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Bjornebye

Norwich (A) Premier League 15-2-2020 - 17:30

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13 minutes ago, TheDrowningMan said:

I can’t say I’m feeling good about this one. I fear home advantage and poor weather will give Norwich a real chance of getting a result.

I'm worried to but to call it a real chance is a bit over the top. They might sit back and make it difficult but we should be ok.

Expecting a 0-2.

First goal in the first 5 minutes and a goal in the last 5 minutes.

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CHARLIE'S PREDICTION

Liverpool have had a break and they will be fresh but sometimes it can be a hindrance rather than a positive. I think Norwich are gone if I am honest with you. They have to go after a win and it opens it up for Liverpool to pick them off.

They have been back in training but just bubbling under the surface of the feeling that they are so-called Premier League champions. They do not have to play well to win, and this will be another comfortable afternoon for Liverpool.

CHARLIE PREDICTS: 1-4

 

Does anyone take these experts opinion seriously?

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I'm going to go for a standard 0-2.

 

A hard-fought first half where the wind plays a big role in frustrating us, and then Salah scores from a great pass from Keita in the 42nd minute. Then van Dijk off a corner on 60 or so and the rest of the game is just a formality.

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A stinky Norwich 11. I'd just hit long balls to Salah and watch Hanley and Zimmermann bang their heads together after misjudging the flight of the ball. 

