe the dramatic
circumstances of the win, with Sergio Aguero
scoring deep into stoppage time for a 3-2 win
over QPR that snatched a 20th title away from
local rivals Manchester United.
Some big winning margins this term – with the
biggest being 7-0 over Norwich – have given the
Blues the best goal difference in the league, but
a surprising 2-2 draw at home to lowly
Sunderland seemed to put them at a
disadvantage.
However, the most recent set of results have
revived their title prospects ahead of their trip
to Everton on Saturday, 2 May at 17:30 BST.
Everton will need to win to maintain their hopes
of a Champions League place – but a draw or win
for them would boost their Merseyside rivals’
title chances at City’s expense.
City follow that with their game in hand at home
to Aston Villa, currently without a win in six
games, on Wednesday, 7 May. The Blues’ season
ends at home to West Ham, and manager
Pellegrini – who insisted after the win at Palace
his side are not title favourites – thinks it will
still be up for grabs until the last possible
moment.
“This league will be decided by a narrow margin,
maybe one point, maybe even goal difference,”
said the Chilean following his side’s 2-0 win at
Selhurst Park.
WHAT THE STATS SAYS
Manchester City finished level on 89
points with Manchester United at the end
of the 2011-12 campaign, but won with a
goal difference of +64 compared to
United’s +56.
City’s current goal difference is +58,
Liverpool are +50, Chelsea are +43.
No team has ever won the Premier League
while in third place with three games to
play – City were second after 35 games
two years ago.
The maximum points any side can finish on
this season is 86. The highest points haul
in the Premier League era is Chelsea’s 95
– under Mourinho – in 2004-05. The lowest
points total that has won the Premier
League title was Manchester United’s 75 in
1996-97.