Brendan's still our man, say Barnes and Rush
Kop idols Barnes and Rush say current boss must be given more time to work on Liverpool side
REPORTING FROM ANFIELD
Jose Mourinho or Juergen Klopp would not be able to do a better job at Anfield.
That was the message from Liverpool legend John Barnes, as the one-time wing wizard threw his support behind current boss Brendan Rodgers.
Together with fellow Kop idol Ian Rush, the former England star was unequivocal in his plea for Reds' fans and the club's hierarchy to back Rodgers.
The Northern Irishman has come under pressure from some quarters after his Liverpool side failed to kick on from last season's unexpected title tilt.
The Reds face an uphill task to secure Champions League football next season as they come to terms with another campaign without silverware, but speaking at the sidelines of the Standard Chartered Trophy Final at Anfield yesterday, the duo sang from the same hymn sheet.
Said Barnes: "When you say, 'Let's change the manager', (you've got to ask) 'To who?'"
"Jose Mourinho's not coming, Sir Alex Ferguson is not coming, Bill Shankly is not coming back.
"Which manager in the world that we can get can do a better job than Rodgers with the team he has?
"If Mourinho came to Liverpool, with this team, he won't do any better than Rodgers.
"If Juergen Klopp came here, with the same players, he won't win the league, he won't finish second. He won't do a better job than Rodgers."
The 51-year-old insisted the Reds' league position is an accurate reflection of the talent within the club's ranks.
He explained: "Rodgers can't say this, but I can. Where should Liverpool finish? Fifth.
"Look at the players we have. How many of them would get into Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United or Arsenal's team?
LIVING IN THE PAST
"We have to be realistic. We are living in the memory of Liverpool's past.
"When we are looking at Rodgers, we can't think we've not won the league in 25 years.
"He's been here for only about three seasons (but) he's suffering for the 20-odd years we haven't won the league."
Rush believes the team will be better next season with Rodgers at the helm.
The Welshman said: "Rodgers didn't become a bad manager in the past six months.
"For me, he is the man for the job. I wouldn't even think of replacing him.
"You can't keep chopping and changing, it doesn't work.
"Next year will be a big year for Liverpool. The young players won't be that young any more and if we get two or three players in (we'll improve)."
When asked what was the Merseyside club's biggest shortcoming this season, Rush, Liverpool's top goalscorer with 346 goals in 469 games, simply said: "A lack of goals."
The Reds have scored 49 goals in 35 Premier League matches this term, less than half of their tally of 101 in 38 games last season.
Indeed, Daniel Sturridge - who has missed much of this campaign through injury - and Luis Suarez, who left for Barcelona for £65 million ($133.1m) last June - combined for more Premier League goals last season (52) than the entire Reds team have managed this term.
Said the 53-year-old Rush: "We are in the position we are now because of a lack of goals.
"Last season with Suarez and Sturridge, we were full of goals.
"I think we've had 13 clean sheets this year, which is good, but we haven't been scoring enough.
"We have to improve on that next season."
*Dilenjit Singh was at the Standard Chartered Trophy international tournament, which offers football fans a money-can't-buy opportunity to play at Liverpool's legendary Anfield Stadium. This season, qualifying tournaments took place across 19 markets globally with 750 teams participating. The prize includes a trip to the UK and a professional training session with LFC Legends and Academy coaches.
RUSH AND BARNES ON.... STEVEN GERRARD
RUSH: You have to respect his decision (to leave). I think we should celebrate what he has done for the club. Hopefully, he’ll be back some day.
BARNES: Gerrard and Kenny (Dalglish) are the two best players Liverpool ever had.
RUSH: Coutinho has been absolutely fantastic and has come of age. For me, he is the Player of the Year.
BARNES: He’s very creative and, had Sturridge been fit, I can see Liverpool being in the top four and Sturridge scoring goals.
Door closes on Dorset Boys
The moment they stepped onto Anfield's pristine pitch yesterday, they were marked men.
Singapore's Dorset Boys, who finished as runners-up at last year's Standard Chartered Trophy Final, were unable to make it past the group phase this year after failing to register a win in the fourth edition of the five-a-side futsal tournament.
Said Nagarajan K Suppiah, who was part of last year's team: "The standard is definitely higher this year as the quality of the teams has improved. Last year, we were finalists, so the other teams were wary of us.
"Last year's winners from Vietnam also didn't make it past the group stage.
"I think maybe the pressure got to us. Last year, there were no expectations on us but, this time round, it was different."
The Singaporean side drew 1-1 with Malaysia and lost 3-1 to Hong Kong yesterday, after losing 2-1 to the UK and 2-0 to the eventual winners from South Korea on Thursday.
Team captain Rooban Kanth admitted that his team should have done better but took solace in the fact that his team avoided defeat by Causeway rivals Malaysia.
He said: "I think our morale dropped when we didn't beat the UK team in our first game, because we felt they were the easiest team in our group.
"Ours was definitely the harder of the two groups - three of the top four teams (South Korea, Malaysia and Hong Kong) were from there. Only (losing finalists) Kenya were from the other group."
Despite the failure to replicate last year's surprise showing, the boys - most of whom grew up near Dorset Road in Farrer Park - felt their trip to Liverpool was an invaluable experience.
They got to meet Liverpool legends John Barnes, Ian Rush and Kenny Dalglish as well as Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers and striker Fabio Borini.
For Justin Luke Nirmalan, his most treasured memory was being trained by one of the best defenders in Liverpool's history.
He told The New Paper: "Training under (former Liverpool and England fullback) Alan Kennedy was a great experience." - DILENJIT SINGH
Sturridge out for four months
Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge is likely to be out until at least September as he recovers from a hip operation.
The 25-year-old England international underwent surgery in New York on Tuesday to cure several related problems with his thigh and calf, which have restricted him to just eight Premier League starts this season.
"We anticipate that Daniel will be back, hopefully to train around about September," said manager Brendan Rodgers.
"Obviously, it is long period of time out, but we hope the problem and issues have been resolved with the operation.
"We hope he is available to train in September and then it is about getting his fitness in."
Rodgers acknowledged that it would probably take Sturridge at least until November before he gets back proper match fitness.
He said: "Once he's fully fit, we know what he can produce and, if he is at that level of fitness, he can certainly be a key player for us." - PA Sport.