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best that considered the 32-year-old midfielder had yet to have a good season since reverting back to a more withdrawn role.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

Matic: Man Utd needs more experience in its squad

AP Photo/Tim Ireland
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Nemanja Matic would like to see a bit more veteran bravery in his Manchester United side.

The title-winning 29-year-old midfielder finished second in the Premier League this season, his first with the Red Devils after a strong run with Chelsea.

[ MORE: Man Utd youngster gets USMNT call-up ]

The Blues beat United in Saturday’s FA Cup Final, and Matic says the answer to winning hardware isn’t in talent as much as it is wisdom.

From the BBC:

“The only team who is better than us this year is Man City,” said Matic. “Obviously, they play amazing football. But we are second and we are in the Champions League next year, which is the most important thing. I think we need some players with some experience to bring some more qualities to our team.”

United loses one veteran cog in Michael Carrick, and both Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Wayne Rooney have skipped town in the last year.

Who could fit the bill in terms of old hats in current United positions of weakness? Well, a full offseason for Alexis Sanchez will help, and perhaps the rumors of Toby Alderweireld make the most sense of any we’ve seen in recent weeks.

MLS Things: Shuttleworth, Quintero somehow get Loons a point vs. SKC

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Entering the day, no one was arguing that hosts Minnesota United were a better side than Sporting KC.

The Loons were 11 points and 19 goals worth of differential behind Western Conference-leading KC.

[ MORE: Other MLS Things — The Archive ]

They still are, despite a 1-1 Sunday match which carried a fitting disparity on the pitch but nothing to separate the two on the scoreboard.

Khiry gets his just desserts

Oregon State product Khiry Shelton has been wonderful for Sporting KC this season, but the striker just hasn’t found the back of the goal.

That finally changed Sunday, when his downbound header got the better of Bobby Shuttleworth — more on him later — and allowed him a richly-deserved first SKC goal which could well break down the dam.

The eighth minute saw Shelton score his goal on one of just six Loons shot attempts.

Shuttleworth back in business

It’s not always sexy to go to the veteran backstop, but it looks like Adrian Heath should’ve called Bobby Shuttleworth’s name a long time ago.

Entering the day, Shuttleworth had the second-best WhoScored.com rating of any goalkeeper to appear in more than five matches (Evan Bush).

While certainly part of that has to do with the defensive actions foisted upon him, Shuttleworth was the main reason SKC’s 24-6 advantage in attempts failed to turn into anything other than a point.

Darwin

Darwin Quintero has had more good matches than bad ones since joining the Loons, and added his third goal in seven matches with this rebound finish on Sunday.

Quintero had two goals and four assists in 17 Liga MX matches, but has been perfectly revitalized by the Minnesota air.

VIDEO: Coutinho scores brilliant curler; Iniesta walks off

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It’s often funny to read the A. in front of Andres Iniesta’s surname on his match jersey, as if there’s any other.

On Sunday, the 34-year-old midfielder walked off the field for the last time (video at bottom) as a Barcelona player, handing the captain’s arm band to Lionel Messi and beginning a new era for both the club and player.

[ MORE: Bayern salutes Heynckes (again) ]

Barcelona beat Real Sociedad 1-0 on Sunday in the final La Liga match of the season.

While the match will be remembered as Iniesta’s last with Blaugranas, Philippe Coutinho gave a glimpse of the future with his eighth goal of the season and sixth in his last five games.

Barca finishes a 1-loss season with 99 goals and a 14-point lead over La Liga runners-up Atletico Madrid.

Bayern Munich fans pay tribute to Jupp Heynckes, again

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MUNICH (AP) Bayern Munich fans turned up in their thousands to bid farewell to Jupp Heynckes for a second time on Sunday.

The veteran coach is going back into retirement after leading Bayern to another league title. The side was five points adrift when he returned in October, but rebounded to wrap up the title with five rounds to spare.

[ MORE: Pellegrini to WHU inches closer ]

It might have been more for Heynckes, but Eintracht Frankfurt stunned the side to win the German Cup final on Saturday and Real Madrid emerged triumphant from the sides’ Champions League semifinal.

Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge paid tribute to the 73-year-old Heynckes for bringing “old values” such as “humanity and empathy” back to the side.

“The little downside for us is that we would have liked to give our Jupp, our coach, the nearly perfect finish, but it didn’t quite work out,” Rummenigge said of the shock defeat to Frankfurt.

Heynckes led Bayern to the Champions League, Bundesliga and German Cup titles in his previous stint in 2013, before he retired for the first time.

Bayern’s players were clearly still disappointed over Saturday’s cup defeat as they celebrated the league win on the Munich town hall balcony.

“It feels really bad, how the season ended,” said Thomas Mueller, who added that the team would try to “put a brave face on it.”