Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Reds Invite Finn For Trial

Liverpool have invited Finnish starlet Simon Skrabb for a trial at Anfield.

Skrabb returns to Liverpool for a second time, after he linked up with the Merseyside outfit last August and did enough to earn a further chance to impress.

The 13-year-old has been recommended to Reds boss Rafa Benitez by the club's Finnish scout Tor Sparv.

Skrabb is an attacking midfielder and he is regarded as one of the most promising prospects in Finnish football.

The player's club Jaro have confirmed the youngster will visit Liverpool two or three times a year ahead of a possible move to Anfield.

Aragones Admits To Arbeloa Blunder

Spain coach Luis Aragones has admitted he made a mistake by including injured Liverpool defender Alvaro Arbeloa in his squad to face France.

The coach has come under increasing pressure recently over his decision to include injured and untried players, such as Arbeloa and 17-year-old Barcelona forward Bojan Krkic, at the expense of the experienced Raul.

Aragones admitted that the decision to include Arbeloa - who has since withdrawn from the squad - was his decision, but insisted that nothing more should be made of the matter.

He said: "It was a mistake by the manager, full stop.

"It was a mistake that never should have been made, but what's done is done."

However, Aragones stood by his inclusion of Bojan, stating: "He's a kid with a great future, but we're going to try to get him involved now as I've known players with great futures who later never got there."

On arrival in Malaga ahead of Wednesday's match, Aragones was jeered by around 500 Spanish fans, who chanted for Raul to be recalled to the squad.

But the coach remained defiant when addressing the press on Tuesday, insisting he will not be replaced by the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) before Euro 2008.

Aragones joked that he had "never seen a national team with two managers" and added that he had never been worried about losing his job.

Earlier, Aragones received backing from RFEF president Angel Maria Villar, who told Radio Marca: "Luis is our coach and he will be so at Euro 2008."

Riise Wants To End Career At Anfield

John Arne Riise has declared he wants to end his career at Liverpool, despite speculation he could leave Anfield in the summer.

The versatile defender has fallen out of favour with Reds boss Rafa Benitez over recent weeks and it was rumoured Riise was close to a January move to Aston Villa.

However, Riise insists he is happy to accept Benitez's rotation policy at Liverpool after losing his place to Fabio Aurellio.

"It is disappointing not to be playing the last few games," Riise told Sky Sports News. "But everyone knows what the boss is thinking.

"He likes to rotate his team and the squad. I don't like not playing, but I understand he likes to rotate.

"He has opted to field Aurelio for a few matches, who has been injured a lot and has got some matches now. That is no problem with me.

"I want to stay with Liverpool for the rest of my career if possible. I've always said that and I hope it can happen, but I have to play good and keeping playing good for years to come.

"At the moment I am happy and looking forward to the rest of the season because we can do some good stuff."

And the 27-year-old, who is expected to start for Norway against Wales on Wednesday, has rubbished speculation that Liverpool were looking to sell him in the recent transfer window.

"Not that I know of," added Riise when asked if he had been informed of a possible transfer. "Just in the papers. If the club want to sell me they would have done it.

"They didn't and I think they are happy with me. I am happy at Liverpool.

"I don't think about my future too much, I just enjoy playing and we will see what happens in the future."

Liverpool’s Gerrard Could Be Regular England Captain

England boss Fabio Capello has named Steven Gerrard as his first England captain but it would not be a surprise if the Italian tactician continues with the Liverpool skipper as the regular Three Lions captain.

Capello will however wait until later this year before naming the regular captain ahead of the World Cup qualifying campaign.

Midfielder Gerrard will lead the Three Lions side tonight in the international friendly against Switzerland at Wembley Stadium, as Chelsea skipper John Terry, who was the England captain under Steve McClaren, is out injured.

Capello, who began his England job on January 7 and tonight’s match will be his first game in charge after McClaren was sacked following the failure to qualify for the summer’s Euro Championship finals, has praised Gerrard, saying he “commands authority”.
“I believe Steven Gerrard is the Liverpool captain - and Liverpool are a very important team which won the Champions League,” Capello said in the Liverpool Echo.

“He is a player who commands authority and can lead by example on the pitch and inspire the team.

“He is an important player for England and will be the captain for this match.

“He is not going to be a permanent captain and I am not going to announce a permanent captain before the Andorran game.

“But I believe Steven Gerrard is important for everyone, for all the players we have, because he is a player who can transmit things on the pitch and, like I said, can inspire players.”

Parry's Peace Call As Chief Executive Asks For United Front At Liverpool

Liverpool chief executive Rick Parry has called for everyone associated with the club to stop washing their dirty linen in public and unite after weeks of turmoil on and off the pitch.

The club's American owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks have fallen out of favour with Reds fans, due in no small part to Hicks revealing the club had spoken to former Germany boss Jurgen Klinsmann as an "insurance policy" against current manager Rafael Benitez leaving the club.

Fans stayed behind on the Kop after Saturday evening's Barclays Premier League game victory over Sunderland to protest against the owners, with some carrying banners calling for Dubai Investment Capital to step forward and take over the club.

Parry believes the constant speculation surrounding the Reds - coming from inside and outside the club - has been harmful and sought to draw an end to the disharmony in his LFC Magazine column.

"This is not the Liverpool we all know and love," he said.

"It has never been our style to wash our dirty linen in public and it is never pleasant for anyone when it happens.

"The sooner we can put all of this behind us and get back to the Liverpool way the better. That's certainly not pointing the finger at anyone. It's a hard fact of life in football that any negative publicity quickly leads to further headlines and debate.
"You learn to live with it. What really frustrates me is when outsiders start having a go. When this happens you know instinctively it's time to unite, draw some strength from our togetherness and get back on the rails."

Another apparent bone of contention has been the club's plans for their new stadium, which were revised when the initial costs were deemed to be too high.

But Parry is adamant the new ground, scheduled for completion in 2011, will still be something for the club to be very proud of.

"When we said we were revising things, perhaps there was a bit of consternation that we were somehow going back to the drawing board to make dramatic alterations," he added.

"In fact, it was a case of looking at some costs to see if we could make them more efficient.

"Could we look at some aspects of the build to make it work better without losing the impact of the design that had made it so special? That is exactly what has happened and our plans remain on course."

Meanwhile Javier Mascherano expects his permanent deal to join the club to be completed this week.

The Argentina midfielder told Clarin newspaper: "I think it will take no longer than this week.

"I want to stay at the club because I'm playing very often and I feel very comfortable.

"I would not like packing again."