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PL friendly roundup: Liverpool win; Everton, Saints, Norwich draw

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A roundup of all of Sunday’s preseason action involving Premier League teams, wherever in the world they might be preparing for the 2019-20 season…

[ MORE: Sunday’s transfer rumor roundup | Saturday | Friday ]

Bradford City 1-3 Liverpool

James Milner scored twice — once from open play and once from the penalty spot — as Liverpool continued the long, slow build toward their PL opener against Norwich City on Aug. 9. 19-year-old Rhian Brewster continued to make noise this preseason, as he followed up his brace against League One side Tranmere Rovers during the week with another goal against another League One side on Sunday.

Alex Oxlade Chamberlain started and played 45 minutes, as did all 10 outfield players before Jurgen Klopp made wholesale changes at halftime. Adam Lallana and Nathaniel Clyne, both of whom have been linked with moves away from Anfield this summer, also started.

Arminia Bielefeld 2-2 Norwich City

Dennis Srbeny and Josip Drmic scored a goal each for Norwich City, but the newly promoted PL side conceded an 88th-minute equalizer away to German second-division side Arminia Bielefeld.

The Canaries suffered injuries to a pair of key players on Sunday, with both Louis Thompson and Ben Godfrey being forced off. Head coach Daniel Farke indicated after the game that Thompson suffered a hamstring strain, while Godfrey left the stadium on crutches.

Other PL preseason results

Sion 0-0 Everton
Altach 1-1 Southampton

Longtime Premier League striker Peter Crouch retires

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At 38 years old, Peter Crouch has finally decided to call time on his career, hanging up his boots after a fabulous 19-year career that saw him attain numerous highs. Literally.

Crouch, known for his height and the finishing abilities that came with it, came up through the Tottenham youth system, but never made it initially with the London club, instead making his professional debut in the Championship (then known as the First Division) in 2000 with Queens Park Rangers. He went on to play for Portsmouth before making his Premier League debut with Aston Villa in 2002.

Eventually, the journeyman would play for Norwich City, Southampton, and Liverpool before returning to Tottenham in 2009 to play two full seasons at his boyhood club. At Liverpool, Crouch would reach the Champions League final in 2007, a game where Rafa Benitez decided to leave Crouch on the bench instead of start him despite his contribution of six goals during the European campaign, a decision which Crouch has admitted is still a difficult memory as the Reds fell 2-1 to AC Milan.

After leaving Spurs in 2012, Crouch would spend eight seasons at Stoke City, by far his longest spell at any club. He left Stoke City this past winter after 202 Premier League appearances with the Potters, playing the last half of the season at Burnley before calling time on his career.

All told, Crouch made 467 Premier League appearances across his career, scoring 106 goals and popularizing his robot dance celebration. He would also attain 42 caps for the England national team, scoring 22 goals for the country, including his only World Cup goal in 2006 against Trinidad & Tobago. He also appeared as a substitute in the 2010 World Cup, including a 12-minute substitute appearance against the United States in the opening group stage game. Oddly enough, Crouch never appeared in a Euro match for England, as the country did not qualify for Euro 2008, the only competition that took place during the meat of his international career.

In his retirement announcement, an article with the Daily Mail, Crouch says he had hoped to play until he was 40 but said “circumstances over the last couple of seasons have made me realize that this is the right thing to do.”

Crouch admitted in his announcement he had grown weary of being a late-game bench option. “I will be 39 in January but I am physically fit and could have carried on. What I didn’t want to be was someone who was thrown on to have balls smashed up to them.”

Still, the Spurs youth product says he never could have dreamed where his career would take him.

“Football has opened up avenues that I never thought were possible when I started scoring goals in the Hayes and District league as an Under 10. Football, simply, made my dreams come true. I think back to when I was 17. I was a trainee at Tottenham then but there were 10 forwards in front of me, blocking my route to the first team. They loaned me out to Dulwich Hamlet then I went to IFK Hassleholm in Sweden. Let’s be honest – you would not have taken odds on me making it then. If you had told me at that point I would go on to play for England 42 times and score 22 goals, play for Liverpool in a Champions League and FA Cup final and score the goal that put Tottenham back in the European Cup for the first time in four decades, I would have had you locked up.”

Crouch, known for his beaming smile and happy-go-lucky attitude, has built a strong off-the-field image and seems primed for a strong post-football media career. He has built a brand with his self-titled podcast and regular written appearances in the Daily Mail.