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    • Article from The Athletic. 
        Martina Cox - “Seán and Jürgen started to hug and neither would let go!”   She was in the kitchen when the call came. The television was on in the next room. Liverpool were playing and the Champions League anthem was blaring out. It was just a regular scene, a normal evening for a normal family. But then the phone rang and everything changed so quickly. Anyone who has heard Sean Cox’s name knows what happened to him that day and the 17 seconds of brutal, indiscriminate violence that changed his life forever. That morning, however, he had just been an ordinary Liverpool fan on his way to a game of football. He had risen while it was still dark to catch the “red-eye” flight from Dublin. He had an overnight bag on his back. He leant over to give his wife, Martina, a kiss goodbye and said he would get in touch later. Then he quietly closed their bedroom door and let her go back to sleep. Martina was a buyer for Dunnes Stores and most of her day was spent talking about Santa pyjamas, Rudolph baby grows and little red velvet dresses. It might have been April but, in retail, that was not too early to start planning for Christmas shopping. Sean had texted her to say his plane had landed safely. He sent another message later in the day to say he was having some food and getting ready for the game. And then there was the call that turned her life upside down. The voice on the other end of the line was telling Martina that something had happened and Sean was in an ambulance on his way to the hospital. She could hear the words, she just couldn’t make sense of them. Then, as fear and confusion took over, it was a case of trying to get all the facts and hold it together in front of the children. “I still remember where everyone was in the house,” Martina says. “Jack was watching the Liverpool match. Shauna was upstairs studying and Emma, our other daughter, was out dancing. I was in the kitchen. It was a nice evening. I should have gone out for a run but for some reason, I’d decided against running. I don’t know why — it was like something inside me had told me to stay where I was. Then there was that call, out of the blue, to say Sean had been hit on the head and was on his way to hospital.” A million different thoughts flashed through Martina’s mind before the phone rang again. The children came in. Emma arrived home. They tried to convince themselves it couldn’t be true. Someone must have got it wrong, they agreed. Not Sean. Not her husband, not their dad. Sean had been to Anfield loads of times before and never had any problems. Martina remembers the house filling up. Family, friends, neighbours. Everyone was hearing the same thing. Martina was panicking on the inside while doing everything she could to stay calm on the outside. If it was true, she decided, Sean would be in touch soon, to let her know how he was doing. Maybe it was true and he had taken a bang to the head. Maybe he needed an ice pack or, at worst, a few stitches. She recalls a scene of utter confusion. “In my head, I was, ‘Even if someone has hit him over the head with a bottle, he will be OK’. I didn’t really get the sense of gravity from it. But that all came very quickly.” The first call had been from Aisling, her sister-in-law. The next time Martina’s phone rang, it was a voice she didn’t recognise. The voice introduced herself as a nurse from Aintree University Hospital and wanted to know if this was the right number for Sean Cox’s wife. The nurse said Sean had been attacked in the street. He had a bleed on the brain and was being transferred to a neurological hospital for emergency surgery. That was the moment all the panic and helplessness took over. Martina couldn’t speak at first. Then she was screaming. “Is he dead?” It’s special, Anfield, on European nights. People roll their eyes at that line sometimes. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t true. The banners come out, the volume goes up. It’s addictive if this is your club of choice. Sean, wearing a red and white Liverpool scarf, was there for his regular fix.
      (Photo: Oli Scarff/AFP via Getty Images)
      That night, however, had a sinister edge. April 24, 2018: Liverpool were playing Roma in the first leg of a Champions League semi-final and all sorts of rumours were flying about just before kick-off. Twitter was filled with stories of Italian “ultras” ambushing fans on Walton Breck Road, directly behind the Kop. Someone had put it out that there had been a stabbing. It wasn’t true — yet it was quickly becoming apparent that, whatever had happened, it was bad. For the journalists in the press box, there was the sight of Tony Barrett hurriedly making his way down the steps to one of the exits. Barrett is the head of Liverpool’s supporter engagement department. He is also a staunch Liverpool fan who watches every game from in front of the media seats. But that night, he never came back. One of the bigger matches of the season and his seat remained empty. In the directors’ box, there was more movement. Peter Moore, then Liverpool’s chief executive, had just taken his seat when he felt a tap on the shoulder. It was Andy Hughes, the chief operations officer, and the message was, “We need you in the operations centre.” That was enough to tell Moore it was serious. A video was circulating on social media. It showed a mob of Italians — dark clothing, faces covered, some swinging belts and chains – on the rampage. The entire attack lasted 17 seconds and left one of their victims on the floor. That was Sean. His brother, Marty, was crouching over him, to try to shield him from more blows. Marty took a kick for his troubles. He might also have saved Sean’s life. It has been two and a half years and Martina is speaking to The Athletic, via a Zoom call, from the house that has been “turned back to front” to accommodate Sean now he is in a wheelchair and needs round-the-clock care. She says she has never been able to watch the video footage. She knows it is out there, and probably always will be. But she will never click online to put herself through it. “I just got it into my head, even on the night it happened, that it was not something I ever wanted to see. I went to bed that night and didn’t sleep at all. I had all these thoughts going through my head. We hadn’t been able to get a flight because it was so late. But I was flying out first thing. I had to pack a case, yet I didn’t even know how long I was packing for. My kids just threw my clothes into a bag, really not knowing what was ahead of us. “Normally, I would go on my phone. But I just told myself, ‘No, don’t look’. I will never look at it, definitely not. I think Jack has seen the footage. I know it’s not very pleasant. It was bad enough having to see Sean in the Walton Centre directly after he was attacked. That was hard enough without seeing everything else.” The Walton Centre was the specialist unit where Sean was taken with what doctors described as a profound brain injury. Martina stayed in the Home-from-Home complex that is available for family members and has just brought