Kuyt: My future is at Liverpool

Dirk Kuyt has responded to recent speculation by insisting: “My future is at Liverpool.” The Dutch forward struck a late winner in the Reds’ 2-1 Europa League success over Trabzonspor on Thursday night and then revealed that he plans to remain on Merseyside.

“Everyone has said a lot about my future but as far as I know my future is at Liverpool,” he said. “I’ve had a great time so far and I hope my future here will be great as well and I can win trophies with Liverpool.”

On an evening plagued by difficult weather conditions, Roy Hodgson’s side had looked in trouble when Teofilo Gutierrez struck an early opener.

However, an improved second-half showing eventually paid dividends through an own goal and Kuyt’s late tap-in. It means Liverpool have now progressed to the Europa League group stage and Kuyt insists it is a competition they are taking very seriously.

“It was a very disappointing first half and it was difficult to play on that pitch,” he said. “It rained all day. After we went 1-0 down we fought back, we were patient and waited for our chances. Obviously, we are very happy about the result. “It’s important for us to stay in Europe. We want to challenge for trophies and this is another competition we want to do well in.”

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Turkish delight as Reds progress

Liverpool secured a safe passage into the group stage of the Europa League after grinding out a 2-1 win over Trabzonspor in Turkey as Roy Hodgson became the first Reds boss since Bill Shankly to win his first four European games in charge of the club. The home side could not have wished for a better start as Teofilo Gutierrez converted inside the opening three minutes to void Ryan Babel’s first-leg Anfield winner of one week ago.

Trabzonspor dominated the opening 45 and should have perhaps furthered their lead through captain Ibrahima Yattara, who was guilty of spurning an inviting headed opportunity. Liverpool were much improved after the break, though David Ngog headed well when he perhaps should have found the back of the net with an unmarked header from inside the six-yard box.

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Hodgson’s Trabzonspor verdict

Roy Hodgson admitted he was left thrilled by the character shown by Liverpool in their victory in Trabzonspor – but the boss was quick to play down his achievement of matching a long-standing Bill Shankly milestone.The Reds recovered from an early setback to book a place in the group stage of the Europa League thanks to a 2-1 victory in Turkey and ensure their European adventure for 2010-11 will continue.

In doing so, Hodgson became the first Liverpool manager since Shankly to win his first four European matches in charge – but he was keen to avoid any comparisons with the legendary Scot. “I think it would be remarkably immodest of me to claim any credit for that because I don’t think Bill Shankly played too many matches in the first qualifying rounds against Macedonia teams,” he told a post-match press conference in Trabzon. “I think if I want to be able to boast about the same number of consecutive victories as Shankly I might need to win the next 10.”

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100 up for Masch?

Javier Mascherano is set to make his 100th Barclays Premier League appearance when Liverpool take on Manchester City at Eastlands tonight. Here’s the rest of the stats and figures.

League Record: (Head to head)

Overall: Liverpool 74 wins, Man City 37 wins, 37 draws.

At Man. City: Liverpool 29 wins, Man City 24 wins, 21 draws.

A victory today will give Liverpool their 2,000th in league history and their 350th in the Premier League.

Last season (February) the teams played out a goalless draw at the City of Manchester Stadium.

The Reds clean sheet that day ended City’s run of scoring in 21 successive league games at home – their longest run for 52 years.

It was the Reds seventh visit to Eastlands. They have won two, drawn four and lost one.

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PSV plan to keep Toivonen

PSV Eindhoven have told Liverpool they have no intention of selling striker Ola Toivonen this summer. Liverpool are strongly rumoured to be interested in Sweden striker Toivonen, 24, and his PSV team-mate Carlos Salcido. Academy ambassador Kenny Dalglish was reported to have been in the stands at the Phillips Stadion on Sunday as PSV beat AZ Alkmaar 3-1.

However, when asked about the situation, PSV sporting director Marcel Brands told fotbollskanalen.se: “I also read about that (Dalglish’s trip) in the newspaper, but I didn’t see him at the stadium and it is not important. We don’t want to lose Ola during this transfer window.

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Rush: We can beat City

Ian Rush insists there is no reason why Liverpool can’t take all three points in Monday night’s clash with Manchester City at Eastlands. The Kop idol believes this is a good time to face City and is confident Roy Hodgson’s new-look side can make a big impression this season. Speaking exclusively to LFC TV during his visit to Nairobi in Kenya as part of the first ever Standard Chartered-sponsored LFC Soccer Clinic in Africa, Rush said: “I watched City’s first game against Tottenham last week and Spurs could have been at least 3-0 up at half-time, but they came back into the game in the second half.

“I’m sure Mancini will be telling his team they have to start well against Liverpool with it being their first home game, but I just think this is a good time for us to play Manchester City. “I can see them being hit and miss this season and after watching the Arsenal game we seemed well organised and we always seem to do well away at City. “I think this game will go a long way to showing us what is going to happen this season because I believe this year when Liverpool play the so-called lesser clubs we will win those games, unlike last season. “It’s when we play the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United and City that could decide if we can finish in the top-four this season.”

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Roy happy with debutant

Roy Hodgson has declared himself very satisfied with the debut of Christian Poulsen during Thursday’s 1-0 win over Trabzonspor in the Europa League Play-off at Anfield.  Liverpool’s No.28 played the full 90 minutes and grew in stature as the game went on. He even had a goal controversially disallowed at the Kop end. The Reds boss believes he has made a great addition to his squad and claims the Danish international will give his team a great presence.

“Christian was very good I thought, considering he has hardly played since the World Cup,” Hodgson told Liverpoolfc.tv. “He took a lot of responsibility and was always looking to play the ball forward. “It was nice that the Kop could see that we’ve added a quality player to our ranks and we will need him during the course of the season alongside the other great players we have.”

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