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Summary

  1. Updates on Wednesday 25 January
  2. Council 'shocked' at 'government U-turn' on Mersey bridge tolls
  3. New figures show three-fold increase in rough sleepers in Liverpool
  4. Fresh appeal over man who 'vanished into thin air' 15 years ago
  5. Philippe Coutinho signs five-year deal at Liverpool

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All times stated are UK

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Our live coverage across the day

Live updates from Merseyside and west Cheshire have finished for the day, but we'll be back from 08:00 on Thursday with more of the latest news, sport, travel and weather.    

Weather: Cold with a risk of frost

BBC Weather

Another cold and frosty night for many before skies cloud starts to build, with isolated drizzle or light snow flurries possible. There is also a risk of ice in places.

Tomorrow will start with cloudy skies, but it should gradually brighten through the morning.

It will feel cold, though, with temperatures between -1C and 2C.

More from BBC Weather 

Football: Matip back for EFL Cup semi-final

BBC Sport

It's a big night at Anfield with the second leg of the EFL Cup semi-final against Southampton.

Joel Matip
Getty Images

The Reds are 1-0 down from the first game but Joel Matip is expected to start for the first time in six weeks for the match, which kicks off at 19:45.

The winner will face either Manchester Utd or Hull in the final at Wembley.

Earlier, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said a new contract for Phillippe Coutinho is a "big statement". 

The Brazil international has signed a new five-year contract worth about £150,000 a week, making him the highest-paid player at the club. 

You can follow live text and radio commentary from tonight's EFL Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Southampton here.

Plans submitted for new Wild Wings birds of prey centre

Warrington Guardian

Proposals for a new birds of prey centre in Risley have been submitted to Warrington Borough Council's planning department.  

Latest headlines in Merseyside and west Cheshire

  • The family of a Liverpool man who "vanished into thin air" after leaving a pub 15 years ago is still trying to come to terms with his disappearance, police said  
  • Bosses at Warrington Borough Council say they are "shocked and disappointed" after finding out residents will have to pay to use the Mersey Gateway Bridge
  • Councillors in Knowsley are expected to back calls to ask shop owners to stop selling The Sun newspaper 

Schools warned about app which may be being used by paedophiles

Schools across Liverpool are being warned of the potential dangers of an app, which it is thought is being used by paedophiles to exploit children. 

Phone in hand
PA

The Musical.ly app is mainly used by youngsters aged between eight and 12 to make and share videos with friends. 

But the High Tech Crime Unit at Merseyside Police have written to a number of schools to alert teachers and parents. 

Helen Westerman from the NSPCC said they know a number of adults are now using the app to try to contact children.

She said:

It's really important that when children are using this, they set the settings to private on the Musical.ly app so that only their friends - the people they allow to see the videos - actually get to see them otherwise they're open to anybody."

Grassroots football: Two thirds of referees 'suffer physical or verbal abuse'

There needs to be "more engagement with parents and coaches" in grassroots football, researchers at Edge Hill University have said.

Boys playing football
Thinkstock

A survey found almost two thirds of referees suffer physical or verbal abuse at games. 

The study was carried out to examine how successful the FA's Respect Campaign has been, since it was introduced in 2008.

Widnes lose Mellor for two months

BBC Sport

Widnes half-back Joe Mellor will miss the first two months of the Super League season because of a knee injury sustained in pre-season.

Joe Mellor
Rex Features

The 26-year-old scrum-half has been announced as club co-captain for the upcoming campaign, with Chris Houston.

Mellor scored 12 tries in his 32 appearances last season as the Vikings finished eighth.

Woman banned from keeping animals after partner killed their dog

Liverpool Echo

A woman who failed to act when her partner killed his sick dog by drugging and bludgeoning it to death was given a lifetime ban from keeping animals.  

Blake Brown death: Police release CCTV footage before and after fatal shooting

Detectives investigating the fatal shooting of a man in Liverpool have released CCTV footage from the night it happened. 

Blake Brown was shot dead on Southwood Road in Aigburth on 24 October.  

Aigburth CCTV
Merseyside Police

The video shows a stolen white Range Rover Evoque before and after the murder, as well as two men - police would like to speak to. 

A number of men are currently on bail in connection with the investigation.

