Pompey swoop for striker Bird
Wed, 24 Jul 2013 12:30:00
Luis Suarez featured as a substitute as goals from Steven Gerrard and Iago Aspas earned Liverpool a 2-0 win over Melbourne Victory at the MCG.
Gerrard put Liverpool ahead with a cool finish inside the penalty area in the 32nd minute before Aspas, on as a 72nd-minute substitute, tapped home a cross from Suarez, who also played the final 18 minutes, to put the seal on the victory.
Simon Mignolet and Luis Alberto also played the closing stages, while Jordan Ibe and Andre Wisdom were impressive starters for Brendan Rodgers' side.
Full report to follow...
One of Sir Alex Ferguson's final acts as United manager was to hand Januzaj a squad number at the back end of last season.
Although the 18-year-old Belgian did not end up making his Red Devils debut, he did make the bench for that epic 5-5 draw at West Brom in Ferguson's last game in charge.
Having taken guidance from reserve team chief Warren Joyce, new boss David Moyes opted to take Januzaj on United's pre-season tour to the Far East and Australia.
And the winger has made a positive impression too, particularly in the opening game in Bangkok where he was the Red Devils' best player.
However, with some of his senior men returning to action and the prospect of new signings arriving prior to the transfer deadline, if Moyes follows Ferguson's example he might well be looking to place Januzaj at a higher-ranking Championship club to prevent his progress from stalling.
The former Anderlecht player is yet to speak with Moyes about the situation.
But he does know what his preference is.
"My target for the season is to try and get some games for the first team," he said.
"I have not spoken to the manager about it yet but I would prefer to do that rather than go out on loan.
"That is what I came here for. Everyone wants to play for Manchester United."
Januzaj is the latest in a growing list of exciting Belgian players to emerge in the last few years.
Although next summer's World Cup Finals might come too early for him, it would appear to be where Belgium are heading after a 12-year absence.
Not that Januzaj has any rational explanation for the emergence of such talent.
"I don't know why so many Belgian players are doing well," he said.
"It is just a generation that has come through.
"The national team is certainly doing very well at the moment.
"They have got quite a lot of good players so I think they will be a big team in the future."
On the early evidence, Januzaj certainly has a promising future.
And the added advantage of being at United is that he can seek guidance from the very best.
"For the first few months when I came here it was very hard," he said.
"But gradually my English started to improve. I could speak to other people and connect with them.
"Now I feel confident and happy to be with the players, and in particular Ryan Giggs.
"Every time I need to ask something I go to Giggs. He helps me quite a lot."
The 40-year-old Australia goalkeeper became Jose Mourinho's third summer signing, three years after a move to Arsenal failed to materialise.
Schwarzer, who has spent 15 years in England with Bradford, Middlesbrough and the Cottagers, said: "When I moved to Fulham I thought that was it and then the Arsenal thing popped up so after that experience I said 'Never say never'.
"It's proven to be true. I still say 'Never say never'. It's not over until it's over."
Schwarzer will be 41 in October, but has the 2014 World Cup in his sights and believes he is playing as well as ever.
"I am 40 years old but I feel incredibly well and I am holding my own, no problems whatsoever," he added.
"I feel incredibly fit and I love playing football. As long as I am playing well enough at this level I will continue to play.
"The aim is to continue to get better; I don't want to stop getting better.
"If you stop getting better then it is a downward slippery slope."
Schwarzer became aware of Chelsea's interest towards the end of last season before signing a one-year deal earlier this month after speaking to Mourinho.
The Australian will compete with Petr Cech for the number one jersey, but will likely begin the season as second choice.
Nevertheless, he is determined not to spend the campaign sitting on the substitutes' bench.
"Before I spoke to the manager I had some doubts, but once I spoke to the manager those doubts disappeared pretty quickly," Schwarzer said.
"The amount of games Chelsea play there is going to be opportunities to play games and that's also important for me."
Cech has welcomed Schwarzer, who joined up with his team-mates in Bangkok and made his first appearance against a Malaysia XI in Kuala Lumpur last weekend.
"He's a great goalkeeper and a good guy," said Schwarzer, who is likely to be granted a further opportunity to play in Jakarta tomorrow in the final match of Chelsea's Asia tour.
"He has been extremely accommodating for me since I have arrived. It's been great to work alongside him.
"Hopefully I can learn from him and maybe he might learn from me too. I think we can complement each other very well."
The Australian has avoided discussing cricket with his new team-mates, particularly Frank Lampard, given England lead the Ashes series 2-0.
"Frank's a big fan," Schwarzer said.
"I try not to talk to him about it too much because it's not looking good for us."
Reina, 30, is expected to join the Serie A club on a season-long loan after Reds manager Brendan Rodgers admitted the Spain international's wage bill was prohibitive after the arrival of Simon Mignolet from Sunderland for Â£9million.
The move would see the Reina link up with former Anfield boss Benitez and goalkeeper coach Xavi Valero.
Argentina forward Higuain was a reported initial transfer target for Arsenal before the player revealed Jose Mourinho was keen to bring him to Chelsea after their time together in the Spanish capital.
Benitez is in the market for a goalscorer after Edison Cavani's move to Paris St Germain for 64.5m euros (Â£56m) earlier this month.
The new merged set-up was created last month following an almagamation of the Scottish Premier League and the Scottish Football League.
The top flight will be known as the Scottish Premiership, followed by the Scottish Championship, Scottish League 1 and Scottish League 2.
SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster told Sky Sports News: "A mountain of work has been done over the summer to get to this point and I believe there is much more that can be done.
"The new branding sets a new identity for the future of Scottish professional league football. The new league set-up reflects the recommendations Henry McLeish made in his report for the future of Scottish football."
The merged league body will have jurisdiction over the League Cup and the Ramsdens Cup as well as the four senior divisions.
Bird, 25, enjoyed a prolific 2012/13 season in the Southern Premier League, netting an impressive 45 goals in 42 games.
The Slough-born forward has already featured twice for Guy Whittingham's side in pre-season, scoring twice on his debut against Havant & Waterlooville.
"It's unbelievable," he told the club's official website. "I'm having to pinch myself because it's a dream come true.
"I was working on a building site a few weeks ago and this is obviously a lot better!
"All the lads have made me feel very welcome and it was great to get a couple of goals in my first game. The first one was a bit flukey, but I also hit the post, so it was a shame I couldn't get a hat-trick."
He added: "It's a big step up for me and it's a risk for the manager to take me on, but I'm confident in my ability to do well at this level.
"I have to thank Guy Whittingham and Steve Allen. They've both shown a lot of faith in me and I'm determined to repay them."