Kung Fu has been busy touring around the country, coast to coast. Live For Live Music caught up with saxophonist Robert Somerville to talk about what he’s been up to as well as get his take on opening up for moe. during their comeback performance at The Capitol Theatre after bassist Rob Derhak recovered from cancer.Somerville has been gracing the stage for over twenty-five years with Kung Fu and other bands like Deep Banana Blackout. Not normally one to give many interviews, this exclusive conversation with Somerville covers everything from the early days to the present day and provides some words of advice for up-and-coming musicians.Live For Live Music: Take us through the early years of your life. How did you get into playing the saxophone and who were your earliest influences?Rob Somerville: I find that there’s a common denominator with a lot of kids from the public school. I grew up in Wilmington, Delaware so I was the first generation of my family not to grow up in Aroostook County, Maine on both my mother and my father’s side. It’s potato country up in northern Maine, so I lucked out and grew up in Delaware, which was awesome.Musically speaking, the public music program had music teachers in second and third grade and it was a class. It was not uncommon to start learning music on a recorder. As I meet other horn players and musicians, a lot of them have that common thread, in that they started in music on the recorder.I was also taking piano lessons but my teacher was an old, crotchety lady who never made it fun. I hated it. I hated practicing and I hated the whole thing about it. This was when I was 7 or 8, but when I got the recorder, everything just clicked. I was good at the recorder and I just ‘got it.’ I was into music class and we learned to read notes, scales, and rhythm. They were really big on teaching you rhythm and reading music at that age.When I applied the recorder, I knew that I was learning it faster than other kids. This all coincided with hating my piano lessons but realizing that I really liked music and I got it, unlike math, which always baffled my math teachers. They somehow equated being a musician with being good at math. I was horrible at math but I was good at music.In this conjunction of not having fun with the piano but having fun with the recorder my mother suggested I play a different instrument. At the time, I had been listening to an old record that my grandparents had called Chet, Floyd & Boots. It was guitarist Chet Atkins, pianist Floyd Cramer, and sax player Boots Randolph. Randolph played the Benny Hill theme, a tune called “Yakety Sax”, and it’s all sped up. I just loved that song and thought, “why not the saxophone?”In elementary school, we had band as a class [a few] days a week and would also have private lessons with the band director. We were playing music almost every day and the band director, Don Hendrick, had a summer jazz program that was a week long and you would play like a stage band. It was the summer after fourth grade and I just wanted to play in a jazz band. We didn’t have one at school at the time, so me and a bunch of the other kids asked about having a jazz band. Somebody came up with the brilliant idea of doing it during lunch and recess, which was about an hour and a half, and he agreed as long as our parents signed off on it. So here we were in fifth grade having basically jazz band rehearsal five days a week. The nucleus of this crew from fifth grade ended up playing together all through junior high and high school. By the time we were in high school, we were a serious kickass stage and jazz band. I was listening to big band and fusion and sax players. It just went from there. Nobody in my family was really a musician. My grandfather was a singer. My grandmother was a piano player. Music was always around but nobody was in a band or anything like that.I was 16 years old and one of the teachers had this old-timers swing band. This band was the first one that I actually got a gig with. It was summertime and I remember driving to this barn in the farmlands of eastern Pennsylvania, and we played in a hayloft full of all these people at the party. It was 1986. When we got done, I was handed $20. $10 filled my car and the other I spent on Doritos and Gatorade.I was into lots of stuff like sports, cycling and musical theater. All of it blossomed from my elementary school and having awesome teachers who were willing and wanting to take the time for each student. When I hear music and art programs are getting cut from school, those are the things you want. You want something to touch you and if you stripped that away from schools, there are countless souls that may never get that spark. I never would have known that I had a knack for music unless I had