steven gerrard

Steven Gerrard contract extension at Liverpool: ‘It’s just a matter of time’

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Consider this a rare case of no news being news, because in a world where Frank Lampard spent much of his 15 all competition-goal season without an offer from Chelsea, assumptions a legend is in a club’s plans could prove poor. Thankfully, Lampard’s situation is much different than Steven Gerrard’s, with Liverpool set to show their midfield icon respect commensurate with his 15 years at the club.

As Gerrard revealed today (in quotes printed by ESPNFC), a new deal at Anfield’s just a matter of time. The details are still be ironed out, but if Gerrard’s reading the situation correctly, those won’t be a problem:

“They want me to extend, I want to extend, so it’s just a matter of time really,” he said. “How long for I’m not too sure yet. That’s under discussion at the moment. But it will get sorted one way or another in the summer.”

It’s difficult to imagine a scenario where Gerrard wouldn’t have be re-upped at Anfield, but having started only 32 games over the previous two league seasons, there was reason to wonder if the captain’s stature out-stretched what it would take to keep him. This season, however, Gerrard’s reverted to his reputed self, albeit in the different role.

We’ve become so accustomed to the idea of Steven Gerrard playing deeper than his Fernando Torres-supporting best that considered the 32-year-old midfielder had yet to have a good season since reverting back to a more withdrawn role. Part of that was injury. Part was managerial turnover (and the systems that came with it), but part of that was also Gerrard. Regardless, the captain’s post-prime performance was another complicating factor.

But in a crucial season for Liverpool, Gerrard’s re-upped his game. Had the first campaign of the Brendan Rodgers era not been successful, Liverpool would have been a wayward ship, floating without direction after the failed Roy Hodgson experiment and the erratic modesty that was King Kenny’s return. Add in an injury to Lucas Leiva and Joe Allen’s first-year bust, and the Reds were in dire need of a revitalized Gerrard.

All of which is to say the obvious: Gerrard’s proven very important, though having played a career-high 3133 minutes, “Stevie G” had been more important, more often than we had reason to expect. Add in 10 goals as the backbone of for a team on the ascent and Gerrard’s potential extension becomes less obligatory than earned.

Rodgers:

“I have been ever so pleased with Stevie this year. For me as a manager, to have a captain like that has been brilliant. He’s certainly one I would envisage to be here for a good few years yet.
“Stevie and I went out for something to eat a couple of weeks back and had a good chat about plans and whatnot.
“He is very deserving of it [a new contract]. He is a really humble man, who always puts the club first. We spoke earlier on in the season and wanted to make sure we were progressing and improving.

Timbers send Nagbe to Atlanta for allocation money

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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) The Portland Timbers have traded midfielder Darlington Nagbe to Atlanta United in exchange for $1.65 million in allocation money.

Portland is also sending defender Gbenga Arokoyo to Atlanta and receiving a 2018 international spot as part of the trade.

[ RECAP – City hammer Swansea ]

Nagbe, who has become a regular on the U.S. national team, has been with the Timbers since the team joined MLS in 2011. He was selected with the second overall pick in that year’s MLS SuperDraft.

He has 27 goals and 30 assists in 214 matches with the Timbers. His goals are the second-most since the team joined MLS.

“Thank you, Portland, and everyone that supported my family and me the past seven years,” he said in a statement released by the Timbers.

Nagbe, 27, has 24 appearances with the national team and one goal.

Wenger says schedule congestion catching up to Arsenal

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Much like their 3-1 loss to Manchester United, Arsenal dominated the chances but couldn’t find the back of the net enough to get three points.

Unlike that Red Devils defeat, however, the Gunners were stout at the back against a lively West Ham United and picked up an away point from a nil-nil draw on Wednesday.

[ RECAP: West Ham 0-0 Arsenal ]

Wenger was content enough with the result, as he continued to be in the chorus of managers who lament the congested Premier League schedule around the holidays. From the BBC:

“We had so much of the ball, but it was very frustrating because we could even have lost it at the end. They’re happy to defend, they did that against Chelsea and Manchester City, so we couldn’t find the opening and the few chances we had we missed.

