Tag Archives: makhachkala

Fabio Capello trains at Chelsea for Russia v Brazil while Luiz Felipe Scolari and Yuri Zhirkov also return

Capello arrives at Stamford Bridge with Blues looking for new boss… but he's here on official Russia duty

By
Rik Sharma

PUBLISHED:

13:18 GMT, 24 March 2013

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UPDATED:

13:34 GMT, 24 March 2013

So Fabio Capello has arrived at Stamford Bridge this season after all.

But don't worry Rafa, he's not here for a secret meeting with Roman Abramovich – instead to take charge of Russia in their glamour friendly against Brazil on Monday night.

Capello took a stroll through Kensington on Sunday morning and then led a training session for his squad on Chelsea's pitch – though Yuri Zhirkov was already well acquainted with his surroundings having played there for two seasons.

At the Bridge: Fabio Capello took a training session for his squad at Chelsea's ground

At the Bridge: Fabio Capello took a training session for his squad at Chelsea's ground

Capello (right) gets his point across

All together now: Capello talks to his Russia players ahead of the glamour friendly

All together now: Capello talks to his Russia players ahead of the glamour friendly

The 18million signing failed to make an impact – with Chelsea favouring a 4-3-3 system which did not accomodate his favoured left midfield position position.

Perhaps his best spell came when Ashley Cole was injured – he slotted in at left-back and performed well.

Zhirkov departed for Anzhi Makhachkala in August 2011 for close to 13m.

Old haunt: Yuri Zhirkov played at Chelsea for two seasons but struggled to make a lasting impact

Old haunt: Yuri Zhirkov played at Chelsea for two seasons but struggled to make a lasting impact

View from the Bridge: Russia's players prepare to face the likes of Neymar, Kaka and Oscar

View from the Bridge: Russia's players prepare to face the likes of Neymar, Kaka and Oscar

Capello was focused on the job at hand and had no time to discuss speculation over a move to Chelsea.

He said: 'I know nothing about this. I am really happy with Russia and focused to qualify for the World Cup.'

Capello's counterpart, Luiz Felipe Scolari, has history at Chelsea.

The World Cup winner had an ill-fated spell with the club in 2008, taking over from Avram Grant with Jose Mourinho's shadow still looming over the club.

Scolari brought in Deco and Jose Bosingwa and although he started well, things fell apart sooner rather than later.

Struggle: Luiz Felipe Scolari (left) was booted out by Roman Abramovich

Struggle: Luiz Felipe Scolari (left) was booted out by Roman Abramovich

He was out on his ear by February 9, with Abramovich wielding the axe as Chelsea's form dropped off.

Guus Hiddink came in and salvaged the season, taking them to the infamous Champions League semi-final tie with Barcelona and an FA Cup triumph.

Brazil's squad features three current Chelsea players – Oscar, David Luiz and Ramires.

David Luiz

Oscar

Home: David Luiz, who captained Brazil against Italy, and Oscar, right, play at Stamford Bridge every other week

The latter turned 26 on Sunday and although he missed the country's 2-2 draw with Italy, thanks to a strained right adductor, will be re-assessed before Monday's clash.

Defender Luiz posted this picture montage of him and Ramires on his Instagram account to celebrate his compatriot's birthday.

History: Luiz played with Ramires at Benfica and the pair are good friends now at Chelsea

History: Luiz played with Ramires at Benfica and the pair are good friends now at Chelsea

P.S.

At Chelsea, Luiz has little competition in the 'wild hairstyle' stakes (although youngster Nathan Ake makes a good fist of it).

But with Brazil, he is in good company. He posted this picture of himself with defenders Marcelo, of Real Madrid, and Dante, from Bayern Munich.

I want curly hair too: Luiz (centre) with Marcelo (left) and Dante (right)

I want curly hair too: Luiz (centre) with Marcelo (left) and Dante (right)

Lionel Messi turns down 460,000 a week to leave Barcelona

Messi turns down whopping 460,000-a-WEEK deal after Anzhi trigger his 205m Barcelona release clause

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UPDATED:

06:08 GMT, 28 December 2012

Lionel Messi turned down a blockbusting move to an unknown Russian club after a bid of 205million triggered his release clause.

The club, thought to be Anzhi Makhachkala, then offered a blockbusting 460,000-a-week deal to the Argentine superstar, a massive 24m a year after tax, according to The Sun.