out a book, With Hope In Your Heart, that is both a love story and a deeply moving, powerful account of how they have tried to piece their lives back together. The first part is called “Before”, because that is how they have had to shape their lives. “Before” tells the story of how Sean and Martina met, fell in love and started a family. Jack was 20 when his father was attacked. Shauna was 19 and Emma, 16, was still at school. “Before” means getting married, a honeymoon in Cyprus and I Want to Know What Love Is as a first dance. It means holidays to Portugal, where the couple planned to buy a house. It means golfing trips for Sean and his Friday night routine of two pints of Guinness in Slevin’s Bar. A photograph shows Sean with his medal from the Dublin night run, two days before that fateful trip to Anfield. Athlete number 4643 has a big smile on his face. Innocent, happy times. The second part is called “After” and, well, this is the part that can make you weep. Martina closes her eyes for a moment as she thinks backs to those harrowing days at Sean’s bedside. “‘Will he make it? Won’t he make it?’ It did hang in the balance for a long time. The statistics are that a lot of people don’t make it, given the nature of the injury.” Doctors had told Martina that 50 to 90 per cent of people who had suffered that kind of devastating damage would die. There was no sugarcoating of Sean’s condition. Even if he survived, it was quickly made clear to Martina and the rest of the family that he would never walk again. One passage of With Hope In Your Heart takes in the scene when Martina was allowed to see Sean for the first time. “Nothing could have prepared me for it,” she writes. “He didn’t look like Sean. Not the Sean who had kissed me goodbye 24 hours earlier. This was a different Sean. A Sean who had returned badly injured from a war zone. His head was swollen and bandaged and he was wearing a skull cap. He had wires and tubes coming out of him and a variety of different machines were beeping as they kept him alive. It was like a scene from a movie and it took my breath away.” In February 2019, the Roma fan who punched Sean to the floor, 30-year-old Simone Mastrelli, was jailed for three and a half years. The court was told that Mastrelli had removed his balaclava and jacket after the attack to disguise himself before going into Anfield to watch the match. The next day, he flew home to Italy, from where he was extradited a few months later. Two other Roma fans had already been convicted of violent disorder. One was 21-year-old Filippo Lombardi, a former goalkeeper from the club’s academy, who was seen wielding a belt like a whip. The other was 29-year-old Daniele Sciusco, who had also taken off his belt to use as a potential weapon. Martina attended the various court cases and had an understanding with the judge that, whenever the video of Sean’s attack was played, she was told in advance so she could leave the room. At Mastrelli’s sentencing, Shauna read a victim impact statement on behalf of the family. Martina, who was blown away by her daughter’s courage, refused to accept Mastrelli’s letter of apology. “I didn’t want a letter from this man who had left my husband for dead and gone on to watch a soccer match.” Don’t get the wrong impression, though. Martina will admit there have been times when she has been filled with anger, but she has also made a conscious effort not to think that way. She just wants to get on. Sean has been living at home since March and the fact of the matter is that he doesn’t want to live with bitterness. “There’s no point. It’s not going to do me any good and, if I was like that, I’d be giving the wrong vibes to Sean,” she says. “He can sense everything because he knows me so well. “Yes, the sentence wasn’t enough. Yes, they actually got out of prison and got home before Sean got home. That was annoying and upsetting. But we are moving forward. We have to move on because if you go down that road it’s not a nice road to go down. We have too much to look forward to. Sean’s getting stronger and we have so much left to do in our lives.” The focus, she says, is helping Sean through the “programme of therapies, Monday to Friday, where he gets physio three days a week, speech and language lessons twice a week, and also music therapy, which he really loves. Music comes from a different part of the brain and Sean has a huge memory of songs he knows. At the moment, it’s done over Zoom. He sets up the iPad. They sing songs and, in a lot of cases, Sean already knows the chorus, or if he knows the other words, he will just join in. They sing a lot. “He still has a sense of humour. We still have laughter. There’s absolutely no point having a doom-and-gloom show. He’s so much happier now he’s at home and we are trying to embrace it, trying to make the most of it. There’s no point looking back, there’s no point being sad. We won’t gain anything by it. “He’s back at home, he’s with us. That was always the goal. A lot of people… I wouldn’t say they gave up on him, but he has a profound brain injury and the recommendations were that maybe he should live at home some of the time and in a nursing home the rest of the time. “I was having none of it. From the very beginning. I wanted him to come home, properly. And we’ve done it. I guess we had to have that determination. I always had that. I was always, ‘Sean’s too young to be in a nursing home’. He’s only 55. He was 53 when it happened. It just wasn’t an option for us.” When Jurgen Klopp found out Martina was writing With Hope In Your Heart — a line taken from the club anthem You’ll Never Walk Alone — the Liverpool manager agreed to write the foreword. Liverpool were determined to do everything they could for one of their own and Klopp’s words are a reminder of the bond that now exists between the club and the family. Sean Cox. In one way, I wish that I had never heard this name. If I hadn’t, it would mean that he had come to our match against AS Roma on the night of April 24, 2018, enjoyed a wonderful game and gone home safely to his family to tell them all the stories of an unforgettable occasion. Instead, Sean’s story has run parallel with the one that has taken Liverpool to Champions League finals in 2018 and 2019 and then their first league title for 30 years. He is, as Martina says, “part of the history of the club now, in an unfortunate way”. Martina says she is amazed by the kindness her family has been shown. There was the banner, created by the fans and paraded by the players as they celebrated reaching the final after the second leg in Rome, for “Sean Cox, You’ll Never Walk Alone”, with the same message written in Gaelic and Italian. A letter arrived from the Irish president Michael Higgins. Another came from Umberto Gandini, Roma’s chief executive at the time. But there were thousands of others, too. Sean’s story has touched so many people. The letters from schoolchildren with get-well messages, and in some cases their pocket money, touched Martina in particular.
      (Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images)
