Merseyside Insider: Everton chairman stands ground on Stones after surviving cup scare and Liverpool flop Balotelli toughs it out on loan

What’s been happening in the world of football on Merseyside this week? Jennifer Atherton gives us the scoop . . .

Sticking with Stones

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Bill Kenwright has gone up in a lot of Everton fans’ estimations this week by rejecting the transfer request defender John Stones handed in earlier this week. Supporters were worried because of the uncertainty surrounding who would replace him if the Chelsea target was allowed to leave. Argentinian Ramiro Funes Mori was at Goodison Park for Everton’s match against Manchester City but he is still awaiting a work permit before he can sign for the club. Fans aren’t always happy with the way Kenwright operates but he is so far delivering on his promise to keep their best players at the club. A statement on the club’s website read:  “John is not for sale and he will remain a highly valued member of our first-team squad.”

Reds’ rising star

Liverpool are still unbeaten in the Premier League so far and while it’s early days, the fans are naturally pleased with their start. They have seen a few rising stars emerge, most notably, Joe Gomez. The 18-year-old stole the show as Brendan Rodgers’ team put on an impressive display against Arsenal at the Emirates on Monday night. The defender only signed for the Reds in June and I don’t think many fans expected him to be quite so impressive, so quickly! His display against the Gunners had everyone talking on Merseyside and they are sure we’ll see a lot more of him. We might just be three games in, but already Liverpool fans are feeling optimistic about this campaign.

League Cup drama

Everton were very close to being involved in one of the big League Cup upsets on Wednesday night. League One side Barnsley forced the first-round tie to extra-time, before eventually succumbing to Toffees. It should have been a lot more straightforward than that for Roberto Martinez’s side and fans were disappointed with the performance. Most of them would quite happily sacrifice a couple of league spots to win silverware this season but, with many senior figures left out of the side midweek, are Everton taking the League Cup seriously enough? After this scare, I’m sure Martinez will field a stronger team against Reading in the next round.

Can Balotelli cut it?

Hellraiser Mario Balotelli may have just left Merseyside but he’s still the talk of the town. Well, we knew the Italian wouldn’t leave Liverpool for his loan spell at AC Milan quietly. In what was has to be my favourite story of the week, it’s been reported there are strict terms and conditions to his season-long switch, while his behaviour will be closely monitored by Milan CEO Adriano Galliani and manager Sinisa Mihajlovic. The bizarre code of conduct includes toning down his extravagant hairstyles and having his social media posts supervised by the club. And if you’re planning on visiting a nightclub in Milan anytime soon, don’t expect to see Super Mario – he’s been banned from clubbing, too! We’ll see how serious he was about not making any more mistakes . . .


Follow Jen at @Jen_Atherton1

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