Sunday, October 14, 2007

Liverpool & Chelsea Linked With Athletic Bilbao Defender Fernando Amorebieta

Liverpool and Chelsea are linked with Athletic Bilbao defender Fernando Amorebieta.

According to reports in Spain, the Premiership giants are keeping a close watch on the 22-year-old Venezuela-born versatile defender, with a move said to be likely in the January transfer window.

The highly-rated Amorebieta, who has reportedly been watched by scouts of the Reds and Blues, sounded happy with the interest from the English clubs.

"I have not spoken to any English club, but their interest makes me determined to work to improve in Bilbao. England is a competitive league," he said.

Liverpool’s Aurelio To Move On After Injury Deprived Him Of Champions League Final & Brazil Chance

Liverpool full-back Fabio Aurelio has rued the timing of his injury blows so far in his career, but has expressed determination to move on.

The 28-year-old left-sided player joined the Reds in 2006 summer from Valencia, but had been pegged back by injury blows in his debut season, wherein he also missed being a part of the Champions League final against AC Milan.

In the past, he has missed out on earning his debut for Brazil due to injury setback.

"Missing out on a potential place in a Champions League final was a big blow for me," said Aurelio on the club’s official website.

"When I injured my knee at Valencia that also came at a bad time for me, towards the end of the season. I was top scorer at the club and had also been selected to play for Brazil.

"I couldn't go with my country in the end and missed the last three or four games of the Spanish season.

"That was a bad time, just as it was last season when I got injured. But I can't afford to think about what might have been.

"You have to leave these things behind and move on. At times like these, you need to be strong and have a lot of patience. In turn, you become stronger for it."

Liverpool FC Confirm Pako Ayestaran Departure

Pako Ayestaran is to step down from his position as assistant manager at Liverpool FC, the club announced today.

He will, however, remain contracted to the club through to June 30, 2008.

Chief executive Rick Parry said: "Following discussions between Rafael Benitez and Pako Ayestaran, it has been agreed that it would be in the best interests of all parties if Pako leaves his post as assistant manager.

"Pako, however, will remain under contract to us until next summer.

"The club want to thank Pako for his hard work and contribution to our success over the past three years."

It is believed there had been simmering tension between the pair, and Benitez was known to be disappointed when former assistant Paco Ayestaran was “too friendly” with ex Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho after the clubs drew 1-1 at Anfield earlier this season.

That incident is believed to have been one of the reasons for the tensions between Benitez and Ayestaran coming to a head.

Ayestaran moved with Benitez from Valencia in the summer of 2004 and was described on Liverpool FC's website as being 'instrumental in planning training.'

Today's statement confirms what many had taken as already confirmed. Today's statement would appear to serve warning to other clubs, particularly Spanish ones rumoured to be interested in him, that he remains under contract at Liverpool.

Ayestaran's non-involvement in recent weeks has been blamed for Liverpool's recent poor form.

But when challenged on that Benitez said in the Liverpool Daily Post: “I do not believe that the management changes have affected the situation.

“We have been analysing the data regarding our players and we are running more, covering more ground and our physical condition is fantastic.

“With regards to the coaching, I was coaching with the team before. I am not a traditional English manager sitting in an office, I am always on the pitch with the players.

“I was on the pitch before, I was on the pitch today and I will be on the pitch tomorrow.”

Barca Set Sights On Mascherano

Stand by for the Tevez Affair Mk II. Barcelona are planning to test Liverpool's desire to hang on to Argentine star Javier Mascherano at the end of the season.

Like his fellow countryman Carlos Tevez, Mascherano's transfer rights are owned by Kia Joorabchian's company and Liverpool must pay MSI £20 million if they wish to make Mascherano their own.

With FIFA planning new rules on third-party ownership, Liverpool have stalled in talks, presumably hoping that they will drive a better deal if there are more stringent rules on the practice that was highlighted by Tevez's protracted move from West Ham to Old Trafford.

Barcelona would expect to get Mascherano for less than £20m, but they could yet outbid Liverpool.