teachers and programs that supported that.L4LM: How did the early years evolve into what later became Deep Banana Blackout and Kung Fu, among others?RS: Once I played that first gig, I remember driving home and [waking] my parents up. I was so excited. Two summers later, I was touring around Europe with another big band. I was 18 years old. It was mostly high school-aged kids. There was another music director, Hal Schiff, who would take students to South America and Europe. It was awesome. Even before that, I knew that this was what I was going to do. There was never a moment that I decided. I just started doing it. This was early in my teens. I went to college for music at the University of Hartford, and thus begins the story of the Connecticut connection.First, there was a band called Tongue & Groove that a lot of the guys in Deep Banana Blackout played in: Dave Livolsi, Andrew Gromiller, Jen Durkin, and Eric Kalb were in Tongue & Groove. When I was in college, we used to go see them because they were the funkiest band in Connecticut, by far. They played all classic funk, James Brown, Funkadelic, Curtis Mayfield, everything – blues, funk, funk blues – and I just wanted to be in the band. My roommate and I asked to sit in on shows so Tongue & Groove was my first real gig and I was right out of college, living in Hartford, not having any job lined up.We wrote our instruments and names on their mailing list and that we would love to sit in with them. The day they were going through the mailer, the sax player was quitting the band and after they announced it they found a sax and trombone player on their list. That band was like funk boot camp. They were so serious and precise. It was like cramming for exams.L4LM: What was it like being in Deep Banana, because they’ve played pretty much every Gathering of the Vibes festival?RS: Technically, they played every Gathering of the Vibes because we have to remember that the first one was in 1996 – Dead Head Heaven, a Gathering of the Tribe. Deep Banana Blackout did not play at that one, but the first official Gathering of the Vibes was in 1997 at Croton Point. That first gig at GoV was the gig that put us on the map, without a doubt. It was not even the official show but it was the Friday night campfire late night set. These guys Bob Kennedy and Ken Hays, and that whole crew set up a PA out in the campground with a sound engineer and nothing else. No security. No stage crew. Nothing. They just left it set up. There was nobody there to tell us when to stop.There was a full moon and a huge bonfire and we were all wearing next to nothing. What was I thinking? I can’t get away with that anymore. We played all night long with guest after guest. We played our full repertoire. I remember it getting light out and nobody still told us to stop. We finally just ran out. They got so many complaints because the sound engineer cranked that shit up. There was a huge bonfire and no barrier or anything. People were walking onto the stage and up to the mics. It was beautiful and magical and all those things. That night really propelled us to start playing at The Wetlands. We really got known because of the Vibes and The Wetlands, without a doubt.L4LM: What is your most memorable moment with a musician that you have performed with that blew you away?RS: John Scofield, Bill Evans, Victor Bailey to name a few off the top of my head. Scofield sat in with Deep Banana at the Vibes I believe in ’99. Melvin Seals, Melvin Sparks, Derek Trucks came and sat in with us. Warren Haynes. Deep Banana did a tour with the Allman Brothers in 2001 and invited us out to play on these sets. We were playing sold out places, such as The Meadows in Hartford [now Xfinity Theatre], which was probably the most memorable one.We had done a bunch of shows with them, and [when they got to] Hartford, we weren’t on the second half of the tour. I still had my tour credentials, and the trombone player Bryan Smith, still had his and we lived about 50 minutes away from the venue. We thought we might as well go to the show. We just drove to The Meadows and parked right there at the backstage door after we showed our pass. We waltzed right in. Warren saw us and asked if we brought our horns, which we did. It’s the most memorable sit-in of my career because that was right at the height of Deep Banana, it was in Hartford, and it was my second home at the time.We were backstage eating shrimp cocktail and then it was time to go on and play. Warren in typical fashion said, “Please welcome Deep Banana Blackout horns!” The roar of the crowd is something I will never forget. To put it in perspective, Greg Allman literally shook because it was a roar. I had goosebumps. I was smiling ear to ear. That’s a huge sit-in and huge moment. That