John Henry thanked the players and staff for their work—and told fans to try to enjoy the moment.
A week ago, the 2019-20 Premier League season ended. With Liverpool champions of England. For the first time in three decades. In the midst of a pandemic that almost derailed the season. A year after finishing second—and winning the Champions League.
The club are again on top of the footballing world, and given where they were ten years ago—with nobody sure they could compete for top honours in England and Europe any longer—that’s still a little surreal. For the fans and even for the club’s owner, John Henry.
“Every day I get up, it’s front and centre that we finally won [the league],” Henry said this week. “So, that’s my wish for you, that every morning you get up, for as long as you can, think about what we accomplished this year, and I hope you feel as proud as I do.
“The fact that we are champions of England, champions of Europe, the Club World Cup, the Super Cup is just an extraordinary accomplishment by this organisation and by these players. To be involved with that has really been the capstone of my career.”
Soon, attention will turn to defending their title—having had a week off, it’s now just a week before players return to training and less than four before they’re set to face Arsenal in the Community Shield. For now, though, there’s still time to enjoy the triumph.
Over the past year, this group of players and coaches has won the club’s first Club World Cup, their fourth Super Cup, their sixth European Cup. And now they’ve added the club’s nineteenth domestic league title. After three very long decades without one.
“To the staff, to the players, to all of you who expended so much over these last two years, I just want to say thank you from all of us at Fenway Sports Group,” Henry added. “I know you get this from the fans, I don’t know if you get it from us enough. Thank you.”
Liverpool entered January favourites to win their first title in three decades. They ended it with the title all but won.
Given how close Liverpool had come to winning the league before only to watch things slip away, even commanding victories in the previous months over chasers Manchester City and Leicester City hadn’t been enough to make the fans feel comfortable heading into the new year. This time around, though, Liverpool wouldn’t let up or falter—not while the games mattered, in any case—and by the middle of January, even the most nervous fans had started to truly believe that this time it was for real.
January 2nd, Premier LeagueLiverpool 2–0 Sheffield United
New month, new year, same old Liverpool. Mohamed Salah scored early in the first half, adding another goal to his tally while fullback Andy Robertson got himself another assist—he would end the campaign second in the league in that category to teammate and fellow fullback Trent Alexander-Arnold. Then in the second half, Sadio Mané would get another for himself—set up by Salah. In between, the Reds would be absolutely dominant against a side that at the time looked to have a realistic shot at finishing in the Champions League places.
Carlo Ancelotti had last been seen at Anfield frustrating the Reds as Napoli’s manager, and he brought that same energy to his first match in charge of local rivals Everton as the Blues ran out their strongest side against a mixed Liverpool squad and stymied the hosts for more than an hour. In the end, though, a spectacular first senior goal for Scouse youngster Curtis Jones would separate the two sides and provide a memorable moment in this cup edition of the derby.
January 11th, Premier LeagueTottenham Hotspur 0–1 Liverpool
Spurs had changed managers since Liverpool last faced them, bringing in Jose Mourinho to try to salvage something for a side that faced the Reds in the previous season’s Champions League final but had completely fallen apart to start 2019-20, and the Portuguese manager did about what you’d expect him to do here: he set up his side to defend against a top side, doing his best to suck the life out of another marquee match.
Liverpool, though, didn’t seem overly bothered and looked much the better side in the first, scoring a goal and comfortably ahead in the run of play. Then, in the second, they looked to manage the game, dialling back slightly and conserving energy and relying in the quality of their own defence to see things out. A seemingly dangerous approach, perhaps, but one this group showed they were more than capable of executing repeatedly this season—and an approach may have helped them to conserve energy and avoid a let-off in the league until the games didn’t matter any more.
January 19th, Premier LeagueLiverpool 2–0 Manchester United
It was the middle of January, 21 games into their season, Liverpool’s only blemish in the league remained a draw with United in the autumn. For the Reds, there was a chance for revenge—but VAR would try to spoil their party. After Virgil van Dijk put them up in the 14th minute, they would have a Roberto Firmino strike ruled out after Van Dijk was judged to have made contact with David de Gea jumping for a loose ball. Then Gini Wijnaldum was confirmed offside.