How much Even 460,000 a week couldn't tempt Messi to leave Barca

How much Even 460,000 a week couldn't tempt Messi to leave Barca

Barcelona were obliged to accept the massive offer but a gobsmacked Messi quickly rejected the move after discussions with Barca president Sandro Rosell and his family.

The three-time World Player of the Year, who scored a record breaking 91 goals this calendar year, then pledged his future by signing a new deal with the Catalan giants.

Record-breaker: The deal would've eclipsed the world record fee of 80m rivals Real Madrid paid for Cristiano Ronaldo

Record-breaker: The deal would've eclipsed the world record fee of 80m rivals Real Madrid paid for Cristiano Ronaldo

Roberto Mancini craves Zlatan Ibrahimovic… Manchester City wanted to sign Swede when he left Barcelona

EXCLUSIVE: Mancini craves Ibrahimovic… he wanted to sign the Swede when he left Barca – but even Manchester City can't afford Zlatan the ego

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UPDATED:

12:46 GMT, 15 November 2012

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is the one player Roberto Mancini craves above all others.

The problem, however, is that the 31-year-old Swede is the one player in world football that even Manchester City cannot afford.

Sportsmail understands that Mancini wanted to sign Ibrahimovic when he left Barcelona for AC Milan in the summer of 2011. The Italians, though, had first option on the striker after a successful season-long loan at the San Siro.

Sweden's Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Manchester City Manager Roberto

The one that I want: Man City manager Roberto Mancini (right) is a hug admirer of Sweden's star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who scored all four against England last night (left)

City's coaching staff have long-since grown used to Mancini singing the Sweden star's praises to them, frequently describing him as 'the complete' forward.

Ibrahimovic has the ego to match his vast salary. Zlatan’s autobiography was described as ‘the height of self-indulgence’. And for good reason – it was titled I, Zlatan.

Now at Paris St Germain, he is reportedly paid a whopping 11.5m a year by the French club's Qatari owners.

Enlarge

How he did it: Ibrahimovic scores his sensational overhead kick in Stockholm last night

How he did it: Ibrahimovic scores his sensational overhead kick in Stockholm last night

Red carpet lifestyle: Ibrahimovic is honoured with his name at the Walk of Fame of Sports at the Stadium Square in his hometown Malmo

Red carpet lifestyle: Ibrahimovic is honoured with his name at the Walk of Fame of Sports at the Stadium Square in his hometown Malmo

Only Samuel Eto'o in world football is paid more – reportedly 16m a year – by Russian billionaires Anzhi Makhachkala.

But it is that vast salary which would remain the biggest stumbling block to Mancini signing Ibrahimovic. Such wages, coupled with an estimated 50million transfer fee for a player the wrong side of 30, would be too much for even City's brand of Arab owners based in Abu Dhabi.

For the past five years Ibrahimovic has been one of the five best paid players in the world.

Despite these financial hurdles, bookmaker Ladbrokes believe last night's slayer of England could be moving to the Barclays Premier League soon.

Ibrahimovic unveiled at Paris Saint Germain

Cameroon football team captain and Russian Premier League side Anzhi Makhachkala player Samuel Eto'o

Top dollar: Ibrahimovic signs a three-year 11.5m-a-year deal at PSG (left) and the highest-paid player in the world Samuel Eto'o (right)

Following his wonder strike last night the bookies make Ibrahimovic just 2/1 to take in the Premier League on his European club tour before retirement. He's also been cut to 50/1 for the Golden Boot at the 2014 World Cup.

Alex Donohue of Ladbrokes said: 'We'd love to see Ibrahimovic light up the Premier League.'

Brendan Rodgers: Liverpool were "terrific" in Anzhi Mackhachkala defeat

'Terrific' Liverpool display deserved more than defeat, moans Rodgers after Anzhi loss leaves Reds in Europa League scrap

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UPDATED:

20:52 GMT, 8 November 2012

Brendan Rodgers hailed a 'terrific' team performance even as his Liverpool team came away from their Russian adventure 1-0 losers to Anzhi Makhachkala in the Europa League.

A terrific goal from Lacina Traore on the stroke of half-time was a rare moment of quality in the match, and proved decisive as Liverpool failed to really test the home goalkeeper despite carving out a number of chances.

'I feel for the players tonight, I thought they were outstanding,' Rodgers told ITV4. 'The first half we were tactically terrific for 44 minutes and 50 seconds but then switched off and made a mistake right at the end.