was a good day.L4LM: Can you talk about opening for moe. for their come back performance at The Capitol Theatre? In addition, talk about joining in with moe. during moe.down last year? What was that like?RS: The guys from moe. are so smart because it was so muddy at moe.down. I was walking around in huge rain boots up to my knees. When it was time to play, I had to go onstage in these boots. I get up there and all the guys from moe. get up to the stage and were wearing their boots too so I thought, no problem. However, those guys had their shoes to change into on the side of the stage. The last laugh was definitely on me.First, hearing that a colleague, Rob [Derhak], got the kind of news he did, it was shocking and frightening. I didn’t speak to Rob about it but watched him through his reports on Facebook. As soon as I saw the support he had and his attitude about the situation, I didn’t worry. I had that feeling like, “you’ve got this.” The support behind him was amazing. I can’t imagine what it’s like for moe. They must be so fucking excited. They don’t need us – Kung Fu – to open for them. The fact that they invited us to open, I was over the moon about it. It’s a real honor and distinct privilege to be thought of to do something like that for them. Everyone in the band was psyched about it.L4LM: Final thoughts. Is there anything else you would like to share with your fans?RS: To fans, thank you. We are all in this together and there’s nights that you feel that. There’s no distinction between the band on stage and the fans in the crowd. I live for those nights. Everyone has that equal passion for the music. If nobody’s there, we still love to play. When we all get together, we feed off of each other. Bands love that. You can tell when the crowd is into it and the crowd can tell when the band is into it. You will have bad days, but you have to segregate yourself from that and escape to a high level on stage.The one word of advice I have for new musicians is the same answer all the time. Don’t be an asshole. I found that you can be the most gifted musician in the world, but if you’re an asshole, nobody wants to work with you for too long. So many musicians have been humbled by that. Bands are all competing against each other but nowadays, the musicians in our scene are really cool to each other. There’s a lot of love out there. I love the world where music and my colleagues are on the scene right now. Also, maintain a certain level of professionalism–be on time, don’t be fucked up, be cool. That’s how you’re going to get work. That’s the nuts and bolts of it right there. To be successful, you have to be nice.For more information on Kung Fu, including tour dates, please head to their official website.Words and Photos by Sarah Bourque
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“The growth is fuelled by the burgeoning middle class and strong GDP [gross domestic product] growth of above 5 percent,” he added.Read also: Indonesia gets richer but inequality remains wideIndonesia’s economy grew 5.02 percent last year, lower than 2018’s achievement of 5.17 percent, as exports and investment cooled.Last year, Forbes Indonesia released its list of Indonesia’s 50 richest individuals, with an increase of US$5.6 billion in their combined wealth to a record $134.6 billion, around 12 percent of the country’s GDP, despite the economic slowdown. Topics : The Knight Frank report also highlighted that around 41 percent of the global ultra rich intended to diversify their assets because of economic uncertainty. Around 70 percent of wealth managers in Asia are actively adjusting their clients’ portfolios in response to the global economic slowdown and uncertainties, with around 28 percent of investment portfolios allocated to the property sector, 21 percent in equities and 19 percent in bonds.“The general UHNWI individual is selling their risky assets to buy safer and less risky assets. Everyone is a bit on the edge and is deciding to diversify their investments,” Justin said. (mpr) The number of Indonesia’s ultra rich is expected to jump by 57 percent to 1,060 individuals over the next four years, the second highest increase in Southeast Asia, according to a recent report.The growth of the country’s ultra-high-net-worth individuals (UHNWIs), or those with a net worth of more than US$30 million, is projected to be the fifth-highest in the world, substantially higher than the global and Asia averages of 27 percent and 44 percent, respectively, according to the Wealth Report 2020 by property consulting company Knight Frank.“In Southeast Asia, Indonesia has the second-highest rate of UHNWI growth below Vietnam,” said Knight Frank’s Asia Pacific associate director Justin Eng during the report’s launch in Jakarta on Friday.