Watch the CCTV footage on the Merseyside Police YouTube Channel

Cricket: Lancashire all-rounder Smith retires

Lancashire all-rounder Tom Smith has announced his retirement at the age of 31 after a series of injury problems.  

Tom Smith
Getty Images

Smith was named captain of the Red Rose for the 2015 season, but only skippered the team in one game after being told he needed back surgery.

The injury kept him out for 13 months but he came back to feature in the final months of last season, only for back problems to return.

It's very sad and a tough decision to come to. Following some medical advice from the specialist and thinking about the long term future it has come because of injury.

Tom Smith

Latest headlines in Merseyside and west Cheshire

  • The family of a Liverpool man who "vanished into thin air" after leaving a pub 15 years ago is still trying to come to terms with his disappearance, police said  
  • Bosses at Warrington Borough Council say they are "shocked and disappointed" after finding out residents will have to pay to use the Mersey Gateway Bridge
  • Councillors in Knowsley are expected to back calls to ask shop owners to stop selling The Sun newspaper 

Appeal over 'vanished into thin air' man's 2002 disappearance

The family of a man who "vanished into thin air" after leaving a pub 15 years ago is still trying to come to terms with his disappearance, police said.

Lyndon Nowell
Merseyside Police

Lyndon Nowell, 28 when he went missing, was in the Coronation pub on Childwall Valley Road, Liverpool between 20:00 and 20:45 on 24 January 2002 before leaving in his silver Ford Focus.

His burned-out car was found hours later in Swinton, Greater Manchester.

Anybody with information about the father-of-two is asked to call police.

Severe disruption: M62 Merseyside eastbound

BBC Travel

M62 Merseyside eastbound severe disruption, at J4 for A5080 Bowring Park Road.

M62 Merseyside - One lane closed on M62 eastbound in Liverpool at J4, A5080 (Rocket), because of a broken down vehicle.

Check local traffic and travel reports for:

Knowsley Council to ask for Sun selling ban over Hillsborough coverage

Councillors in Knowsley are expected to back calls to ask shop owners to stop selling The Sun newspaper.

The Sun newspaper
PA

The GMB union is urging retailers to take the tabloid off their shelves, because of its coverage of the Hillsborough disaster. 

A motion will be put before the local authority this evening, asking members to support the union's stance.

Copies of the paper were burnt in Kirkby in 1989 - following false reports about the behaviour of Liverpool fans at Hillsborough - and the demonstration led to a boycott across Merseyside.

Roads: Congestion on Edge Lane in Liverpool

BBC Travel

There is heavy traffic on A5047 Edge Lane westbound in Liverpool around the Durning Road junction in the roadworks area.

Latest from BBC Travel

Weather: Sunny, but breezy afternoon

BBC Weather

A pleasant afternoon with blue skies and sunshine. The breeze will make it feel cooler with highs of 7C.

Weather

Latest from BBC Weather

Chester council takes legal action against travellers

Chester Chronicle

Cheshire West and Chester Council is taking legal action against a traveller family who have parked up on a former council waste depot in Chester's Bumpers Lane.

Warrington Council 'shocked and disappointed' at Mersey bridge tolls

The government is being accused of making a U-turn on a key election pledge to make the new Mersey Gateway bridge free for residents of Warrington and west Cheshire. 

Mersey Gateway
Mersey Gateway

Former Chancellor George Osborne announced a review during the 2015 general election campaign.

Warrington Borough council says it is "shocked and very disappointed". 

It was announced three years ago that Halton residents will not have to pay.

Latest headlines in Merseyside and west Cheshire

  • The number of people sleeping rough in Liverpool has more than doubled in the past three years
  • Councillors in Knowsley are expected to back calls for shop owners to stop selling the Sun newspaper
  • Warrington Council says it is "shocked and disappointed" at what it says is a government U-turn on Mersey Gateway bridge tolls for residents 

Former homeless woman to speak to MPs about life on the streets

A former homeless woman who now works for a Preston-based charity will speak about her experience in front of a group of MPs later.

Karen Wallis, from Southport, was in an abusive relationship and had spent time in prison, as well as spending a period of time homeless. 

She now works for Emmaus as deputy support manager and says the charity helped her turn her life around.

