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best that considered the 32-year-old midfielder had yet to have a good season since reverting back to a more withdrawn role.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.

Premier League AT HALF: Arsenal fights back, Hull City on top

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 10:  Alexis Sanchez of Arsenal (L) and Francis Coquelin of Arsenal (R) celebrate after Theo Walcott of Arsenal (not pictured) scored Arsenals first goal during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Stoke City at the Emirates Stadium on December 10, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images
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Goals and controversial penalty decisions are a big part of Saturday morning’s quartet of Premier League matches, all of which are at the break.

[ STREAM: Every PL game on NBC Sports ]

Arsenal 1-1 Stoke City

Joe Allen took an elbow from Granit Xhaka inside the 18, and Lee Mason awarded a PK that Charlie Adam converted to give the visitors an early lead. But Theo Walcott scored his 100th goal as a Gunner off a classy Hector Bellerin cross to make it 1-1 before the break.

Burnley 2-1 Bournemouth

The Cherries will have to dig out of another hole this week, and it all began with Jeff Hendrick‘s phenomenal opener. Fellow Irishman Steven Ward scored an economical to goal to double the lead.

But Ryan Fraser continued his fine December with an assist on Benik Afobe‘s goal before halftime.

Hull City 1-0 Crystal Palace

Robert Snodgrass drew a penalty with a pretty easy grass grab, and the Tigers have a

Swansea City 0-0 Sunderland

Not much cooking at the Liberty Stadium.

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Koeman: “Nervous” Everton has a problem after another loss

WATFORD, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 10:  Ronald Koeman manager of Everton arrives prior to the Premier League match between Watford and Everton at Vicarage Road on December 10, 2016 in Watford, England.  (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images
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One win in 10 for Ronald Koeman‘s Everton has the Dutchman on the hot seat.

Koeman seems to be clawing for air after the Toffees’ latest setback, a 3-2 loss at Watford.

The loss puts the Hornets ahead of Everton on the PL table, and — while unlikely — it’s a mathematical possibility that the Toffees could be a bottom half team by the end of the weekend.

[ STREAM: Every PL game on NBC Sports ]

That’s a brutal development for a club expected to challenge for a European place this season.

Here’s Koeman:

“I see a lot of similar problems in the team. The team is too much reactive. Of course it’s maybe a lack of confidence, but if you start the game well, 1-0 up, you need a bigger belief in the team and not going back and defending, and nervous, and not enough ball possession. In my opinion that’s a problem.”

A big problem with that? It can be put down to the manager. Is Koeman in trouble already?

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VIDEO: Hendrick scores incredible volley from distance

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Jeff Hendrick, take a bow.

Burnley’s Republic of Ireland international midfielder pulled off a stunning piece of skill on Saturday to put the Clarets ahead against Bournemouth.

[ STREAM: Every PL game online ] 

A long ball forward was flicked on to Hendrick and he took a stunning first touch to tee himself and then settled himself before spanking a volley into the top corner.

Sensational goal from Burnley’s club-record signing.

Click play on the video above to watch it.

Messi’s latest goal dares you to count the touches (video)

PAMPLONA, SPAIN - DECEMBER 10:  Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona celebrates after scoring his team's second goal during the La Liga match between CA Osasuna and FC Barcelona at Sadar stadium on December 10, 2016 in Pamplona, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images
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There’s a danger in observing Lionel Messi on a week-by-week basis, and it has a lot to do with how he makes greatness look routine.

So while it’s easy to dismiss yet another mazy dribble through a defense, one of those “Frogger” style with calm-but-vicious cutbacks, try to consider everything that goes into Messi’s second goal against Osasuna early Saturday.

[ MORE: Watford 3-2 Everton ]

On first look, you might count 9 touches for Messi starting with his right-footed collection of the ball. But move to the slow motion replays, and recognize the truth: Often Messi is letting the ball do the work for him, essentially moving the duo closer to goal while he used his preferred left foot as a must-respect threat.

That he does it in such traffic and at full speed is incredible. It’s literally one of those goals in which a linguistic luminary like Ray Hudson would have trouble over-emphasizing the greatness.

Messi now has 11 La Liga goals in 12 matches, and 22 in 19 overall.

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