Topics : The US Food and Drug Administration on Monday revoked its emergency use authorization for hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19, but quickly came under fire from President Donald Trump, who said only US agencies have failed to grasp its benefit in fighting the coronavirus.Based on new evidence, the FDA said it was no longer reasonable to believe that hydroxychloroquine and the related drug chloroquine may be effective in treating the illness caused by the novel coronavirus.The FDA also warned that the drugs have been shown in lab studies to interfere with Gilead Sciences Inc’s antiviral drug remdesivir – the only medicine so far to show a benefit against COVID-19 in formal clinical trials. The move comes after several studies of the decades-old malaria pills suggested they were not effective either as a treatment for or to prevent COVID-19.British scientists earlier this month halted a large trial after deciding that hydroxychloroquine was “useless” at treating COVID-19 patients.Hydroxychloroquine’s anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties suggested it might help COVID-19 patients, and the FDA authorized its emergency use in March at the height of a pandemic for which there were no approved treatments.The early enthusiasm was partly based on laboratory experiments in which the drug appeared to neutralize the virus. Chloroquine, which is not approved for any use in the United States and has more side effects, has not fared any better in human clinical trials. In March, Trump said hydroxychloroquine in combination with the antibiotic azithromycin had “a real chance to be one of the biggest game changers in the history of medicine,” with little evidence to back up that claim.He later said he took the drugs preventively after two people who worked at the White House were diagnosed with COVID-19, and he urged others to try it.“I took it and I felt good about taking it. I don’t know if it had an impact, but it certainly didn’t hurt me,” Trump said on Monday.Trump said there had been “great reports” out of France, Spain and other places, without offering any evidence or further explanation. France is one of the countries that has already stopped using the drug for COVID-19 patients.US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar said the drug is still being studied for possible use at an earlier stage of the disease.“A lot of the data that has come out that was more negative was people who were quite ill in the hospital,” he said.The drug can still be used with a doctor’s prescription, Azar noted. Any drug with US approval can be used in any way a doctor sees fit regardless of what it has been approved for.Drug’s use already in declineDoctors in recent weeks had already pulled back on the use of hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19, after several studies suggested it is not effective and may pose heart risks for certain patients.The Infectious Diseases Society of America on Monday backed the FDA decision “to revoke emergency use authorization for hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine.”Half of hospitals responding to a mid-May survey conducted by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) reported excess supplies of hydroxychloroquine that they expected to return to wholesalers.Current US government treatment guidelines do not recommend its use for COVID-19 patients outside of a clinical trial.France, Italy and Belgium late last month halted use of hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 patients. But the United States last month sent 2 million doses to Brazil, which has emerged as the pandemic’s latest epicenter.Hundreds of trials testing hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine as interventions for COVID-19 are still underway, including a US study designed to show whether hydroxychloroquine in combination with azithromycin can prevent hospitalization and death from COVID-19.
It would be a political gamble for Macron to replace Philippe, who is more popular with the public than the president, political analysts say. The prime minister has shown steadfast loyalty during waves of unrest and could emerge as a presidential rival in 2022.But keeping Philippe in office could be problematic too. It could suggest that Macron was too weak to let go of his prime minister and that his young party lacked the depth to allow for a full-blooded cabinet overhaul.Moreover, Macron poached Philippe from the centre-right opposition and holding onto him would complicate winning back leftist voters. Topics : French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe resigned on Friday ahead of a government reshuffle by President Emmanuel Macron designed to bolster his green credentials and win back disillusioned voters ahead of a possible re-election bid.The Elysee Palace said in a statement that Philippe would handle government affairs until a new cabinet was named.Questions over Philippe’s job have swirled since mid-June when Macron declared he wanted to “reinvent” his presidency. In French government reshuffles, the prime minister tenders his or her resignation ahead of cabinet appointments but can still be re-named to the position. It was not immediately clear whether Philippe would be called upon to form the new government.Macron’s move to refashion his centrist government comes after voters punished the former investment banker and his party in nationwide municipal elections.The elections revealed surging support for the Green party and underlined Macron’s troubles with left-leaning voters. The only bright spot for Macron was Philippe’s own victory in the northern port city of Le Havre.With only 21 months until the next presidential election, Macron wants to reposition himself, close advisers say.