Heads down: Liverpool walk off after defeat to Anzhi Makhachkala at Lokomotiv Stadium in Moscow

Heads down: Liverpool walk off after defeat to Anzhi Makhachkala at Lokomotiv Stadium in Moscow

Matchwinner: Lacina Traore (second right) celebrates scoring with his Anzhi team-mates

Matchwinner: Lacina Traore (second right) celebrates scoring with his Anzhi team-mates

'The second half was more of the same. The game opened up a wee bit, they had chances as we went for it. But we had chances throughout the game.'

Rodgers named a young team, including the likes of Conor Coady, Adam Morgan and Jon Flanagan while Steven Gerrard, Luis Suarez and others remained on Merseyside, and Rodgers was impressed by his young charges.

'Coady came in and was outstanding in his first start, playing against top players, and for Flanagan it was his first game in a long time,' he said.

Close quarters: Rasim Tagirbekov (right) attempts to stop a cross from Jon Flanagan (left)

Close quarters: Rasim Tagirbekov (right) attempts to stop a cross from Jon Flanagan (left)

Midfield battle: Jonjo Shelvey (centre) fights for the ball against Anzhi's Odil Ahmedov (right)

Midfield battle: Jonjo Shelvey (centre) fights for the ball against Anzhi's Odil Ahmedov (right)

'It was a terrific team performance against players of top quality on a difficult pitch, but at this level you get punished when you make mistakes.

'It was a much-changed team but we still deserved something out of the game. We just need to be more clinical.'

Opposite number Guus Hiddink was impressed with the Liverpool performance and happy to take three points that keep them in charge of their own destiny at the top of Group A.

Calm down: Referee David Fernandez Borbalan tells Shelvey to cool it on a frustrating night

Calm down: Referee David Fernandez Borbalan tells Shelvey to cool it on a frustrating night

Head in hands: Liverpool midfielder Joe Cole (centre) reflects on a tough night after being hauled off

Head in hands: Liverpool midfielder Joe Cole (centre) reflects on a tough night after being hauled off

'They had a young side but that does not mean they were not experienced as some of those players play frequently in the Premier League.

'They were good players, skilful players who were tactically good. They tested us but we also have some young players so it's a good result for us.

'We didn't finish it off in the second half, we had two big opportunities, but it was an interesting game on a very bad pitch. They tested us so we have to be happy with this result.'

How Joe Cole became a diddy man

He's just an ordinary Joe: How Liverpool's Cole became a diddy man

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UPDATED:

21:02 GMT, 8 November 2012

Just before half time and Joe Cole was already trending on Twitter. Strange that, because he hadn't done very much. That’s the point.

Sean Lawrence, an Everton supporter, sent this verdict to his followers (@SeanyBoyoEFC). ‘Contrasts – 31 year old Leon Osman receives his first England call up today. Meanwhile its Joe Cole's 31st Birthday and his careers dead!’

Poor Joe. Even being ordinary is news now.

Head in hands: Liverpool midfielder Joe Cole (centre) reflects on a tough night after being hauled off

Head in hands: Liverpool midfielder Joe Cole (centre) reflects on a tough night after being hauled off

This was his first performance since being substituted and criticised by Brendan Rodgers for a lacklustre display against Swansea in the Capital One Cup. At least he lasted beyond 45 minutes this time.

He was in and out of this first half, occasionally getting to the ball, occasionally keeping it, occasionally looking like the player we remember.

Falling down: Joe Cole hits the floor as he fights for the ball with Anzhi Makhachkala's Joao Carlos

Falling down: Joe Cole hits the floor as he fights for the ball with Anzhi Makhachkala's Joao Carlos

He even had a header on goal, which bounced wide.

Up to then, playing just off the front line in a Liverpool team packed with reserves – which is why he got a starting place – the old Chelsea and West Ham No 10 couldn’t really get into the game.

But nor could Samuel Eto’o, until one driving run brought a spectacular save from Brad Jones.

Jonjo Shelvey is the precocious talent Joe Cole used to be. He gets on the ball, sprays a lovely weighted pass and sets the play. Liverpool, who could afford to lose last night (another reason Cole got a starting place) deserved to be level, but fell behind on the stroke of half time, which is how the game ended.

Diddy man: Cole shares his birthday with Ken Dodd

Diddy man: Cole shares his birthday with Ken Dodd

Not that Cole got to see out the whole 90 minutes as Brendan Rodgers opted to replace him after 76 minutes and replaced by Oussama Assaidi.

