Paper News and Gossip: Rodgers Warns Liverpool, Rooney Fit for Everton Return

Ian Rodgers@irodgers66World Football Staff WriterApril 18, 2014

Paper News and Gossip: Rodgers Warns Liverpool, Rooney Fit for Everton Return

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    Clint Hughes

    Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers leads the headlines on Friday after warning his team of complacency ahead of the Premier League trip to Norwich.

    The Reds have control of their own destiny in the title chase as they prepare to take on the struggling Canaries at Carrow Road.

    But the Anfield manager insists the game will not be a comfortable one for his players.

    Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney is poised to make his return to action against former club Everton on Sunday, according to reports on Friday.

    But who else is making the headlines on Friday? Read on to find out more.

Brendan Rodgers Warns Liverpool of Complacency in Premier League Title Race

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    Jon Super

    Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has issued a warning against complacency to his players ahead of the trip to Norwich City on Sunday, reports David Maddock of the Daily Mirror.

    The Reds have the upper hand in the chase for the Premier League title after beating Manchester City last weekend, assisted by the surprise 2-2 draw City managed against Sunderland at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday.

    But the Anfield boss believes that result is reason alone for Liverpool to be wary of a struggling Norwich team and other clubs fighting to stay in the top flight.

    Rodgers is quoted as saying:

    They are fighting for their livelihoods, fighting for their lives, fighting for their children, fighting for the supporters. 

    And they’re fighting to play in the best league in the world. Teams can look that they are playing teams towards the bottom and think the games might be easy. But actually they can be even more difficult.

    It would be so easy to slip up at Norwich, Palace and home to Newcastle, absolutely. That is the nuts and bolts of it.

Manchester United Striker Wayne Rooney 'Fit' for Return to Everton

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    Michael Regan/Getty Images

    Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney will return to action when the Red Devils face Everton on Sunday, reports David McDonnell of the Daily Mirror.

    The England international played through the pain barrier at Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-final second leg after suffering a toe injury.

    But Rooney will be available to face his former club on Sunday, claims McDonnell.

    United midfielder Juan Mata has defended manager David Moyes after a disappointing first season in charge at Old Trafford, reports McDonnell for the Mirror.

    Mata is quoted as saying:

    We have to be together. Now is not the time to blame anyone. Now is not the time to look for guilty people.

    Now is the time to stick together, with the manager, with his staff, the players and with the people on the board of the club. We need to carry on, to stay with the manager. We need to believe in him, because as players we know we have to improve.

    It’s not just the manager; it’s not just the tactics. It’s all of us. It’s not the time to blame one person. We are all together in this.

    Some of my friends told me if this situation was happening in another club in Spain it would be different, but the club and the players are behind the manager.

    Ian Ladyman of the Daily Mail offers a fascinating perspective on the return of Moyes to Goodison Park, and how the former Everton manager has fallen from favour in the eyes of many Blues fans.

Chelsea Captain John Terry Must 'Halve' Wages to Stay at Stamford Bridge

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    Scott Heavey/Getty Images

    Chelsea captain John Terry will have to accept a halving in his wages if he wants to stay at Stamford Bridge, reports John Cross of the Daily Mirror.

    The former England international's current deal ends this summer, but the 33-year-old is enjoying a fine season with the Blues, who are still in the Premier League title chase.

    However, the Chelsea hierarchy are refusing to budge from their policy of only offering one-year deals on lesser wages to players over 30, claims the article.

    Cross reports that Jose Mourinho wants Terry to stay at the club, but he also notes interest in the defender from Galatasaray.

Manuel Pellegrini Will Not Be Sacked at Manchester City If Title Challenge Fails

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    Alex Livesey/Getty Images

    Manchester City will not dispense with the services of manager Manuel Pellegrini after the team's Premier League title challenge collapsed over the past week, reports Martin Blackburn of The Sun (subscription required).