The Gold Coast’s three most expensive rental properties are all more than $3000 a week.Ever considered renting a Gold Coast mega-mansion because it is too expensive to buy one?Think again because some are listed for more than $150,000 a year – an amount that would make a significant dent in a mortgage.The city’s median asking rent for a house is $515 per week and $440 for an apartment.While many would consider that expensive, its pails in comparison to the rental prices of some prestige properties. 28 Excalibur Court, Sovereign Islands 1/94 Monaco St, Broadbeach Waters 16 Eady Ave, Broadbeach Waters This Broadbeach Waters residence is slightly cheaper to rent.The four-storey industrial-style villa on the canal is slightly cheaper than the Sovereign Islands mansion.It will cost $3250 each week to live in the four-bedroom residence plus $13,000 bond.All the luxuries expected of a prestige property come with the villa including a wine cellar, multiple indoor and outdoor living areas, a built-in barbecue area for the outdoor entertainment space and a lift servicing each level.Concrete, wood and glass are featured throughout while feature lighting and slick fixtures and fittings add a touch of class.More from news02:37International architect Desmond Brooks selling luxury beach villa8 hours ago02:37Gold Coast property: Sovereign Islands mega mansion hits market with $16m price tag1 day agoThe residence last sold in November for $3.25 million before being listed for rent in December, property records show. The Sovereign Islands mansion is the most expensive rental on the Gold Coast, according to realestate.com.auThe grand waterfront residence comes with an equally jaw-dropping price tag.Its owners are asking for $3500 a week with a $14,000 bond, making it the Gold Coast’s most expensive rental property, realestate.com.au shows.On a 2400sq m block with about 89m of water frontage, the four-bedroom house stands out from its luxury counterparts in the prestige enclave of Paradise Point.High ceilings, walls of wide windows and intricate detailing throughout offer a sense of grandeur.Property records show it is also listed for sale, with several agents trying their hand at selling the house since it hit the market in January last year. Also at Broadbeach Waters, this property offers a slice of Bali but at a hefty price.It is like a luxury tropical escape in Bali with a hefty price tag to match.The five-bedroom house on the water comes fully furnished for $3200 a week with a $12,000 bond.Wood panelled walls and ceilings, thatched roofing outside and tropical plants surrounding a pool and entertainment deck characterise the property.It has modern interiors, ensuring its tenants will live comfortably, as well as a pontoon for easy access to the water.It last sold in 2008 for $1.7 million and was listed for rent in September, according to property records.
London-based ship manager V.Group has appointed John Adams as managing director of V.Ships UK Ltd, based in Glasgow.John brings a wealth of experience from 30 years at Teekay Shipping, most recently holding the position of Managing Director, Glasgow, and Chair of the Operational Leadership Team.He is also Chairman of Bahamas Shipowners’ Association and Vice-Chair at the International Chamber of Shipping, where he chairs a strategic industry Working Group focusing on meeting the IMO GHG reduction targets.The company said that Adams would be instrumental in leveraging V.Group’s new ship management operating model. Through this model, V.Group’s fleet cells are prioritised with access to support groups and centres of expertise around the globe.“When [CEO] Graham Westgarth outlined his future vision, strategy, and direction for V.Group I immediately bought in and very much wanted to be part of this exciting business,” Adams said.“I am passionate about this business – the dynamics and the challenges, which in turn present opportunities to develop and deliver strategic long-term successful outcomes. I have been in this industry for over 40 years, and my earliest experience in this business was in ship management in Glasgow – I am proud of Glasgow as a leading centre for delivering ship-management services to a global business community.”