Back to Twitter, where Ian Abrahams (@BroadcastMoose) told his followers: ‘If it's your birthday you share it with Martin Peters, Alan Curbishley, Joe Cole, Aaron Hughes, Pavel Pogrebnyak, Bret Lee and Ken Dodd.’ So it’s not all bad news for Joe. He gets to share a birthday with the man responsible for Liverpool’s diddy men.

Unfortunately, that’s what Cole has become.

Brendan Rodgers confident Liverpool"s Raheem Sterling can cope with England Under 21 call-up

Rodgers confident Liverpool teen star Sterling can cope with England U21 call-up

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UPDATED:

22:42 GMT, 7 November 2012

Liverpool team to face Anzhi

Jones: Flanagan, Carragher, Coates, Robinson: Shelvey, Henderson, Cole: Assaidi, Morgan, Downing.

Brendan Rodgers will have no concern if Raheem Sterling is selected for England next week as he insisted the Liverpool midfielder is not being overexposed.

England head coach Roy Hodgson is giving serious consideration to selecting Sterling for the friendly with Sweden on Wednesday and is expected to include him once again, having initially picked him to experience the World Cup qualifier against Ukraine.

Sterling has been one of Liverpool’s success stories this season but he has become such an integral figure that he has played 781 minutes of a possible 900 in the Barclays Premier League. He and Steven Gerrard have made the most appearances, with 16 in all competitions.

An old head on young shoulder: Brendan Rodgers says Raheem Sterling can handle and England U21 call-up

An old head on young shoulder: Brendan Rodgers says Raheem Sterling can handle and England U21 call-up

The 17-year-old, however, has been spared a trip to Moscow for this evening’s Europa League game against Anzhi Makhachkala, as Rodgers wants to rest him for Sunday’s game at Chelsea but Liverpool’s manager would be happy to see Sterling travel to Sweden.

‘It’s very difficult to hold him back,’ said Rodgers. ‘This is his dream. I’m sure he wants to play for his country, he has played through the age levels. I’ve always believed if you are good enough, it doesn’t matter how old you are.

‘Raheem is one of the top young players in the country at the moment. I wouldn’t have any worries (if he is selected). He’s in capable hands and would have senior players around him. If you look at how he has coped this season, he’s getting better every week.

Spared Anzhi trip: Sterling

Spared Anzhi trip: Sterling

‘His biggest thing is his courage. I’ve seen him grow from a young kid into a young man these last three months. He works hard every day and has a real challenge up against the senior players here but he embraces it.’

Liverpool top Group A after beating Anzhi 1-0 at Anfield but the team Rodgers selects for this match will be vastly different to the one that was successful two weeks ago and it is likely that Adam Morgan, an 18-year-old Academy graduate, will lead the attack.

‘We want to get into a position where we can compete on all fronts but with the delicacy of the group, we have to be careful,’ said Rodgers.

‘Our priority is the league. Unfortunately if I have to sacrifice other competitions and manage that the best I can because we aren’t maybe in a strong enough state as a squad, then that’s what I’ll have to do.’

Glen Johnson back in full training for Liverpool

Johnson boost for Liverpool as defender returns to training after hamstring problem

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UPDATED:

13:23 GMT, 7 November 2012

LIVERPOOL SQUAD TO PLAY ANZHI

Jones, Wisdom, Carragher, Coates, Robinson, Shelvey, Henderson, Cole, Downing, Yesil, Assaidi, Gulacsi, Ward, Flanagan, Sama, Wilson, Coady, Suso, Morgan.

Glen Johnson has provided Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers with a lift ahead of Sunday's crucial trip to Chelsea by returning to full training.

The England right-back has missed Liverpool's last three games after suffering a hamstring problem in the 1-0 Europa League victory over Anzhi Makhachkala on October 25.

Johnson will not travel to Moscow for Thursday's return fixture against the Russian league leaders but he gave the impression during a training session at Melwood on Wednesday morning he will be fine for the trip to Stamford Bridge this weekend.

On the mend: Glen Johnson (right) was back in action during Liverpool's training session on Wednesday

On the mend: Glen Johnson (right) was back in action during Liverpool's training session on Wednesday

Along with Steven Gerrard, Luis Suarez, Daniel Agger and Martin Skrtel, Johnson was concentrating on fitness and conditioning work with fitness coach Ryland Morgans, while Rodgers oversaw a group that included Jamie Carragher, Stewart Downing and Joe Cole.