“When you play every three days, you lose your sharpness.”

That’s true, and to his credit Wenger didn’t try to say West Ham had one day’s more rest (which they did). As Man City runs away with the league and Manchester United doesn’t look fit to drop back to the back, the race for the final two Top Four spots is as congested as the schedule. Arsenal needs to turn some of its shot-heavy performances into goal-heavy cruises sometime soon.

Mourinho: Derby defeat didn’t help, but United overcame fatigue

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Jose Mourinho said the Manchester Derby nearly caught up to his men in Wednesday’s 1-0 win over Bournemouth at Old Trafford.

[ RECAP: Man Utd 1-0 Bournemouth ]

The Manchester United manager says that’s not on account of emotions or let down, but simply the volume of matches his Red Devils have played and the extra rest afford the visitors.

Romelu Lukaku climbed Nathan Ake to find United its opener, and the hosts were defending plenty in the second half. But United was able to endure on a soggy night at home, and maintain its place second on the Premier League table.

From the BBC:

“Fatigue, yes, but hangover – no. The game was a big one, and a defeat does not help in your recovery – victories help, defeats don’t. They were difficult opponents and difficult conditions. If we had scored the second it would have been a calm night for us.”

That said, this felt like one of the matches United would’ve drawn last season, and Lukaku was a difference maker as were David De Gea and Phil Jones at the back.

And Mourinho would not mail in the title race despite Man City’s 11-point advantage and continued league dominance.

“It is only over in May, if it is over now I go on holiday to Brazil or Los Angeles.”

Guardiola lauds Man City after record 15th straight win

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Pep Guardiola is breaking records pretty much every time Manchester City step onto the pitch right now.

[ RECAP – City hammer Swansea ]

On Wednesday they set a new Premier League and English top-flight record for the most consecutive wins in history, with City winning 4-0 away at Swansea to seal their 15th-straight win and stay 11 points clear of the table.

City beat Arsenal’s previous record of 14-straight wins in the Premier League from February to August 2002, and now they remain unbeaten with 17 games of the season gone.

Guardiola now holds the record for most consecutive wins in the top-flight of Spanish, German and English soccer with Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Man City respectively. He’s a machine and he’s turned Man City into one.

Speaking to the BBC after beat Swansea, Guardiola was delighted with the win, especially coming so soon after the energy-sapping Manchester derby win at Manchester United on Sunday.

“Considering we have a lot of games in our legs, a demanding game at Old Trafford three days ago, we were solid, we were serious and we made a good performance,” Guardiola said. “You suffer and enjoy, like a manager you see many things. When the team play good we are happy. Our feeling – we understand what we want to do. We play good inside, outside. I’m so happy for David (Silva), we cannot disguise his quality but in the past he didn’t score too much goals. He’s sharp, he’s in an amazing condition.”

Man City’s manager rightly pointed towards David Silva‘s brilliance as the Spanish playmaker scored twice at Swansea and he’s now scored four times in his last three games, including a late winner against West Ham and setting City on their way to a win at United on Sunday.

With the record now in hand and Man City also stretching their club-record unbeaten run in the top-flight to 25 games, is there a risk his side will be complacent as the bookmakers have slashed their PL title odds to 1/25?

“That is not going to happen. We are so demanding for our players. We can lose, we can drop points but complacency, never happened in the past, the present or the future,” Guardiola said. “Winning 15 games in a row gives us a lot of confidence. If people are happy watching us that is the best gift.”

Ahead of the festive season, Man City are the gift which keep on giving and they have to be up their with the best teams English soccer has ever seen.

Less than halfway through the 2017-18 season they show no signs of slowing down and the Premier League title is simply theirs to lose.

More records will fall this season as an imperious, attacking unit has been fine-tuned by Guardiola. We are watching history being made in beautiful fashion.