      Then there was the game against Manchester City, 18 months after the attack, when Sean was able to go back to Anfield for the first time. “The moment we got out of the taxi and he saw the crowd and looked up the stadium, he had such a big smile on his face,” Martina says. “He was just so happy. Even though it was sad because he wasn’t able to walk, and he wasn’t in the place he normally would be, it was a lovely occasion. It was great that he’d been able to make it back. “You’ll Never Walk Alone started up and Sean was belting out the words. But the big moment for Sean was meeting Jurgen. It was like their eyes fixed on each other. Then they just started to hug one another and neither one would let go. “Jurgen said afterwards in his press conference, ‘He was happy to see me, I was just as happy to see him’. It was a lovely, lovely embrace. Liverpool really looked after us. All the players came over and gave Sean so much time; every one of them.” In his foreword to With Hope In Your Heart, Klopp talks about that meeting with Sean as “something that I feared may never happen”. He says he feels honoured to have encountered such an inspirational man and devoted family. I often get asked about leadership in football, but in ‘real life’ I can think of no greater example of what a leader is than Sean’s wife Martina. I cannot claim to know her well, but I have followed what she has done for her husband and her family and it has humbled me. To speak to Martina now is certainly to be reminded why Susan Keogh, the journalist who has helped her write the book, describes her as “a powerhouse of a woman”. Nor does Martina ever forget that Sean’s brother witnessed everything. “It’s something that is never going to leave Marty. That image of what happened, I can only imagine how awful that has been. It still, I would say, haunts him. He has learned to deal with it but it’s been hard for Marty because it was him who got them the tickets, so I suppose he felt responsible. But he wasn’t. It could easily have been Marty, not Sean, lying there. “It has had a huge impact on everybody. Me, the kids, Sean’s family, my family. Jack celebrated his 21st birthday at his dad’s bedside at the Walton Centre, not knowing whether he was going to pull through. We’d been planning a really nice family dinner out. Then, all of a sudden, we find ourselves in the Walton Centre. We were just grateful that Sean was still alive at that stage. “I just thank God we have the family that we do, because everyone has really rallied round. Sean was never short of visitors. I don’t think Sean ever had a day when he didn’t have a visitor in hospital. We always made sure there was someone there for him.” A rota system was established via the WhatsApp group Martina set up in the name of “Sean’s Recovery”. They took turns to sit at Sean’s bedside and talk to him about family stuff, world events or the latest football news. Even if he was unresponsive, they persevered. They played videos of his dogs, Roxy and Bruno. They played tapes of Liverpool songs and showed him football matches and golf tournaments. They trimmed his hair and eyebrows. They clipped his fingernails. They told him he would be home soon. Along the way, there have been several moments they will never forget. The first time he squeezed Martina’s hand was one. There was the time Emma asked him to identify the bossiest person in the room and he pointed at his wife (“he has always had a good sense of humour,” Martina says). There was the first day he went back to his redesigned house in Dunboyne, County Meath, after nearly two years in hospitals, rehabilitation units and nursing homes. There was the family meal when Emma, on her 18th birthday, asked if someone could pass the garlic bread and it was her father who reached over to get it for her. “It’s those little moments that, to some people, might mean, ‘So what?’ But they are big to us,” Martina says. The biggest, undoubtedly, was the first time Sean opened his eyes after four weeks in a coma. “We felt like we’d won the Lotto that day,” Martina says, and now she is smiling. “He opened his eyes for 35 minutes. Before that, the longest was a couple of seconds and I didn’t even see that one; it was Sean’s sister who saw it. This is what we had been waiting for all that time. It was amazing because, until that point, we’d had nothing really.” Back at home, it is probably a sign of the times that “virus” is one of the words Sean has picked up. The family have had to be particularly mindful about the risks of COVID-19 because of his vulnerability. But the lockdown did at least allow him to catch up on all the matches he missed. It has been therapeutic, watching his team running away with the Premier League. Martina will admit she previously had “absolutely zero interest” in football. She makes sure now that she knows when every Liverpool game is coming up. Often, she will watch them, too. “He’s making improvements all the time. The speech centre of his brain has been damaged and that’s not something that is just going to come back. But he’s understanding a lot more. His attention is a lot better. He’s taking in an awful lot more. It’s a slow and steady pace, but he can get words out. He can even get some of his own words out. So he’s definitely improving, even if it’s at a slow pace.” All the time, Liverpool have remained in touch. Friendships have formed. Martina, in turn, has learned so much about Liverpool that she never knew before. Kenny Dalglish being a god on Merseyside, for one. Dalglish visited the family in the Walton Centre when Sean’s condition was critical. Martina smiles again. “It was funny because the girl in the coffee shop nearly fell over running over to offer him a drink. She didn’t notice the rest of us. We were just left hanging. It’s funny how people react when they see him.”   If it is not sport on the television, it is usually reruns of Friends or other comedy shows. Sean has visited St Peters, the Gaelic football club in Dunboyne where he was chairman. Before the restrictions tightened again recently, he was going out with Martina for the occasional walk. One day, he hopes to return to Anfield again. “They say Liverpool is all about family,” Martina says. “I can see that now. I didn’t really understand the meaning of it before, but I do now. They are looking after him. I think Sean will always be remembered there. He will always be looked after. “It’s very lovely, very genuine. The new chief executive, Billy Hogan, has already been on to say, ‘We’re thinking of you, thinking of Sean’, and when things are settled Sean is more than welcome to go back. We will do it. Sean got such a kick out of that first game we will definitely be back.”
    • No sign of thiago in the photos today, or matip. If they don't train tomorrow, neither will be risked for Saturday surely. And does anyone know what the fuck happened to the ox? Supposed to be out for 6 weeks and he's dropped off the face of the earth 
    • Available on Amazon, but Bezos can do one, instead a more reputable book seller   https://www.waterstones.com/book/with-hope-in-your-heart/martina-cox/susan-keogh/9780717190102   Just ordered one for me
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