Add in a vintage performance for De Gea in the midst of an otherwise poor season and a game that should have been out of sight was worryingly close—until Salah got himself on the end of a long pass by Alisson, ran the length of the United half while shrugging off Daniel James, and slotted to settle the game in second half stoppage time. As Alisson sprinted the length of the pitch to celebrate and United heads dropped, Liverpool fans broke out—for the first time—in a triumphant chorus of we’re going to win the league.
January 23rd, Premier LeagueWolverhampton Wanderers 1–2 Liverpool
Having beaten Spurs and United, here was another game that in past seasons might have seen the Reds slip, as they went on the road to take on a very good Wolves side. A pair of Liverpool goals, though, with Henderson and Firmino—his final goal of the season until the final home game against Chelsea six months and one global pandemic later—striking on either side of a Raul Jimenez effort, and with the help of some strong goalkeeping from Alisson, again saw three points earned for the Reds.
January 26th, FA CupShrewsbury Town 2-2 Liverpool
It’s the magic of the cup. With the focus firmly on the league in the midst of a long and draining season, a highly changed Liverpool side went to New Meadow to take on League One Shrewsbury in front of less than 10,000 fans. The composition of the Reds’ eleven is evident from the goal scorers, with Curtis Jones recording his second cup effort and youth fullback Yasser Larouci scoring his first senior goal. Striker Jason Cummings, though, would score two for The Shrews and earn them a replay—in the middle of what was meant to be Liverpool’s mid-season break the next month.
January 29th, Premier LeagueWest Ham United 0–2 Liverpool
If West Ham might have taken any hope from watching a League One side give Liverpool—even a heavily rotated and very young Liverpool—trouble, that hope didn’t last long as the Reds ended the month drama free, easing past the Hammers as they made up the game in hand they’d had ever since heading to Qatar to win the Club World Cup.
They’d started the month 13 points up on Leicester and 14 points ahead of Man City with that game in hand. They ended it 19 points clear of City and 22 ahead of Leicester. As the fans had sung against United, there were no longer any doubts—doubts nurtured by three decades of coming up short—that they would win the league.
Victor Moses has stated that Inter Milan who he joined on loan from Chelsea in January will focus on winning the Europa League after finishing second in Serie A.
Moses played a very brief cameo role on Saturday as Inter traveled away to defeat Atlanta 2-0 in their final Serie A encounter of the season at the Gewiss Stadium.
The Nigeria wingback was a 90th-minute replacement for Ashley Young who had put Inter two goals up in the 20th minute of the game off an assist from Roberto Gagliardini.
Young himself had been a provider before turning a scorer, having earlier setup Danilo D’Ambrosio who netted the opening goal for the Nerazzuri in the first minute.
Inter will trade tackles with Getafe in the last 16 of the Europa League on Wednesday. The tie will be played at a neutral venue in Germany and will be single-legged.
Moses ahead of the match tweeted on Sunday: “Good 2-0 win, Thanks to all of our amazing fans for your support this season! “All focus on the Europa League now.”
Although, Moses failed to hit the back of the net in 12 Serie A appearances for Inter, the former Nigeria international did well to weigh in five assists.
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It’s believed that everyone has a secret talent. Maybe it’s a party trick, or something more serious, like a hobby that you’re passionate about.
In the case of some professional footballers, having one famous talent isn’t enough. They also have a secret skill; something that fewer people know about, but is pretty impressive all the same.
Whether it’s a singing goalkeeper or a defender tricking you with his cards, the world of football is full of weird and wonderful talent. Here’s a look at some of them.
David Luiz – Magic
While David Luiz has often vanished when he was supposed to be defending a goal, he also likes to make objects disappear in his role as a master of the magic arts.
He certainly had a trick up his sleeve for his Chelsea teammates in 2016, performing a magic routine in their club dressing room before a game, and it’s something that he likes to practice after training every day.
Fans at his latest club Arsenal will be hoping he can translate that magic to the pitch as they chase silverware in the English Premier League.
Juan Mata – Piano
As a skilful attacking midfielder, Juan Mata is known to have twinkle toes – so it maybe shouldn’t be a surprise that he has twinkle fingers, too.
Walking past a piano at his team’s hotel recently, he couldn’t resist serenading his team mates with a perfect rendition of ‘Flea Waltz’ recently.
With Mata close to the football retirement age, could he be about to start a new career after he hangs up his boots?