Though he has only been on the sidelines a short time, there is little doubt Liverpool have missed Johnson and Rodgers showed how highly he rates the 28-year-old when he paid him a glowing tribute before Sunday's 1-1 draw against Newcastle United.

'Glen has arguably been the player of the season in the Premier League, never mind at Liverpool,' Rodgers said.

'He's been absolutely outstanding when you consider he's played a lot of the season at left-back.

'He is a world-class full-back. When you miss a player of that quality, it does weaken you as a team. I look at him and (Barcelona's) Daniel Alves as the two best right-backs in world football. He has been absolutely fantastic. I have been very impressed with him.'

Liverpool will take a young squad to Russia as they aim to consolidate their place at the top of Group A, which includes Academy graduates Conor Coady and Adam Morgan, a young striker who scored the first goal of Rodgers' reign in a friendly against FC Toronto.

Full pelt: Reds skipper Steven Gerrard was put through his paces at Melwood

Full pelt: Reds skipper Steven Gerrard was put through his paces at Melwood

Getting it right: Luis Suarez was concentrating on fitness and conditioning work

Getting it right: Luis Suarez was concentrating on fitness and conditioning work

The travelling party, which will also include Jordan Henderson and Jonjo Shelvey, will be similar in its identity to the one that went to Switzerland in September and beat Young Boys Berne 5-3 but the task against Anzhi will be more complex.

Gerrard, Johnson, Skrtel, Agger and Suarez all played at Anfield against Guus Hiddink's team two weeks ago but Rodgers, whose side have taken 11 points from their first 10 games, simply cannot afford to risk them ahead of the trip to Chelsea.

Raring to go: Johnson has missed Liverpool's last three games

Raring to go: Johnson has missed Liverpool's last three games

Everton v Liverpool preview – can David Moyes" side stay ahead?

The Mersey mission: Everton are on a high, but can they stay ahead of Liverpool

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UPDATED:

08:37 GMT, 27 October 2012

The late Liverpool manager Bill
Shankly achieved many great things at Anfield, and was also responsible
for one of the most cutting put-downs of Everton.

‘In my time at Liverpool, we had the
two best teams on Merseyside,’ Shankly once said. ‘They were Liverpool
and Liverpool reserves.’

Head to head: Nikica Jelavic and Luis Suarez will square up at Goodison Park

Head to head: Nikica Jelavic and Luis Suarez will square up at Goodison Park

On a mission: Everton Manager David Moyes

On a mission: Everton Manager David Moyes

Derby debut: Liverpool manager Brendan

Derby debut: Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers

A great line indeed, but one that
Kopites would be reluctant to trot out to their rivals as they head
across Stanley Park on Sunday.

Right now, it is Everton that stand
tall on Merseyside. Having finished ahead of Liverpool last season for
only the second time since their last championship success in 1987,
Everton will lead their neighbours by nine points if they win.

Even the bookmakers have David Moyes’ team as narrow favourites but the question is this: Can this blue supremacy really last

It's match night at Anfield on
Thursday. At the main stand coffee bars, the young servers wear staff
T-shirts with slogans on the back.

‘Liverpool without European football is like a banquet without wine,’ reads one from Roy Evans.

‘It’s not about the long ball or the short ball, it’s about the right ball,’ is another from Bob Paisley.

Such words fit nicely into the
romance of a visit to Anfield. It’s a stadium built to invoke memories.
It still looks the same, the announcer’s voice is instantly recognisable
and he still plays the best half-time music.

Out on the field, though, the modern
Liverpool’s version of Europe is a visit from Anzhi Makhachkala in the
Europa League. There’s not much romance about that.

Young guns: Samed Yesil (left) and Jack Robinson in Liverpool training before Sunday's Merseyside derby

Young guns: Samed Yesil (left) and Jack Robinson in Liverpool training before Sunday's Merseyside derby

Fall guy: Joe Cole (middle) takes a tumble as Sebastian Coates (left) and Jon Flanagan look on

Fall guy: Joe Cole (middle) takes a tumble as Sebastian Coates (left) and Jon Flanagan look on

Under new manager Brendan Rodgers,
there are steady signs of improvement. Liverpool are beginning to keep
the ball better and are defending better. They spend the majority of the
night in the Anzhi half, win on the back of a super Stewart Downing
goal and head to Goodison after three successive clean sheets.

Rodgers knows, though, that his immediate horizons, in terms of tangible progress, are limited.

‘Everton finished ahead of us last
season,’ he told Sportsmail. ‘I have seen reports and read snippets
where they think they can finish in the top four this season.