    The Etihad Stadium side had the destination of the title in their hands before defeat at Liverpool and the midweek 2-2 draw with Sunderland left City needing the Reds and Chelsea to drop points.

    Roberto Mancini was sacked by City last season after a disappointing defence of the championship, but Blackburn claims that the same fate will not befall Pellegrini this year.

    The report quotes a senior City source as saying:

    Pellegrini will definitely still be in charge next season—guaranteed.

    Mancini went because it was such a disappointing campaign last season and behind the scenes it was chaos—even though he had been in charge for three-and-a-half years.

    Now it’s a much happier and more settled club under Manuel—and don’t forget there has also been progress.

    We won a cup last month and were also much improved in Europe, reaching the knockout stage of the Champions League for the first time in our history.

Mesut Ozil Can Be Player of the Year Next Season, Says Arsene Wenger

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    Matt Dunham

    Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has backed Mesut Ozil to become a challenger for Player of the Year next season, reports John Cross of the Daily Mirror.

    The Germany international is set to return from injury in the Premier League trip to Hull City on Sunday.

    But the Gunners' record signing has had a mixed season since his move from Real Madrid in August.

    However, Wenger is convinced Ozil will come good for Arsenal next season.

    Wenger is quoted as saying:

    He [Ozil] is a fantastic football player, and I would put him on the list to be player of the season next season.

    The first season is the season in which you adapt, and then you know what happens and you get into it.

    I believe that he will know better his partners [in the team], he will know better the league and the potential is absolutely fantastic.

    He is one of our main players offensively, and we are a team who is used to scoring goals, and recently away from home we haven’t scored so much, so it’s important we get our offensive potential back.

    Meanwhile, Arsenal midfielder Mikel Arteta admits a self-imposed pressure prevents him from enjoying life at the Emirates Stadium, reports Gary Jones of the Daily Star.

Roberto Martinez Backs Tim Howard to Play into 40s After Extending Everton Deal

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    Scott Heppell

    Everton manager Roberto Martinez has backed goalkeeper Tim Howard to carry on playing into his 40s after signing a contract extension at Goodison Park, reports David Maddock of the Daily Mirror.

    The United States international, 35, has committed himself to the Blues until 2018 with his new contract.

    The Everton boss is convinced Howard will be a mainstay of the first team beyond his 40th birthday.

    Martinez is quoted as saying:

    It is fair to say that being a goalkeeper is not like being an outfield player. It is a sport within a sport.

    Tim is a very fit 35-year-old and as a goalkeeper you probably develop the best years of your career in your 30s because you can anticipate things, dominate your area and control the players in front of you.

    It is a very good age for Tim and I know he will play on beyond 40. He is a fit man and at the peak of his powers.

Bits and Pieces: Tim Sherwood, Cardiff City, Pepe Mel, Paul Lambert

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    Rui Vieira

    Tottenham Hotspur head coach Tim Sherwood believes his team would be challenging for the Premier League title if Gareth Bale had stayed at the club, reports Darren Lewis of the Daily Mirror.

    The Wales international joined Real Madrid in a world-record deal last summer and scored the winning goal in the Copa del Rey final against Barcelona on Wednesday.

    But Spurs have struggled to make an impact on the top four this season, despite a major spending spree on the back of Bale's transfer fee.

    Sherwood is quoted as saying:

    Last year, he [Bale] scored 21 goals for Tottenham and made nine assists.

    He scored a winner in eight of our games. We could do with him right now.

    If you put what he accumulated last year on top of what we've got, we would probably be challenging for the title.

    Cardiff City have called on the Premier League to scrap the result of their game against Crystal Palace in the wake of a "spying' row," reports Ian Gordon of The Sun (subscription required).

    West Bromwich Albion manager Pepe Mel will not be returning to Real Betis, despite the La Liga club chairman admitting he made a mistake in firing him in November, reports Brendan McLoughlin of the Daily Star.

    Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert admits he will not survive in the job if this season is repeated next year, amid talk of a takeover at the club, reports Stuart James of The Guardian.