Sunday, June 01, 2008

Liverpool Trial Teen Striker

Liverpool have confirmed they have offered a trial to 14 year old striker Markus Johansson, from Swedish club Hagahojden.

Despite his tender years, Johansson has already forced his way into the senior side at Hagahojden and has three goals to his name.

The Reds have been watching the youngster since he impressed in a summer tryout last year and he will now travel to Liverpool in the summer in an attempt to impress the Anfield coaching staff.

Johansson confirmed that he would be travelling to England in the next few months. He said: “We have kept in touch with their Swedish scout. I will go to Liverpool in August and train with their Academy for a few days.”

The teenager also admitted that the chance to play for Liverpool is a dream come true although he was honest enough to confess: “I am already starting to get nervous.”

Despite his nerves, the youngster is looking forward to what is undoubtedly a great opportunity. He said: “I got to know about the trial last week. It will be great fun. There are no doubts that it will be the biggest opportunity of my life.”

He was also quick to point out that playing for Liverpool is a long held ambition of his: “My biggest asset is my strength and it is my dream to play for Liverpool.”

Shocker For Benitez: Liverpool Forward Babel Ruled Out Of Euro 2008 By Serious Ankle Injury

Holland winger Ryan Babel will miss Euro 2008 after tearing ankle ligaments in training.

Babel is expected to be out of action for several weeks and will therefore not take part in the summer showpiece in Austria and Switzerland.

The Liverpool attacker sustained the injury a day before Holland play their final pre-tournament friendly, against Wales in Rotterdam.

Holland coach Marco van Basten has not named a replacement for the 21-year-old although he is permitted to do so once Babel has been examined by a UEFA doctor.

The Dutch will line up alongside France, Italy and Romania in Group C. Their first match is on June 9 against world champions Italy.

Despite the injury blow, Holland boss Marco van Basten has delivered an ominous warning for John Toshack's Wales ahead of their meeting at Feyenoord's sold-out De Kuip stadium, demanding a flurry of goals to send his side into the Euro 2008 finals on a high.

That will be worrying for Welsh ears, because the last time they faced Holland they were thrashed 7-1 in Eindhoven in 1996, and Van Basten clearly wants a similar scoreline against a country they have beaten on all five previous meetings between the side.
Van Basten was disappointed with Thursday's 1-1 home draw against Denmark, when he fielded a side much closer to the one expected to face Italy in their opening group C match on June 9 in Berne.

"We must be more clinical and take our chances. This team has matured over the last two years and everywhere the expectation is so much higher, not surprisingly," he said.

"But we cannot allow ourselves to let teams off the hook when we are making chances and on top."

Former Manchester United ace Ruud van Nistelrooy scored early on against the Danes, but Holland could not build on that opener.

And now Wales could feel the backlash with a young, inexperienced side set to line up against the Dutch.

Van Basten said: "It is a bad thing for us, we are not cashing in on the numerous chances we create. This is often a Dutch problem, and one we must solve before we go to the finals."

The former Dutch master, though, was happy with Van Nistelrooy's contribution, the Real Madrid man only joining up with the squad on Monday after being excused the early training work along with other stars who had been involved in big matches of late.

Manchester United's Edwin van der Sar - the Red Devils' spot-kick hero in the Champions League Final - was another later arrival in camp.

"Van Nistelrooy took his chance well and looked sharp. But others must start to score as well," added the coach.

Before Babel broke down Van Basten reduced his squad to 23 after Wigan defender Mario Melchiot proved his fitness after struggling with a groin problem. The three unlucky players to step down were keeper Sander Boschker, Denny Landzaat and Khalid Boulahrouz.

Wales could find themselves facing virtually Van Basten's strongest side, but Arsenal's Robin van Persie is unlikely to be risked as he is still suffering from a thigh problem.

Van Basten, perhaps significantly, made a point that the forward had been risked too soon by the Gunners at the tale end of the season.

He said: "We are not going to do that because Robin is a special player we would rather see in the side to face Italy.

"He came back too quickly last season and had a relapse. Our doctors believe it is better to allow him to recuperate as long as possible rather than risk him being injured in a friendly."

Aston Villa full-back Wilfred Bouma will get his chance to clinch a place in the starting line-up against the Italians, as will Real Madrid's former Chelsea man Arjen Robben, who was replaced late on by Babel against the Danes.The KNVB said a replacement for Babel was being discussed.

The Netherlands are in Group C along with France, Italy and Romania for the June 7-29 tournament in Austria and Switzerland.

Torres Rules Out Reds Exit

Liverpool striker Fernando Torres insists he will be at Anfield for 'many years to come'.

The Spain international enjoyed a prolific first season in England following his move from Atletico Madrid, finding the net 24 times in the Premier League.

Torres' red-hot form in front of goal has seen him linked with a number of clubs throughout Europe, with Chelsea said to be considering an astonishing £50million offer.

But the Kop idol has assured manager Rafa Benitez and the club's fans that he has no intention of moving away from Merseyside.

He said: "It is an honour to be linked to clubs like Barcelona, Chelsea, or Arsenal - but I am not thinking about a change and I want to continue playing for Liverpool for many years to come.

"It's been quite easy for me. I have been able to enjoy every minute at a club where things have gone well.

"I have been part of a team where every player shares the same goals and where a player can rely on the support of his team-mates.

"I have also worked with a manager who believed in me. It was the combination of all these factors."

Hyypia - End Boardroom Bust-up

Liverpool defender Sami Hyypia has called on co-owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks to end their boardroom bickering in order to allow the Reds to focus on success.

Gillett and Hicks - who took control at Anfield in February 2007 - suffered a much publicised difference of opinion last term, which saw Merseyside swamped in speculation about the future of the American duo.

Liverpool, who had been tipped to challenge for the Premier League, ended the last campaign without a trophy and failed to reach a cup final for the first time in manager Rafa Benitez's four-year reign.

And veteran centre-back Hyypia has demanded Gillett and Hicks settle their differences in the summer in order to allow Liverpool to land silverware.

"I think Liverpool fans and the club expect success in a season and we didn't win anything, so I can't be satisfied," Hyypia said in The People.

"With what has gone on off the pitch I think everyone is professional enough to just concentrate on doing what they do on it and not get too distracted.

"But it doesn't help the football club to be successful and hopefully soon they can get things sorted so we can push on.

"I don't know the whole truth but I know everything is not right with the owners."