‘They are obviously very confident. My situation is different. I’m trying to get this team as competitive as I can.

‘The status of this club over many
years meant that it was always at the top. So no opponent was different
to any other. But that level has dropped. The hard work is getting the
club to the top end of the division.

‘Coming in to this job, this club had
finished sixth, seventh and eighth. That’s the reality of where it’s
at, so my focus is only on improvement.’

Rodgers is a wonderfully realistic
man. After a difficult summer transfer window, he knows the current
squad is not good enough for the top four. So if Everton do indeed
remain there, the chances are Liverpool will be in their wake again.

That would certainly be hard to take
but, crucially, Liverpool’s supporters appear to have bought into
Rodgers’ vision of baby step progress. On Thursday his name is sung
before kick-off and again during the second half. His trust in young
players such as Jonjo Shelvey and Andre Wisdom is clearly endorsed by
what looks close to a full house.

On the ball: Joe Allen (right) tries to shake off the attentions of Samed Yesil

On the ball: Joe Allen (right) tries to shake off the attentions of Samed Yesil

Behind you! Allen tries to pinch the ball from Flanagan during training at Melwood on Friday

Behind you! Allen tries to pinch the ball from Flanagan during training at Melwood on Friday

‘Jonjo’s like Bambi on ice when he gets going,’ chuckles one fan. ‘But at least he gives everything.’

Of concern to Liverpool is the
current reliance on two more senior players, Steven Gerrard and Luis
Suarez. The relationship between the two is beginning to look as
fundamental as that between Gerrard and Fernando Torres when Liverpool
last came close to winning the title back in 2009.

For all his faults, Suarez remains a
terrific player and Rodgers has done well to rehabilitate him after the
tribulations of last season. If Liverpool are to prosper, the Uruguayan
and his captain simply must stay fit.

‘We are having more controlled
possession and that’s the important bit,’ said Rodgers. ‘Anzhi was a
difficult game and we did well.’

Sunday, he can be sure, will be more difficult.

Goodison Park is a great place to
watch a derby. It’s a great place to watch any football match. It’s also
a stadium that is acting like a noose round the neck of long-term
Everton progress. In the dug-out, manager Moyes’ guts will churn as he
seeks victory over the enemy. He feels it that badly.

Over time, though, no matter what
Moyes does, a more predictable order may return to Merseyside unless
they find a buyer for the club or leave dear old Goodison behind.

Match-day revenue per season is
17.4m at Goodison. At Anfield it’s 55m and that’s before work begins
to increase Liverpool’s stadium capacity to 60,000.

The gulf is clear. Commercially — at
home and abroad — Liverpool remain a very big club. Everton — a club
that boast only a dozen executive boxes — are somewhat smaller. Last
season Liverpool were shown live on Sky and ESPN 22 times. Everton
featured on nine occasions.

Against this background, Everton’s current supremacy is all the more remarkable.

Keepers' capers: Brad Jones (left) and Pepe Reina in action with the new fluorescent Premier League winter footballs

Keepers' capers: Brad Jones (left) and Pepe Reina in action with the new fluorescent Premier League winter footballs

Iron fists: Pepe Reina punches the ball away

Iron fists: Pepe Reina punches the ball away

Under Bill Kenwright’s ownership, the
club has pushed itself bravely in terms of finance. Everton pay good
wages — Marouane Fellaini earns 75,000 a week — and forthcoming
financial results will show total outlay in that area to be 60m, the
ninth-highest in the Premier League. Everton survive and prosper by
driving hard bargains when they buy players and selling one big name
every summer to keep the bank from the door.

Currently, it’s a model that is keeping them ahead of the Reds but still an inferiority complex remains among some supporters.

There is a perception that the authorities favour Liverpool.

The city council, for example,
recently granted planning permission and imposed compulsory purchase
orders so the redevelopment of Anfield could begin. Everton, meanwhile,
saw their attempt to build a new stadium in Kirkby thrown out by the
government in 2009.

Currently there are intentions to
look at a site on nearby Stanley Park. There was a meeting with the
council about it on Friday.

A buyer for the club would help.
Kenwright would sell for about 120m, but who would want to buy a club
with a stadium barely fit for modern purpose

In the Everton dressing room they are optimistic ahead of the derby.

A friend of one senior player says: ‘We think Liverpool are weak through the middle of defence.’

But Everton have fluffed their lines
against the enemy before, most notably when giving up a 1-0 lead in last
season’s FA Cup semi-final.

