Henderson relishes Reds competition

first_img “I thought Simon was brilliant with two brilliant saves at the penalty and the follow-up after that. That was magnificent. “He was brilliant at Sunderland when I was there and he has been brilliant since he came into the club and he will get stronger and stronger and he will be fantastic for Liverpool. “It is a good way to announce yourself at Liverpool. Pepe (Reina) was unbelievable in his time here and Simon has come in and been fantastic and I think he will be a really good signing for us.” Henderson also praised another new arrival Kolo Toure, who has slotted into the back four to replace the recently retired Jamie Carragher. “I thought he was brilliant. He has come in and is a real leader,” he said. “He is talking all the time on and off the field and he has a lot of experience which helps the whole team.” Last season it took Liverpool until late September to register their first league win so with three points already on the board, Henderson believes they can move on with increased confidence. “We wanted to start the season well and from our first win hopefully we can kick on and do well against Villa next week,” he said. “It is a good start, first game, first win and I think we played quite well at times. Hopefully we can build on it. “I think we have kept improving all the time (over the last year). We ended last season quite strongly and we have picked up where we left off. It is a good start but there is a long way to go.” Jordan Henderson is determined to fight for his place as the challenge of holding down a place in Liverpool’s midfield becomes increasingly tough. There were times last year when the England Under-21 international’s days at Anfield appeared to be numbered. Within a couple of months of manager Brendan Rodgers arriving, the midfielder was offered to Fulham as part of a failed bid to sign Clint Dempsey. Press Association Henderson rejected the switch, knuckled down and has found his reward on the pitch having been named in the starting line-up for Liverpool’s opening-day win over Stoke at the weekend. “It is always nice to play, I am sure that is the same for everyone,” said the 23-year-old. “But we are a squad and there will be times when other people come in and I have to keep fighting for my place and hopefully stay in the team. “The most important thing in your first game of the season at home is to win the game and that is what we got.” Liverpool could have beaten Stoke at a canter – Henderson himself could have had at least two, once only being denied by the fingertips of goalkeeper Asmir Begovic who diverted the ball onto a post. The midfielder admits they have to be more ruthless in front of goal if they are to stand a chance of breaking back into the top four, especially with last season’s 30-goal striker Luis Suarez suspended until the end of September. But he also paid tribute to goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, who saved a late penalty, whom he believes is more than capable of filling the void left by fans’ favourite Jose Reina who was loaned out to Napoli very soon after the Belgian arrived at Anfield this summer. “We had a lot of chances and we should probably have put it to bed a lot earlier but it wasn’t to be and the most important thing was to win the game,” he added. last_img read more

Dallas’ Rajon Rondo downplays interest playing with Lakers’ Kobe Bryant

first_img“I don’t think there’s not one coach I played with that I didn’t get into it,” Rondo said. “So I think our relationships are fine. I still talk to Doc (Rivers). I still talk to Brad (Stevens). I talk to (Doug) Bibby and Tubby Smith. I like to test where the coach is at and I think they like to test me.”Injury updateThe outlook Lakers coach Byron Scott shared on Nick Young’s recovery on his swollen left knee no longer seems as positive.“It might take another week, or two or three,” said Scott, who also did not rule out Young would miss all of the Lakers’ 20 remaining games. “We’re not in a hurry. He still has some pain in there.”Young sat out in Sunday’s game against Dallas, marking the seventh consecutive game he missed because of his current injury. But Young maintained, “I’ll be all right.” Young also chuckled about flying to Germany to treat his left knee, something Bryant has done in past seasons. “Then I’ll be able to fly!” Young said, laughing.Scott found added importance that Young returns this season, even if he plays only a handful of games.Young has averaged 13.4 points on a career-low 36.6 shooting percent clip this season, a mark that dipped in January (32.2 percent) and February (32.4 percent). “It would help his confidence,” Scott said. “He might not admit it but he’s not the ‘Swaggy P’ that we all know and love.”Scott predicted correctly. “I’m going to feel good, regardless,” Young said. “It’s basketball. I have some good seasons and bad seasons. It’s a merry-go-round.” Rondo sounded flattered Bryant would consider himself one of those pieces.“When he speaks, it speaks volumes,” Rondo said of Bryant. “It’s an honor and compliment he’d want to play with a guy like me. But right now I’m focused on winning a championship with the Dallas Mavericks.”But would Rondo want to play with Bryant?“It’s impossible to play with Kobe right now,” Rondo said. “I’m focused on playing with Dirk (Nowitzki), Monte (Ellis), Tyson (Chandler), J.J. Barea and playing for [coach] Rick Carlisle. That’s my team right now.” Funny Rondo brought up Carlisle. The two recently had a heated exchange on the sideline that led to Rondo’s benching and subsequent one-game suspsension, something Rondo called a “media blowup.” The two competitors and close friends apparently scheduled to have breakfast again. But then Lakers guard Kobe Bryant stood up Mavericks guard Rajon Rondo.“A–hole,” Rondo joked, referring to the nickname they have for each other.Bryant and Rondo dined together in Boston last December when Rondo played for the Celtics. Even if Boston since traded him to Dallas, the implications are the same. Rondo will represent one of the stars the Lakers will pursue once he becomes a free agent in July.“I stay in touch with him. I stay in touch with some other guys, too,” Bryant told the Los Angeles Newspaper Group, though he said the two did not interact before, during or after the Lakers’ 100-93 loss to Dallas on Sunday at Staples Center. “I’ll look around and talk with management. We’ll look at what we can do and should do. Hopefully we’ll then have a more competitive team.”center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more