Thursday, July 24, 2008

Gerrard: Barry Would Be Perfect For Liverpool

Gareth Barry is a “class act” and would enjoy the perfect partnership with Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard if his transfer to Anfeld is ever finally secured.

That is the view of the Liverpool captain’s cousin, Walsall defender Anthony Gerrard, who lined up opposite Barry on a night of a tense drama at the Banks’s Stadium on Tuesday night.

Villa fans booed and jeered their want-away former skipper for almost all of his hour-long appearance in the friendly following a turbulent summer of transfer rows and wrangles between Villa and Liverpool over the midfielder.

Liverpool-born Anthony is the younger cousin of Reds’ skipper Steve and himself a huge Liverpool fan and described Barry as a “quality player” after seeing him turn in an assured performance to help Villa secure a 3-2 victory over their League One neighbours.

The central defender - Walsall’s Player of the Season last year - believes Barry would be a huge asset to his home town club and said his man-of-the-match winning performance underlined just what a true professional Barry was when put under immense pressure by a crowd of some 2,200 travelling Villa fans.

Villa supporters are angry that their former skipper - who wants to leave to pursue his Champions League dream after ten years at Villa Park - publicly criticised manager Martin O’Neill in a newspaper article. Barry took a swipe at O’Neill because he felt his boss was too busy away commentating on the European Championships to deal with the transfer issue.

Anthony Gerrard said: “After seeing that performance it would seem that whatever is going on in Gareth Barry’s football life has not affected him on the pitch and that was evident in his performance against us.

"He showed he was a class act and a class above any of the other players. He is an absolute quality player and as a Liverpool fan, I believe he would be a great addition to the team.

“Gareth Barry is a credit to himself. He was as professional as always. He wants to better himself and play in the Champions League and fair play to him for that. Everyone wants to excel in their career and hopefully, if he moves to Liverpool, he can do that.

“I know Steve would like Gareth Barry to join him. They are good friends and they got on whenever they join up together with the England squad. I have no doubt at all that they would make a good partnership on the field.”

Barry’s run-out at the Banks’s Stadium ended when he was subsituted and disappeared in a waiting car without joining his Villa team-mates and manager Martin O’Neill who was watching the proceedings from the stands.

Villa won the game thanks to a brace from Shaun Maloney and a third from Wayne Routledge - cancelling out goals from Saddlers’ Alex Nicholls and triallist Patrick Suffo.

Maloney admitted afterwards that he hoped those goals would stake his claim for a place in O’Neill’s starting line-up for the visit of Odense BK to Villa Park in the second leg of the Intertoto Cup this weekend.

He said: “Hopefully I have shown the manager I am ready if the call comes against Odense on Saturday. Fingers crossed I can play a part.The boys played pretty well in patches against Odense last weekend so I think it will be difficult breaking into the starting line-up for the second leg.

“But I have done all I can now so hopefully I will be ready if the manager calls.”

Liverpool Sign Spanish Teenager

Liverpool have signed 18-year-old right-back Emmanuel Mendy on a free transfer from Spanish third division side Murcia Deportivo.

The Spanish teenager, who can also play at left-back, is expected to compete for a place in the reserve set-up overseen by Gary Ablett.

The Reds have made several youth signings over the summer.

Mendy joins Christopher Buchtmann, Nikola Saric, Zsolt Poloskei and Vincent Lucas Weijl at Anfield.

Manager Rafael Benitez has added Philipp Degen, Andrea Dossena and Diego Cavalieri to his senior squad.

Fernando Torres Will Have Prem Defences Quaking Says Dirk Kuyt

Fernando Torres will terrify Premier League defences again next season, claims his Liverpool team-mate Dirk Kuyt.

Torres bagged 33 goals in his debut campaign for the Reds before crowning his season by scoring the winning goal in the Euro 2008 Final for Spain.

And Kuyt claims no one in the Premier League will relish playing against the hitman when he is unleashed next month.

Torres returns to pre-season training tomorrow - along with his victorious Spanish team-mates - and Kuyt is backing him to score even more goals.

"He's only 24 and at that age he can only get better and better," said the Dutchman. "He showed that last season and he can only improve again.

"He knows that and the defenders know that as well. They will be afraid of him because of that. If he stays fit he can do even better than last season."

Kuyt has warned Torres he will be a marked man because of his stunning success last season, but he doesn't believe anyone will be able to contain him.

"I think Fernando already knows how difficult the Premier League can be, but he still did really well last year," he said.

"The only thing he has to be careful about is that people are starting to know him now. However, for a player like him, with his qualities, it's always going to be difficult for anybody to play against him.

"The most important thing is you always have to keep focused. There can always be a bad tackle coming in, but as long as you are focused and quick on your feet, you shouldn't get a bad injury."

Kuyt also praised Robbie Keane, who is set to join Liverpool in a £20million deal from Tottenham, and feels the Irishman will bring goals to the team.

Keane's arrival will push Kuyt further down the strikers' pecking order, but he insists his signing would greatly bolster Liverpool's attack.

Now Even Steven Gerrard's Cousin Is Telling Gareth Barry To Join Liverpool

Steven Gerrard's cousin has waded into the Gareth Barry row by advising the star not to go back on his plans to quit Aston Villa for Liverpool.

Walsall defender Anthony Gerrard faced Barry in Villa's 3-2 preseason friendly win at the Banks's Stadium on Tuesday where the midfielder was jeered by Villa fans.

But Gerrard reckons the flak Barry is getting will be worth it when he finally links up with England team-mate Steven at Anfield.

"I am a Liverpool fan and he would be a great addition," said ex-Everton trainee Gerrard, 22. "Gareth Barry was a class above against us.

"Whatever goes on in his football life, he does his talking on the pitch.

"Decisions on his future are down to him because he has aspirations of playing in the Champions League and Liverpool are there already. Everyone wants to excel in their career and hopefully he can do that.

"He would make a good partnership with Steven as they are friends from the England squad.

"And I have no doubts at all they would complement each other well in the centre of midfield."

Red Ajdarevic On Trial At NEC

Astrit Ajdarevic is likely to leave Anfield this summer, and as he begins a trial at NEC Nijmegen the Netherlands seem to be his most likely destination.

The Kosovo-born Swedish youth international arrived at Anfield in 2007 from Falkenbergs, but has yet to make a first team appearance for the Reds.

It seems likely that he will move on, having already completed a trial with Leeds United before heading to Nijmegen.

NEC technical director Carlos Aalbers seems pleased with what he's seen so far, describing Asrtit as an "inventive midfield player, who is both technically able and physically strong. Our priority may be a forward, but some opportunities can't be missed."
NEC coach Mario Been also welcomes AZ forward Gregory Nelson to the fold.

The 20-year-old arrives on trial from Alkmaar tomorrow in order to train ahead of friendlies against Hollandia, a Helderse selection, and Sparta Rotterdam.