Over his decade at Goodison, Moyes has won just three of 20 league games against Liverpool but nobody can fault his ambition.

‘My job is to try (to finish above Liverpool) and I have to look to try to do that,’ he said yesterday.

‘It’s a big ask. Everton’s sole focus
shouldn’t be on finishing above Liverpool. We have to think about
finishing above Manchester United and City. That might sound crazy but
that’s what I’m thinking of.’

The Mersey mission: Everton are on a high, but can they stay ahead of Liverpool?

The Mersey mission: Everton are on a high, but can they stay ahead of Liverpool

|

UPDATED:

22:59 GMT, 26 October 2012

The late Liverpool manager Bill
Shankly achieved many great things at Anfield, and was also responsible
for one of the most cutting put-downs of Everton.

‘In my time at Liverpool, we had the
two best teams on Merseyside,’ Shankly once said. ‘They were Liverpool
and Liverpool reserves.’

On a mission: Everton Manager David Moyes

On a mission: Everton Manager David Moyes

Derby debut: Liverpool manager Brendan

Derby debut: Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers

A great line indeed, but one that
Kopites would be reluctant to trot out to their rivals as they head
across Stanley Park on Sunday.

Right now, it is Everton that stand
tall on Merseyside. Having finished ahead of Liverpool last season for
only the second time since their last championship success in 1987,
Everton will lead their neighbours by nine points if they win.

Even the bookmakers have David Moyes’ team as narrow favourites but the question is this: Can this blue supremacy really last

It's match night at Anfield on
Thursday. At the main stand coffee bars, the young servers wear staff
T-shirts with slogans on the back.

‘Liverpool without European football is like a banquet without wine,’ reads one from Roy Evans.

‘It’s not about the long ball or the short ball, it’s about the right ball,’ is another from Bob Paisley.

Such words fit nicely into the
romance of a visit to Anfield. It’s a stadium built to invoke memories.
It still looks the same, the announcer’s voice is instantly recognisable
and he still plays the best half-time music.

Out on the field, though, the modern
Liverpool’s version of Europe is a visit from Anzhi Makhachkala in the
Europa League. There’s not much romance about that.

Young guns: Samed Yesil (left) and Jack Robinson in Liverpool training before Sunday's Merseyside derby

Young guns: Samed Yesil (left) and Jack Robinson in Liverpool training before Sunday's Merseyside derby

Fall guy: Joe Cole (middle) takes a tumble as Sebastian Coates (left) and Jon Flanagan look on

Fall guy: Joe Cole (middle) takes a tumble as Sebastian Coates (left) and Jon Flanagan look on

Under new manager Brendan Rodgers,
there are steady signs of improvement. Liverpool are beginning to keep
the ball better and are defending better. They spend the majority of the
night in the Anzhi half, win on the back of a super Stewart Downing
goal and head to Goodison after three successive clean sheets.

Rodgers knows, though, that his immediate horizons, in terms of tangible progress, are limited.

‘Everton finished ahead of us last
season,’ he told Sportsmail. ‘I have seen reports and read snippets
where they think they can finish in the top four this season.

‘They are obviously very confident. My situation is different. I’m trying to get this team as competitive as I can.

‘The status of this club over many
years meant that it was always at the top. So no opponent was different
to any other. But that level has dropped. The hard work is getting the
club to the top end of the division.

‘Coming in to this job, this club had
finished sixth, seventh and eighth. That’s the reality of where it’s
at, so my focus is only on improvement.’

Rodgers is a wonderfully realistic
man. After a difficult summer transfer window, he knows the current
squad is not good enough for the top four. So if Everton do indeed
remain there, the chances are Liverpool will be in their wake again.

That would certainly be hard to take
but, crucially, Liverpool’s supporters appear to have bought into
Rodgers’ vision of baby step progress. On Thursday his name is sung
before kick-off and again during the second half. His trust in young
players such as Jonjo Shelvey and Andre Wisdom is clearly endorsed by
what looks close to a full house.

On the ball: Joe Allen (right) tries to shake off the attentions of Samed Yesil

On the ball: Joe Allen (right) tries to shake off the attentions of Samed Yesil

Behind you! Allen tries to pinch the ball from Flanagan during training at Melwood on Friday

Behind you! Allen tries to pinch the ball from Flanagan during training at Melwood on Friday

‘Jonjo’s like Bambi on ice when he gets going,’ chuckles one fan. ‘But at least he gives everything.’

