New striker Rickie Lambert believes Liverpool will quickly find their rhythm having got a first win on the board early. A hard-fought 2-1 home victory over Southampton got Brendan Rodgers’ side under way but it seemed a long way from the devastating performances which tore opponents to shreds last season. Next up are Manchester City, who pipped them to the title in the final week, but Lambert believes the Reds will soon pick up the tempo. “It was definitely a goal and he’s managed to push it on to the underside of the bar.” Lambert found himself in the unique position of being applauded by both sets of fans as he made his way onto the pitch with the 32-year-old former Reds trainee still warmly regarded by supporters of the club he served so well. “It was strange to come on against your old team-mates. I haven’t had many situations like that in may career but you have to be as professional as you can,” he added. “It was special from the Liverpool fans making my debut, which was a dream, and it was special from Southampton fans who showed a lot of respect and appreciation.” There was not the same appreciation from Dejan Lovren, another former Saint who made his Liverpool debut – the third, Adam Lallana is recovering from a knee injury. The Croatian was booed throughout by fans who were unhappy with the way he handled his exit after just a season on the south coast but it did not appear to affect his performance. “I thought Lovren was excellent,” said Rodgers. “It is always difficult when you play against your old team. If you have nine or 10 things to think about, when you play your old team you have 20. “He is a real leader and he was excellent.” Southampton boss Ronald Koeman was equally happy with the performance of Schneiderlin, who has been angling for a move to Tottenham to be reunited with ex-Saints coach Mauricio Pochettino. “I think it was good for him. He is player of Southampton and he will continue playing for Southampton,” said the Dutchman. “He changed his mind and mentality and he showed that this week. “He showed his qualities and he is very strong for the team. It was normal for me to put him in the line up.” “I don’t think we played badly, I just don’t think it was as fluid as Liverpool can play,” said the England international, who made his debut against his former side with a late substitute appearance. “But I thought the first goal (from Raheem Sterling) was excellent: a great pass from Jordan (Henderson) and a good finish and after some pressure from Southampton we came strong and got the win. “It was a really hard game and it was a great three points. The first game is always nervous, you are never quite as sharp as you want to be. “The first game everyone is excited and desperate to win and you are not sure how you are going to play and the quicker you can get that win the better. “It makes you get into your rhythm a bit easier and faster. “The win is perfect but we now have a few hard games coming up.” Like last season, when Simon Mignolet saved a last-minute penalty against Stoke to hold on to three points, it could have been so different had the goalkeeper not produced a brilliant late save from Morgan Schneiderlin. “It was one of the best saves I’ve seen,” added Lambert. Press Association
Next month will mark 33 years since Manchester United appointed Sir Alex Ferguson, who almost immediately declared his intention to knock Liverpool off their perch and then went on to fulfil his bold claim over the next 26 years.United’s decline since Ferguson’s departure has been dramatic, with a succession of managers including David Moyes, Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho and now Ole Gunnar Solskjaer failing to restore the club to anything near their former glories – a six-year devolution made all the more difficult to stomach by the rise of Manchester City and Liverpool in that time.City undoubtedly remain the lesser of those two evils from a United perspective, but so far this term it is Liverpool who have established themselves as the dominant force in English football, to the extent that chief executive Peter Moore last month claimed that the Merseysiders are now “back on their perch”.While such a statement may have been a little premature, the signs certainly point to this being Liverpool’s best chance to end a 30-year wait to be crowned champions of England for a 19th time – something which would leave them one behind United in that particular list.Eight wins from eight this season have seen Liverpool open up an eight-point lead over champions Manchester City, a sizeable deficit to make up even considering how early it still is in the campaign.In truth, Jurgen Klopp’s side have not always been as convincing as that perfect record suggests; they could have easily failed to win matches against Southampton, Chelsea and Sheffield United had their opponents showcased better finishing or not made crucial mistakes, while they needed a 95th-minute penalty to keep their 100 per cent start alive against Leicester City before the international break.Nonetheless, winning while not at your best has been a hallmark of champions since before either of these clubs began dominating English football, and it is impossible to argue against Liverpool’s run of 17 successive top-flight victories.The opportunity to equal Man City’s all-time mark of 18 at Old Trafford is one this Liverpool team will relish and, while it is a stadium which does not hold many fond memories from recent years, the gulf in class between the two sides is arguably more in Liverpool’s favour now than it has been at any stage since Ferguson took charge in 1986.References to that season 33 years ago are particularly pertinent considering United are facing their worst start to a campaign since then should they fail to win on Sunday, and it took them only a few extra weeks to sack Ron Atkinson on that occasion.Atkinson had actually led United to 10 successive wins at the start of the previous league season – one of only four teams to have reached the nine out of nine mark Liverpool are attempting to reach on Sunday, and the only