Hal Robson-Kanu – Cryptocurrency entrepreneur
Cryptocurrencies dominate the headlines today, and they are predicted to be the payment systems of the future. Back in 2014, not many people saw the potential in them, but Hal Robson-Kanu was busy studying the Bitcoin White Paper and being an active member of the blockchain community.
Amazed by how the coin had increased in value to $40, the Welsh international footballer jumped on board and is now reaping the benefits of a currency that can now be widely used, whether it be internet shopping or sports betting.
In a recent interview with a UK newspaper, he spoke about his excitement about the technology, calling it ‘the future’. If he’s right, and cryptocurrencies continue with their recent trajectory, then a rich footballer could get a lot richer.
Gerard Pique – Poker Player
The Barcelona captain is used to success – he’s won many tournaments with his club team, as well as the World Cup with Spain. But not many people expected him to win much when he turned up to a poker event in Barcelona with team-mate Arturo Vidal in 2019.
While we often hear stories of footballers losing tons of money in casinos, Pique is an exception. Instead of playing casino games in which you’re bound to lose sooner or later, he walked away from the poker tournament with just over 350,000 euros after proving that his skills were not just limited to a field. Vidal wasn’t far behind him, which meant the pair won almost half a million between them.
Some people might wonder why a millionaire footballer needs to win such a large amount of money, but Pique does do a lot of work for charity – he and wife Shakira recently held a charity baby shower for UNICEF.
Daniel Agger – Tattoo Artist
If there are any Liverpool fans that doubt Daniel Agger’s love for their club, then they should check out his tattoos. The former footballer has Y.N.W.A etched onto the knuckles of his right hand – standing for You’ll Never Walk Alone, the club’s anthem.
Agger has also dedicated his back to ink – covering himself with a variety of tattoos, many of which depict vikings as a tribute to his Scandinavian heritage.
It’s a passion he loves so much that he’s now a qualified tattoo artist. Let’s hope he’s as steady with his hands as he was with his feet.
Petr Cech – Drums
The former Chelsea goalkeeper has swapped keeping clean sheets to keeping beats for a hobby since his retirement.
He has quite a talent for it, too. His YouTube page has him banging out some high-quality covers of songs from bands such as Coldplay and the Foo Fighters. He also teamed up with Roger Taylor, Queen’s drummer, to release a charity single called ‘That’s Football’, and even played at a music festival in his native Czech Republic.
Fans of football and rock music should Czech out his stuff if they want to see him combine the best of both worlds.
So, next time you think of a pro footballer as a shallow millionaire lounging around in his luxury mansion, just think: he might be practicing magic tricks at home or etching a tattoo for a couple of hundred euros!
Former Super Eagles and Ajax forward Finidi George is backing Victor Osimhen to shine in the color of Napoli next season.
Osimhen broke the African transfer record when he joined Napoli for €80m from French Ligue one side Lille last weekend.
The 21-year-old who signed a deal with the Neapolitans is expected to lead the attack for Gennaro Gattuso’s tutored side next season.
In his reactions to the transfer, Finidi told www.brila.net from his base in Spain, that he’s delighted the player is able to secure the move after a long negotiation between both clubs.
“It’s a good move for Victor and every transfer has its own way of negotiations, but I’m happy everything went well for him.”
“If he’s happy then we are all happy for him,” he told brila.net.
The former Real Betis and Ajax Amsterdam winger also opined that Osimhen will have no problem adapting to the style of football in Italy.
“Why now? , he can adapt, Ronaldo for example shone in Spain before going to Italy and everyone thought he’s going to struggle because of the style of play, but he adapted.”
“So I think Victor can adapt to the style of football in Italy as well and I believe he’s will surely do well,” he told brila.net.
Osimhen who is currently in Nigeria for his holiday is expected to be presented to the Italian media as Napoli player for the first time in the coming days.
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KF Tirana manager’s managed Ndubuisi Emmanuel Egbo, says he’s proud of his achievements with the team despite missing out on the Albanian cup.
Ndubuisi Egbo boys suffered a 2-0 defeat in the hands of Teuta Durrës in Albania Cup final on Sunday night.
With the league title already in the bag, former Nigeria shot-stopper was hoping to add to his record, but goals from Rustem Hoxha and Lorenco Vila at Air Albania Stadium, Tirana dented his hoping of lifting a double.
Despite the loss, Egbo said he’s grateful to God for making him the first African coach to win a European title.
