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Football: Liverpool Facing Premier Football Endurance Test

Posted on: December 26, 2008

LONDON: It was legendary Liverpool manager Bill Shankly who said the race for the English league title is a “marathon not a sprint”.

But lasting the distance has proved a problem in recent seasons for the club the Scot moulded into one of the giants of the English game.

Liverpool head into the busy festive period, which sees them welcome Lancashire rivals Bolton Wanderers to Anfield on Friday, with a one-point lead at the top of the table.

However, not since 1990 have Liverpool, who’ve won the title a record 18 times, been able to call themselves champions of England.

Sammy Lee, now back at Anfield as assistant manager to Rafael Benitez following an ill-fated spell in charge of Bolton, said: “People ask and expect more, and they are entitled to want that.

“We are stronger, getting stronger,” added Lee, an ex-England midfielder who won several English titles with hometown club Liverpool as a player.

Liverpool, who could have star striker Fernando Torres back in their side for Friday’s Boxing Day clash, haven’t lost to top-10 team Bolton at Anfield since 1954.

Twice in successive games have second-placed Chelsea failed to take advantage of Liverpool draws to go top themselves.

But should Benitez’s side, held to a 1-1 draw by Arsenal last time out, drop more points it is hard to see Chelsea being quite so generous at home to bottom-of-the-table West Brom, even though the Baggies come into the game on the back of a win over fellow strugglers Manchester City.

Chelsea will, however, be without inspirational captain John Terry after the England centre-half was sent off for a dangerous tackle on Leon Osman during Monday’s goalless stalemate against Everton.

Manchester United, buoyed by winning the Club World Cup in Japan, return to domestic action away to Stoke.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s English and European champions are seven points off top spot but with two games in hand.

Stoke are one of several clubs above the botton three who, even now, are involved in a scrap for survival in the lucrative top tier of English football.

“We expect Stoke to fight for everything because you look at how tight the league is,” said United manager Ferguson.

“It is the tightest I can remember. It may need over 40 points for a team to be guaranteed safety, maybe even 43.”

Aston Villa, currently third, are doing their best to edge Arsenal out of the top four.

They will be looking to complete a double over the Londoners, who are without injured captain Cesc Fabregas and suspended striker Emmanuel Adebayor.

“It is a big game,” said Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. “We are three points behind and have a good opportunity to come back on them.”

Moneybags Manchester City’s descent into the bottom three contrasts sharply with the position of Hull, Friday’s visitors to Eastlands.

A club of modest means, Hull sit an impressive sixth in the table in their first top-flight season.

City may be bankrolled by the Abu Dhabi United group but their league position means even a fantastic salary offer may not be enough to persaude the world’s best players to join the club during the January transfer window.

But they do already have Robinho and the Brazil star is now fit again after an ankle problem.

Portsmouth, in danger of being drawn into the relegation dogfight, are at home to West Ham. This will be FA Cup holders Pompey’s first match since Lassana Diarra’s transfer to Spanish giants Real Madrid.

“The midfield from the FA Cup final has been pretty much ripped out,” said Portsmouth manager Tony Adams. “That is the heart of your team and your protection for the defence. But I will pick up the pieces, work with the lads here and try to get some results.”

Blackburn Rovers will look to make it two wins out of two for their new manager, Sam Allardyce, as they try to climb out of the bottom three against a Sunderland side that has scored eight goals in its last two games under caretaker boss Ricky Sbragia.

Tottenham, beaten by Newcastle last weekend, take on in-form Fulham in a London derby.

The Wigan manager, as opposed to the boyhood Newcastle fan, in Steve Bruce may have cause to regret England striker Michael Owen staying with the Magpies until at least the end of the season.

Meanwhile Middlesbrough, only two points above the relegation zone, are at home to Everton.

– AFP/yt

Channel News Asia

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Football: Liverpool Facing Premier Football Endurance Test

Posted on: December 26, 2008

LONDON: It was legendary Liverpool manager Bill Shankly who said the race for the English league title is a “marathon not a sprint”.

But lasting the distance has proved a problem in recent seasons for the club the Scot moulded into one of the giants of the English game.

Liverpool head into the busy festive period, which sees them welcome Lancashire rivals Bolton Wanderers to Anfield on Friday, with a one-point lead at the top of the table.

However, not since 1990 have Liverpool, who’ve won the title a record 18 times, been able to call themselves champions of England.

Sammy Lee, now back at Anfield as assistant manager to Rafael Benitez following an ill-fated spell in charge of Bolton, said: “People ask and expect more, and they are entitled to want that.

“We are stronger, getting stronger,” added Lee, an ex-England midfielder who won several English titles with hometown club Liverpool as a player.

Liverpool, who could have star striker Fernando Torres back in their side for Friday’s Boxing Day clash, haven’t lost to top-10 team Bolton at Anfield since 1954.

Twice in successive games have second-placed Chelsea failed to take advantage of Liverpool draws to go top themselves.

But should Benitez’s side, held to a 1-1 draw by Arsenal last time out, drop more points it is hard to see Chelsea being quite so generous at home to bottom-of-the-table West Brom, even though the Baggies come into the game on the back of a win over fellow strugglers Manchester City.

Chelsea will, however, be without inspirational captain John Terry after the England centre-half was sent off for a dangerous tackle on Leon Osman during Monday’s goalless stalemate against Everton.

Manchester United, buoyed by winning the Club World Cup in Japan, return to domestic action away to Stoke.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s English and European champions are seven points off top spot but with two games in hand.

Stoke are one of several clubs above the botton three who, even now, are involved in a scrap for survival in the lucrative top tier of English football.

“We expect Stoke to fight for everything because you look at how tight the league is,” said United manager Ferguson.