one to have failed to win the title from that position.Only Chelsea in 2005-06 have won the opening nine games in a Premier League season, and should they go on to break that record then it would be another serious reminder of their title credentials with United, Tottenham Hotspur and Man City in three of their next four league games.It was a defeat to Liverpool last season which eventually cost Mourinho his job at Old Trafford, although recent comments from Ed Woodward suggest that the under-fire Solskjaer is still some way away from having the final nail hammered into his coffin.Nonetheless, an improvement is undoubtedly needed having won just four of their last 23 matches across all competitions inside 90 minutes, while their only triumph of any kind in their five games before the international break was a penalty shootout win at home to League One Rochdale.The dire nature of those results have only been matched by the level of performance; the Red Devils could have no complaints at slumping to a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Newcastle United in their last outing, while that came off the back of a goalless draw against AZ Alkmaar during which they failed to register a single shot on target.Goalscoring has been one of the biggest issues since the false dawn of a 4-0 triumph over Chelsea in their opening game of the season, failing to hit the back of the net more than once in any of their subsequent 10 league and cup games – their worst run since 2007.It is a record which does not bode well coming up against the league’s stingiest defence, although there may be some truth in Solskjaer’s claim that facing Liverpool is actually the “perfect” game for his side rather than the worst possible one.Without doubt they will need the ‘derby effect’ of the form book going out of the window, with United having won just two of their last 13 Premier League matches, picking up only 11 points from a possible 39 in that time.Indeed, since Solskjaer was appointed on a permanent basis the Red Devils have earned only 17 points from 16 top-flight matches – a tally which averaged over a 38-game season would see them just scrape past the 40-point mark generally needed for Premier League survival.The hope for United could lie in the fact that this match comes at Old Trafford; both of their league wins this season have come at home – and both have been impressive ones too – whereas Liverpool have only won two of their last 13 league games away to other teams in the ‘big six’, although one of those did come at Chelsea already this term.Should the result go as expected then Liverpool would end the weekend 18 points clear of United after nine games but, as painful as that statistic might be for the 20-time champions, the more immediate concern could be the possibility of falling eight points adrift of the top four already.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 25: Romelu Lukaku of Manchester United celebrates scoring their first goal during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Chelsea at Old Trafford on February 25, 2018 in Manchester, England. (Photo by John Peters/Man Utd via Getty Images) History beckons for Liverpool at the home of their greatest rivals on Sunday when they face Manchester United at Old Trafford looking for a record-equalling 18th consecutive top-flight win.A whopping 15 points already separate the sides after just eight games of the season, with Liverpool having won all eight so far this term compared to only two league victories for United. Two of England’s most successful clubs will on tomorrow go head-to-head in the Premier League as Manchester United take on Liverpool. The Reds will be hoping to extend their eight-point lead at the top of the table while also looking to increase the widening chasm between themselves and United. However, the Devils will be hoping to dent Jurgen Klopp’s unblemished start
BV/Triumph 8th of May Movement Emancipation Football League…Several rounds of riveting football action lit up the Beterverwagting Playground over the past weekend as the Plaisance team continued to show their prowess in the BV/Triumph 8th of May Movement Emancipation Cohesion Football League.Dwayne King (left) and Denzil KingThe League, which is being fuelled by Bakewell/Lloyd WP Britton/GO Benjamin/GLDA and NAREI, witnessed two rounds of magical football from the boots of Plaisance. On Sunday last, Plaisance registered their second demolition, this time exerting their power over the St John’s Bosco Orphanage team. Plaisance, entering the second round after a commendable first-round display against country team Mahaica, clearly worked hard on their game plan against St John’s Bosco, putting them on the defensive very early in the match, with Travis Simon scoring within the first two minutes of the encounter.Throughout the match, Plaisance demonstrated their outstanding capabilities, with an exhibition of high levels of skill, tactic sand professionalism. These traits, which proved highly competitive for their first-round challengers Mahaica, gave St John’s Bosco a horrendous time, as four goals were scored in the first half of the 60-minute match, with Denzil King, Dwayne King and Vincent Thomas, respectively scoring in the 15th, 18th and 23rd minutes. And as if it was not already enough to rub salt into the wounds of St John’s Bosco, Thomas completed a triple when he added to his first-half goal, by drilling the net in the 41st and final minute of the encounter, to give Plaisance a convincing victory of six goals to nil.Plaisance will play their third and final-round preliminary encounter against East Ruimveldt – one of the spectators’ favourites to win the league- on Friday, from 20:15h at the BV Playground.The League, which kicked off on August 10, received the stamp of approval from Director of Sport, Christopher Jones, who stated that the BV/Triumph 8th of May organisation was truly “a movement”. Ten teams are currently competing for cash and prizes. The first-place winner will receive $350,000 while second and third will cop $250,000 and $150,000 respectively.