Liverpool v Manchester City - Premier League

More from Steven Gerrard: post-match reaction fueled by Hillsborough

Leave a comment

Imagine you’re a 8-year-old kid on Merseyside, living and breathing the game of football. Now someone tells you that your 10-year-old cousin has died after going to watch your local team, all due to a stadium disaster that dominates the headlines.

Something very close to that happened to Steven Gerrard, and it’s one of the reasons he was overcome with emotion after Liverpool defeated Manchester City on Sunday to cement its status as Premier League title favorites at a game where the Hillsborough 96 were honored.

From the BBC:

“The reason I was so emotional was because of when this game fell,” said the 33-year-old.

“I’m speaking on behalf of everyone when I say the win was dedicated to the victims and families of Hillsborough.”

Gerrard was speaking ahead of Tuesday’s planned memorial to honor the Hillsborough 96, at which both Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers and Everton manager Roberto Martinez are slated to speak. Gerrard, the Liverpool captain, lost his 10-year-old cousin Jon-Paul Gilhooley in the disaster.

His autobiography ends with the note, “I play for Jon-Paul.”

“[My reaction] wasn’t just because it was a big match in our season, it was because this week is always about more than football for everyone associated with Liverpool,” he said.

“All the squad will be present at the service to pay our respects as we should.”

It’s sure to be a sobering event, one that reminds many of their humanity just as Gerrard did on Sunday at Anfield.

RELATED: “I Was There” — Liverpool vs. Manchester City (video)

VIDEO: Marco Verratti plays a brilliant pass to Eder for Italy goal

PALERMO, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 06:  Marco Verratti of Italy in action during the UEFA EURO 2016 Qualifier match between Italy and Bulgaria on September 6, 2015 in Palermo, Italy.  (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Italy took a 1-0 lead over Azerbaijan through the in-form Eder in the 11th minute, but the true leg-work (see what I did there) came from bite-sized midfielder Marco Verratti.

The PSG playmaker pinged a beautiful long ball over the top of the Azerbaijan defense that fell right at the feet of Eder, who let the ball settle itself and touched home confidently past Kamran Arhayev for a 1-0 lead.

The goal is the second of Eder’s national career in just five caps, having scored on debut against Bulgaria back in March. He has six goals in seven matches for Sampdoria so far this Serie A season.

Italy needs three points in this match to ensure qualification to Euro 2016. A win would guarantee them a place in the field, while anything less would mean there is work to do in the final match on Tuesday against Norway.


Later in the match, Stephan El Shaarawy gave Italy a 2-1 lead just before halftime, his second career international goal and his first since September of 2012 which came in his third career start.

Agent: Liverpool contacted Klopp only after Rodgers firing

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 09:  Jurgen Klopp arrives to be unveiled as the new manager of Liverpool FC at a press conference at Anfield on October 9, 2015 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

As soon as Brendan Rodgers was dismissed by Liverpool on Sunday, Jurgen Klopp’s name was tossed around as the likely successor to the then-vacant Liverpool managerial position.

However, according to Klopp’s representatve Marc Kosicke, Liverpool did not make contact with the German until after Rodgers had been officially let go.

“The first call from Liverpool came after the dismissal as coach of Rodgers,” Kosicke told Bild. “Before Liverpool there were naturally quite a few inquiries. But Jurgen always asked me not to take it any further.”

Club management was less committal than Klopp’s rep, but did say they had their eye on the German for some time. “We have learned to keep certain matters confidential. We had a meeting recently with Jurgen that he has talked about and I don’t want to talk too much about these conversations. But we have thought about him for a long time and everyone who knows football knows he is an outstanding manager.”

It’s relatively hard to believe Liverpool would have canned Rodgers without knowing for sure that a top-level target such as Klopp or Carlo Ancelotti were on board to replace him. It also would mean discussions of the contract terms and logistics would have moved at lightning speed, with just four days between the Rodgers dismissal and Klopp’s official unveiling.