“It is the tightest I can remember. It may need over 40 points for a team to be guaranteed safety, maybe even 43.”

Aston Villa, currently third, are doing their best to edge Arsenal out of the top four.

They will be looking to complete a double over the Londoners, who are without injured captain Cesc Fabregas and suspended striker Emmanuel Adebayor.

“It is a big game,” said Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. “We are three points behind and have a good opportunity to come back on them.”

Moneybags Manchester City’s descent into the bottom three contrasts sharply with the position of Hull, Friday’s visitors to Eastlands.

A club of modest means, Hull sit an impressive sixth in the table in their first top-flight season.

City may be bankrolled by the Abu Dhabi United group but their league position means even a fantastic salary offer may not be enough to persaude the world’s best players to join the club during the January transfer window.

But they do already have Robinho and the Brazil star is now fit again after an ankle problem.

Portsmouth, in danger of being drawn into the relegation dogfight, are at home to West Ham. This will be FA Cup holders Pompey’s first match since Lassana Diarra’s transfer to Spanish giants Real Madrid.

“The midfield from the FA Cup final has been pretty much ripped out,” said Portsmouth manager Tony Adams. “That is the heart of your team and your protection for the defence. But I will pick up the pieces, work with the lads here and try to get some results.”

Blackburn Rovers will look to make it two wins out of two for their new manager, Sam Allardyce, as they try to climb out of the bottom three against a Sunderland side that has scored eight goals in its last two games under caretaker boss Ricky Sbragia.

Tottenham, beaten by Newcastle last weekend, take on in-form Fulham in a London derby.

The Wigan manager, as opposed to the boyhood Newcastle fan, in Steve Bruce may have cause to regret England striker Michael Owen staying with the Magpies until at least the end of the season.

Meanwhile Middlesbrough, only two points above the relegation zone, are at home to Everton.

– AFP/yt

Channel News Asia

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Football: Liverpool Facing Premier Football Endurance Test

Posted on: December 26, 2008

LONDON: It was legendary Liverpool manager Bill Shankly who said the race for the English league title is a “marathon not a sprint”.

But lasting the distance has proved a problem in recent seasons for the club the Scot moulded into one of the giants of the English game.

Liverpool head into the busy festive period, which sees them welcome Lancashire rivals Bolton Wanderers to Anfield on Friday, with a one-point lead at the top of the table.

However, not since 1990 have Liverpool, who’ve won the title a record 18 times, been able to call themselves champions of England.

Sammy Lee, now back at Anfield as assistant manager to Rafael Benitez following an ill-fated spell in charge of Bolton, said: “People ask and expect more, and they are entitled to want that.

“We are stronger, getting stronger,” added Lee, an ex-England midfielder who won several English titles with hometown club Liverpool as a player.

Liverpool, who could have star striker Fernando Torres back in their side for Friday’s Boxing Day clash, haven’t lost to top-10 team Bolton at Anfield since 1954.

Twice in successive games have second-placed Chelsea failed to take advantage of Liverpool draws to go top themselves.

But should Benitez’s side, held to a 1-1 draw by Arsenal last time out, drop more points it is hard to see Chelsea being quite so generous at home to bottom-of-the-table West Brom, even though the Baggies come into the game on the back of a win over fellow strugglers Manchester City.

Chelsea will, however, be without inspirational captain John Terry after the England centre-half was sent off for a dangerous tackle on Leon Osman during Monday’s goalless stalemate against Everton.

Manchester United, buoyed by winning the Club World Cup in Japan, return to domestic action away to Stoke.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s English and European champions are seven points off top spot but with two games in hand.

Stoke are one of several clubs above the botton three who, even now, are involved in a scrap for survival in the lucrative top tier of English football.

“We expect Stoke to fight for everything because you look at how tight the league is,” said United manager Ferguson.

“It is the tightest I can remember. It may need over 40 points for a team to be guaranteed safety, maybe even 43.”

Aston Villa, currently third, are doing their best to edge Arsenal out of the top four.

They will be looking to complete a double over the Londoners, who are without injured captain Cesc Fabregas and suspended striker Emmanuel Adebayor.

“It is a big game,” said Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. “We are three points behind and have a good opportunity to come back on them.”

Moneybags Manchester City’s descent into the bottom three contrasts sharply with the position of Hull, Friday’s visitors to Eastlands.

A club of modest means, Hull sit an impressive sixth in the table in their first top-flight season.

City may be bankrolled by the Abu Dhabi United group but their league position means even a fantastic salary offer may not be enough to persaude the world’s best players to join the club during the January transfer window.

But they do already have Robinho and the Brazil star is now fit again after an ankle problem.

Portsmouth, in danger of being drawn into the relegation dogfight, are at home to West Ham. This will be FA Cup holders Pompey’s first match since Lassana Diarra’s transfer to Spanish giants Real Madrid.

“The midfield from the FA Cup final has been pretty much ripped out,” said Portsmouth manager Tony Adams. “That is the heart of your team and your protection for the defence. But I will pick up the pieces, work with the lads here and try to get some results.”

Blackburn Rovers will look to make it two wins out of two for their new manager, Sam Allardyce, as they try to climb out of the bottom three against a Sunderland side that has scored eight goals in its last two games under caretaker boss Ricky Sbragia.

Tottenham, beaten by Newcastle last weekend, take on in-form Fulham in a London derby.

The Wigan manager, as opposed to the boyhood Newcastle fan, in Steve Bruce may have cause to regret England striker Michael Owen staying with the Magpies until at least the end of the season.

Meanwhile Middlesbrough, only two points above the relegation zone, are at home to Everton.

– AFP/yt

Channel News Asia

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