“But we showed we are capable of holding our own in this league. “It wasn’t backs to the wall. We managed to stop them hurting us and when they scored we were on top. “Joe Hart has pulled off some great saves so it is a bit devastating that we ended up with nothing.” Yet winning without being at their best is the hallmark of champions. With Yaya Toure and Alvaro Negredo amongst the most notable members of Manuel Pellegrini’s squad to be rested from the starting line-up, City still had just enough to preserve that impressive 100 per cent home record. It was enough to take them top of the Premier League for the first time this season and even though it was expected to be just a temporary position, with 19 points from their last 21, it appears those nervy opening few weeks are over. “It was very important to keep persevering,” said City defender Matija Nastasic. “We only played against Liverpool two days before and Crystal Palace defended very well. “It was a problem to score but eventually we got the goal.” For Nastasic it was a particularly pleasing return to Pellegrini’s starting line-up after eight games out with a calf problem. “I feel okay,” said the Serbian defender. “I am 100 per cent to train and play the games and am ready for what is ahead. “We are top of the table, which is a nice way to go into the new year. “But we must continue this way if we are to get the first position.” “The next game is massive,” said Bannan. “We will be judged on the games against the teams who are around us and Norwich at home is one we expect to get something from. “With the home crowd behind us and the confidence we have in the squad at the minute we have every reason to look forward with confidence.” Palace can count themselves distinctly unfortunate not to have become the first side to take a point off City at the Etihad Stadium. Though they came under intense pressure at times, Tony Pulis had his side superbly organised and largely succeeded in limiting the hosts to half chances in the first half. And with Jason Puncheon twice threatening the home goal after the interval, Palace were starting to get on top when Dzeko swept in his 50th City goal from Jesus Navas’ cut-back. Even after that, the visitors continued to press forward and it took a fine save from Joe Hart to turn away a dipping volley from Joel Ward that was heading for the bottom corner. “A lot of people had written us off and were expecting a Manchester City goal glut,” said Bannan. Palace returned from Saturday’s trip to Manchester City with plenty of plaudits but no points in their battle to avoid being relegated straight back into the Championship. Only goal difference presently keeps them on the right side of that dreaded jagged line, although a win on Wednesday would at the very least see them leapfrog their visitors to Selhurst Park given Norwich are three points ahead of Palace with the same goal difference. Crystal Palace midfielder Barry Bannan accepts it is fixtures like the New Year’s Day showdown with Norwich that will determine whether the Eagles retain their top-flight status. Press Association
Zarate, who joined the Hammers from Argentine side Velez Sarsfield in the summer, reportedly underwent a medical at Rangers on Tuesday after struggling to establish himself at Upton Park. Redknapp has made no secret of his desire to add at least one more striker to his squad in January and the Rangers manager believes Zarate fits the bill. “He’s a player we’ve been talking about loaning, it’s not done yet though,” Redknapp said. “He’s a number 10, a clever player who can open the door. “I first came across him at Birmingham a few years back when he played under Alex McLeish. “It’s not done and dusted it’s just something we’re interested in – we are looking to loan a player or two.” Zarate has scored two goals in seven league appearances for West Ham this season but has struggled for a starting spot ahead of Diafra Sakho, Enner Valencia and Andy Carroll. Hammers boss Sam Allardyce responded to claims he had treated Zarate unfairly by insisting the 27-year-old had simply not been good enough to secure a regular place in the side. Redknapp said: “Sam said he’s done well enough but you can see why he hasn’t played – they’ve got Sakho, Valencia, Carroll, Carlton Cole and Zarate – they’ve got five strikers. “They’re good players and they’ve been in great form, they’re a threat to anybody so it’s been difficult for Zarate to get in. Press Association QPR boss Harry Redknapp believes Mauro Zarate can be the answer to his striker shortage but insists a deal has not yet been completed for the West Ham forward. “Maybe Sam prefers the others and they’ve been in great form so you can see why.” A goalless draw at home to Crystal Palace on Sunday leaves QPR 15th in the table and two points above the relegation zone. Redknapp’s side host Swansea on New Year’s Day, hoping to continue their excellent form at Loftus Road which includes three wins in their last four home matches. “Our home form has been fantastic for us, we’ve been difficult to beat at home,” Redknapp said. “We now play all the top teams at home in the second half of the season and we go away to the bottom teams.” Redknapp added: “Swansea are a good side, Garry Monk has done a great job with them and he’s just carried on from where they were. “They’ve had great managers in