“There are many meanings as I did not know. I was just focused on work and the club. Tirana is the biggest club in Albania where I have given a lot. I have won championships, cups and super cups as the player and club that wants the most. I did not know that I was the first African coach to win a European title.
“I just did my job. I do not deal with statistics or individual objectives. I am a collaborator to achieve the goal of the club as this is the most important. Working for the club goal, I also achieved a personal goal that I did not know existed. That is why the media there have discovered it and starting from the president the government and everyone has congratulated me and it is something extremely good. But I am still the same. With the help of the Lord I have achieved this success and as I have been before so I will be again.” He told the club’s website.
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Super Eagles defender Leon Balogun said he is happy with his debut for Glasgow Rangers at the Pittodrie Stadium on Saturday.
The debut could hardly have gone any better for Balogun who played the entire minutes with the Light Blues running out 1-0 winners at Pittodrie this afternoon.
Speaking to RangersTV, Balogun said: “We are happy with the win. Obviously, it was my first game and my welcome to Scottish football and it could hardly have gone any better – and I think any harder as well.
“I have had similar games before in the Bundesliga, the Premier League and also the Championship – it was very direct but you just have to adapt.
“The lads did a great job in helping me to adjust through the whole week I have trained and it has been fun.
“The second half was maybe not exactly what we wanted the game to be and to look like, but we are happy with the win and the clean sheet as well.” He said.
The former Brighton and Hove Albion defender made the headline as he collided with the post after stopping a ball from going into his own net.
After receiving treatment from the medical staff, he was fine to continue with the game.
“I took some tablets to keep the headache down but I carried on. I don’t think I suffered any major concussion or anything which is the most important thing.
“I got a few headers in after that as well so there is no need to worry.” He said.
He also paid tribute to his teammates James Tavernier, Connor Goldson, and Borna Barisic for the way they helped him through his debut.
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The Liverpool loanee is unsure about his future at Swansea but loves the club.
Rhian Brewster has had an excellent season playing in the Championship with Swansea. He netted 11 goals in 22 appearances, and Swansea seem pretty keen to have him back. That said, Brewster himself has made it clear that his future next season is still up in the air.
“I have loved every moment of it, I love the club, I love the fans, I love the staff, I love everybody here,” Brewster told the Swansea club site. “I don’t know what is going to happen next year but if I don’t come back Swansea will always be in my heart.
“I’ll be Swansea forever and I will always keep tabs on them no matter what,” he added. “I just hope that the boys just go for it again next season. If I’m here then we’ll all push together, but if I’m not then I hope the boys dig deep, go for it again and don’t look back.”
“They will use this as motivation as I know we’re not going to want to feel like this again. I think we should just keep pushing and pushing and I love everyone at the club.”
The fact that Swansea didn’t manage to secure a promotion back to the Premier League probably means they’ll be going for it again without Brewster. The player has already been netting interest from other Premier League clubs (including Sheffield United) and for a player as good as he is, a move back to the Premier League is almost definitely (and should definitely be) on the cards.
The goalkeeper waxes eloquent on just how incredible it is to have Klopp as boss.
We’re going to be reliving this particular season for a while, so it’s a good thing that all the players are fight there with us. This time, Alisson (a.k.a.: the Holy Goalie) sat down with ESPN program Bola da Vez and talked a lot about the Premier League trophy, Klopp, how great it was to win things, Klopp, and also Klopp.
“This was one of the most exhausting seasons I’ve ever had,” Alisson said. “I don’t know if it was due to the pandemic, the longer season… It was also one of the seasons I played less games because of injuries. This was one of the most exhausting seasons I’ve ever had. I don’t know if it was due to the pandemic, the longer season… It was also one of the seasons I played less games because of injuries.”
“We got out of the Champions League early, but I think this exhaustion comes from just giving everything we have every time,” he added, making a very good case for building out the team’s depth (please). “Klopp has a great portion of that, just telling us what the main objective is. We also care about how we are going to get to that objective — training, just how he manages our training sessions. He trusts us to do what he wants us to do, on not only training sessions, but also a day-to-day basis.”
“He is a passionate guy and he shows that. He wants to win and make Liverpool an even greater club.”
Hopefully nothing about the team dynamics change before next season, and we add on enough players to make the inevitable treble we’re about to win much less exhausting.