Chester Cathedral opens soup kitchen for rough sleepers

Chester Cathedral is hoping to inspire other cathedral's across the country to open soup kitchens. 

Chester Cathedral
Neil Kennedy / Geograph

An initiative starts at the cathedral today after charities voiced concerns about a lack of shelter for rough sleepers in winter.

It will run every Wednesday.

Residents protest against plans for released prisoners hostel

St Helens Star

Residents in St Helens are protesting against plans for a hostel for released prisoners in Sutton.

Best friends 'doing well' after kidney transplant

Yesterday BBC Radio Merseyside followed a live kidney transplant as Helen Crowther, from Runcorn, donated one of her kidneys to her best friend Andy Clewes.

The good news is that both are doing well after the operations and we wish them a speedy recovery!

View more on twitter

Number of rough sleepers in Liverpool has doubled three years

The number of people sleeping rough in Liverpool has more than doubled in the last three years.

Rough sleeper
BBC

Government figures out this morning show there were 21 people recorded in the city last year - compared to just 6 in 2013.

Across the country the number of people living on the streets has risen by 16%.

Latest headlines in Merseyside and west Cheshire

  • The number of people sleeping rough in Liverpool has more than doubled in the past three years
  • Councillors in Knowsley are expected to back calls for shop owners to stop selling the Sun newspaper
  • Chester Cathedral is hoping to inspire other cathedrals to open up their doors to the homeless as they start a soup kitchen today

What would you do for your best friend?

From being the best woman at his wedding to donating a kidney - what one woman is doing for her best friend.

Helen Crowther and Andy Clewes
Andy Clewes

Helen Crowther, from Runcorn, best friend Andy Clewes has suffered with chronic kidney disease since birth and has recently started to need dialysis treatment.

When Helen first offered Andy her kidney he laughed along, thinking it was a joke.

Attempted murder charge over Everton shooting

A man has been charged with attempted murder and possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life following a shooting at a house in Liverpool.

Dacy Road
Google

Police received a report a man had been shot in an arm at a property in Dacy Road in Everton on 10 January.

He was taken to hospital for treatment. No-one else was injured.

A 51-year-old man is due to appear at Liverpool and Knowsley Magistrates' Court later.

Football: Coutinho signs five-year Liverpool deal

BBC Sport

Liverpool forward Philippe Coutinho has signed a new five-year contract worth about £150,000 a week, making him the highest-paid player at the club.

Liverpool forward Philippe Coutinho
Getty Images

The 24-year-old Brazil international joined the Reds from Inter Milan for £8.5m in January 2013, and his new deal will take him through to 2022.

Coutinho has scored 34 goals in 163 appearances for Liverpool.

Man, 50, charged over Birkenhead assault

A man has been charged with attempted murder following assault in Birkenhead. 

A man was found with injuries to his hands and face in Claughton Road at about 04:50 yesterday,

His injuries are not thought to be life threatening.

The 50-year-old has also been charged with common assault and will appear at Wirral Magistrates' Court later.

Roads: One lane closed on M58

BBC Travel

One lane is clsoed and there is slow traffic on the M58 eastbound between Junction 5, A557 (Up Holland) and M6 Junction 26 for the Orrell Interchange because of an accident.

Latest from BBC Travel

Latest headlines in Merseyside and west Cheshire

  • A 50-year-old man has been charged with attempted murder following assault in Birkenhead yesterday
  • A 51-year-old man is due in court charged with attempted murder after a man was shot in the arm in a house in Liverpool
  • Researchers at the Royal Liverpool Hospital and the Clatterbridge Centre say a treatment breakthrough could increase pancreatic cancer survival rates

Weather: Cold but bright

BBC Weather

A cold but bright start to the day with a good deal of dry and bright weather to come as temperatures reach 7C (45F) on a breezy day.

Weather

More from BBC Weather

Good morning: Join us for today's live news coverage

Jenny Coleman

Reporter, BBC Local Live

Hello from Liverpool, I'm here with all your news, sport, travel and weather updates from across Merseyside and west Cheshire today. 

If you've got a story you'd like me to hear about or a photograph you'd like to share, you can contact me on email, Facebook or Twitter.