the last few years, who have gone on to do great things and he’s another in that line.” Meanwhile, Swansea chairman Huw Jenkins says the club have received no bids for Wilfried Bony amid reports that Chelsea and Manchester City could be willing to spend big to land the Ivory Coast striker in January. Bony finished 2014 as the Barclays Premier League’s top marksman with his 20 goals putting him above Sergio Aguero (18), Yaya Toure (17) and Wayne Rooney (16). The 26-year-old plays his final game for Swansea at QPR on New Year’s Day before leaving for the African Cup of Nations and some fans fear it could be his last game for the club with title-chasing pair Chelsea and Manchester City reported to be lining up £30million bids. But Jenkins has said neither he nor the club has been contacted by a rival for Bony, who cost Swansea a club record £12m when he signed from Dutch club Vitesse Arnhem in the summer of 2013 and has since scored 33 goals in 69 appearances for the Welsh club. “There has been no enquiry to me or the club about Wilfried Bony,” Jenkins told the Daily Mail on Wednesday. “We are in the same position as any other club. Things are as they are. “No one wants to lose players and if you are to lose players it has to be for the right offer. “Bigger clubs than us have to deal with that – it’s the nature of football these days. We are realistic about that. “It’s important to remember we are talking about a player who has scored more goals in 2014 than any other, including people who cost a lot of money.” Chelsea are understood to have scouted Bony in Swansea’s 4-1 defeat at Liverpool on Monday while Manchester City’s director of football Txiki Begiristain and head scout Gary Worthington were also in attendance at Anfield. Swansea pair Ki Sung-yueng and Bony will make their final appearances before leaving for international duty. Influential midfielder Ki will be away for the next month leading South Korea at the Asian Cup in Australia while top goalscorer Bony will be at the African Nations Cup with the Ivory Coast in the same period. Jonjo Shelvey is set to start a four-match ban after being charged with violent conduct by the Football Association for elbowing Liverpool’s Emre Can in the face in Swansea’s 4-1 defeat on Monday night, while Ecuador winger Jefferson Montero is absent with a hamstring problem.
Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge believes Raheem Sterling will only be happy if he plays regularly and hopes he will remain at the club to do that. That made the youngster slightly more uncomfortable than he already was perched on a stool on stage, and speaking afterwards Sturridge said having regular football – which he is virtually guaranteed at Liverpool but possibly not elsewhere – was a key consideration for Sterling. “I don’t know what Raheem wants to do but it is just important to be able to play regularly,” he told Press Association Sport. “As long as he is playing regularly he will be happy – I don’t think it is anything to with anything other than that and I hope he will stay at the club. “It is important, regardless of who you are, to show what you can do – not just for Raheem but any young player. “It is important to play games and gain experience so whatever decision he makes I am behind him 100 per cent.” Sturridge experienced something similar himself when he left Manchester City for Chelsea aged 19 but things did not pan out how he would have liked at Stamford Bridge and he left for Liverpool in January 2012 after 63 appearances in four years. As he matured he has enjoyed greater success at Anfield, scoring 40 goals in 67 appearances but his good form was interrupted this season by a five-month absence with a thigh problem. Since returning in January he has scored four times in 15 games and some of his performances have drawn criticism simply because he has not matched the heights of last season when, playing alongside Luis Suarez, he scored 24 times. Sterling is stalling on a new £100,000-a-week contract offer, although he insists it has nothing to do with money and he will reassess at the end of the season. The 20-year-old, who has been linked with a number of Europe’s top clubs, was one of four players at the Anfield launch of next season’s New Balance kit in front of over 1,000 fans, with one shouting from the crowd “Make sure we see you in it next season”. However, the England striker knew he would not rediscover his best form immediately, which he believes will only come with a full pre-season under his belt. “It has taken time to get back into the groove. I have missed a lengthy time and gaining sharpness while playing games is not easy in a league like the Premier League – you can’t ease yourself back in because the games are very fast,” he added. “It has been a difficult season in terms of the injuries but I know I will come back strong and get back to exactly how I was performing before. “It is going to take time, it is not going to happen overnight, I understand that. “It is the sharpness and fitness side of things. It takes a long time and that is the whole point of having a long pre-season. “I am looking forward to helping the team this season and towards next season I will be right back to where I was, because I would have had a pre-season I will be back to the sharpness and fitness levels I had before.” Press Association