Of concern to Liverpool is the
current reliance on two more senior players, Steven Gerrard and Luis
Suarez. The relationship between the two is beginning to look as
fundamental as that between Gerrard and Fernando Torres when Liverpool
last came close to winning the title back in 2009.

For all his faults, Suarez remains a
terrific player and Rodgers has done well to rehabilitate him after the
tribulations of last season. If Liverpool are to prosper, the Uruguayan
and his captain simply must stay fit.

‘We are having more controlled
possession and that’s the important bit,’ said Rodgers. ‘Anzhi was a
difficult game and we did well.’

Sunday, he can be sure, will be more difficult.

Goodison Park is a great place to
watch a derby. It’s a great place to watch any football match. It’s also
a stadium that is acting like a noose round the neck of long-term
Everton progress. In the dug-out, manager Moyes’ guts will churn as he
seeks victory over the enemy. He feels it that badly.

Over time, though, no matter what
Moyes does, a more predictable order may return to Merseyside unless
they find a buyer for the club or leave dear old Goodison behind.

Match-day revenue per season is
17.4m at Goodison. At Anfield it’s 55m and that’s before work begins
to increase Liverpool’s stadium capacity to 60,000.

The gulf is clear. Commercially — at
home and abroad — Liverpool remain a very big club. Everton — a club
that boast only a dozen executive boxes — are somewhat smaller. Last
season Liverpool were shown live on Sky and ESPN 22 times. Everton
featured on nine occasions.

Against this background, Everton’s current supremacy is all the more remarkable.

Keepers' capers: Brad Jones (left) and Pepe Reina in action with the new fluorescent Premier League winter footballs

Keepers' capers: Brad Jones (left) and Pepe Reina in action with the new fluorescent Premier League winter footballs

Iron fists: Pepe Reina punches the ball away

Iron fists: Pepe Reina punches the ball away

Under Bill Kenwright’s ownership, the
club has pushed itself bravely in terms of finance. Everton pay good
wages — Marouane Fellaini earns 75,000 a week — and forthcoming
financial results will show total outlay in that area to be 60m, the
ninth-highest in the Premier League. Everton survive and prosper by
driving hard bargains when they buy players and selling one big name
every summer to keep the bank from the door.

Currently, it’s a model that is keeping them ahead of the Reds but still an inferiority complex remains among some supporters.

There is a perception that the authorities favour Liverpool.

The city council, for example,
recently granted planning permission and imposed compulsory purchase
orders so the redevelopment of Anfield could begin. Everton, meanwhile,
saw their attempt to build a new stadium in Kirkby thrown out by the
government in 2009.

Currently there are intentions to
look at a site on nearby Stanley Park. There was a meeting with the
council about it on Friday.

A buyer for the club would help.
Kenwright would sell for about 120m, but who would want to buy a club
with a stadium barely fit for modern purpose

In the Everton dressing room they are optimistic ahead of the derby.

A friend of one senior player says: ‘We think Liverpool are weak through the middle of defence.’

But Everton have fluffed their lines
against the enemy before, most notably when giving up a 1-0 lead in last
season’s FA Cup semi-final.

Over his decade at Goodison, Moyes has won just three of 20 league games against Liverpool but nobody can fault his ambition.

‘My job is to try (to finish above Liverpool) and I have to look to try to do that,’ he said yesterday.

‘It’s a big ask. Everton’s sole focus
shouldn’t be on finishing above Liverpool. We have to think about
finishing above Manchester United and City. That might sound crazy but
that’s what I’m thinking of.’

Anzhi Makhachkala to offer Nemanja Vidic 250k-a-week to join from Manchester United

Anzhi to tempt United captain Vidic with mammoth 250k-a-week offer

|

UPDATED:

05:46 GMT, 15 October 2012

Nemanja Vidic is a target for Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala who plan to offer the United captain a mammoth 250,000-a-week after tax salary.

Vidic missed the last five months of last season through injury and is currently sidelined for following a knee operation.

Rare sighting: Vidic has made just five appearances so far this season

Rare sighting: Vidic has made just five appearances so far this season

The Serbia international has been linked with Barcelona and Juventus, but the mega-rich Dagestan club hope their huge offer can tempt him away from Old Trafford, according to reports in the Daily Star.

However, the massive salary would not make him the highest paid player at Anzhi.

The club pay a record 325,000-a-week – after tax – to former Barcelona and Inter Milan striker Samuel Eto'o.