Klopp not expecting big Liverpool transfer window

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Liverpool cruised past Tranmere Rovers 6-0 on Thursday, with “new signing” Rhian Brewster in on the scoring.

Of course the 19-year-old isn’t new, but Jurgen Klopp mentioned both the brace-bagging Brewster and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain as playing the role of new additions to the team.

[ MORE: SMS to Man Utd? ]

Oxlade-Chamberlain missed most of last season, while Brewster is just breaking into the first team. And Klopp says they could well be a sign that Liverpool isn’t going to be wildly active in the summer transfer window. From Sky Sports:

“We brought them already. Oxlade-Chamberlain, Rhian Brewster, they didn’t play last year. All the young boys today, they’re all new players for us,” Klopp said. “We will see what we do, but I don’t think it will be the biggest transfer window of all time.”

There’s gamesmanship here, of course; Don’t forget that Klopp has been amending his stance on big spending, though there’s no guarantee that spending big will happen in every window.

As for Brewster specifically, Klopp thinks he’ll get some playing time. The teen is behind Roberto Firmino and re-signed Divock Origi.

“We will see. He has to play different positions as well – the centre, wing is possible I think, we will see how we line up, but there will be opportunities for him. I am sure.”

VIDEO: Liverpool fans troll Man United in Australia

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If you fly 9,000 miles to the other side of the planet, you might expect to hear a little less from your local rivals back home.

Think again.

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Manchester United is working hard on their preseason tour of Australia, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s boys had a little reminder of Liverpool’s recent European success during their session at the WACA in Perth on Thursday.

During United’s open training session in front of fans, a plane flew over the stadium with a banner attached to it which simply said “Liverpool x 6 European Champions.”

Solskjaer really needed that reminder, didn’t he?

Below is the plane in question.

Divock Origi signs new long-term contract with Liverpool

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Once viewed as an afterthought consistently out on loan, Divock Origi has cemented himself as a member of the first-team squad at Liverpool, and on Wednesday committed his long-term future to the club by signing a fresh new contract.

The club confirmed the extension via an official release, but did not say how long the new deal is to last. Origi’s old contract was set to expire this summer and talks over a new deal had reportedly dragged on for months.

Origi, now 24 years old, signed in the summer of 2014 from Lille as a teenager and spent two seasons out on loan, first back at Lille the year after signing before spending the 2017/18 campaign at German side Wolfsburg. Origi’s development seemed to drag at times, scoring just six goals at Wolfsburg in 31 frontloaded appearances, raising doubts over his future at the club.

However, last season represented a remarkable turnaround that saw Origi play a critical role down the stretch, coming in to spell an injured Roberto Firmino as the club chased Premier League and Champions League glory. While the league chase proved too much as Manchester City never wavered, Origi was vital in the Champions League pursuit, scoring a double in the stunning comeback against Barcelona before coming off the bench in the final to seal the game against Spurs.

“I always felt comfortable here,” Origi told the official club website upon the announcement. “I made steps during my career, I say that I became a man here at this club, I signed when I was 19. When we had to make the decision I just wanted to speak with the club first and my entourage, but the feeling was always that I wanted to stay and extend my contract.”

“It was a challenging season but I always believed if I continued to do the right things and had fun on the pitch, it would come by itself,” Origi said of the most recent campaign, in which he made just 12 league appearances, scoring three goals. “In the end, I got the chance and I was happy to be able to contribute in the right way. It was a very special season.”

Origi’s role at the club remains uncertain, as Firmino impressed this summer at the Copa America with title-winners Brazil and remains the likely first-choice striker, but Origi could still find significant time if Jurgen Klopp were to implement a two-striker system or should Firmino again find himself in the recovery room.

“I really think it’s a win-win situation,” Klopp said upon the announcement, hashing up an old injury suffered three years ago in Premier League play as an example of the Belgian’s turnaround. “It’s a story really only football can write. I never forgot the situation in the Everton game [in 2016], to be honest, when there was that harsh tackle and a red card for Funes Mori. Divock was in the best shape of his life and everybody was so positive about his future, and then things like this happen in football. We always know something like this can happen but when you see it and see the influence it has on a career, it’s just a sad story because he struggled really long with the ankle and stuff like that [and when] he came back the team was flying pretty much.”