Friday, September 12, 2008

Liverpool Takeover: Sheikh Mohammed Ditches DIC To Make Solo Bid For Club

Sheikh Mohammed will step up his bid to buy Liverpool by using his own money to invest in the club.

The oil-rich Arab leader of Dubai has ditched DIC - the investment arm of his government - as the buy-out company he will use if he gets the chance to purchase the Anfield club from Americans Tom Hicks and George Gillett.

Instead, he will dip into his own wealth to get his hands on the Premier League outfit, with insiders suggesting that will allow him to invest far more money into Liverpool.

DIC's charter states the government company must "maximise long-term shareholder value", which in effect means it should turn over a big profit as soon as possible.

But the current financial climate wouldn't allow that with Liverpool, and instead the Arab billionaire is ready to sink his own money into the club to build a new stadium and invest heavily in the team.

Sheikh Mohammed wants to rival the Abu Dhabi owners of Manchester City, and now sees Liverpool less in terms of a pure investment. But despite being among the wealthiest men in the world, he still refuses to pay over the odds to the Americans.

The Mirror understands that Hicks and Gillett are prepared to sell, but only at £300million above the Arab's valuation of around £450million.

Arbeloa - Reds Must Defeat United

Liverpool defender Alvaro Arbeloa is eager to set the record straight against Manchester United on Saturday.

It is almost seven years since Liverpool defeated United in the league on Merseyside, meaning Arbeloa - who joined the Reds in January 2007 - has yet to take three points from the champions.

United have sneaked away victories in the last two seasons courtesy of goals from John O'Shea and Carlos Tevez, and Arbeloa is determined it will not be a repeat performance.

"That was a really bad experience at Anfield last season," the right-back told Liverpool's official website.

"I know how much of an important game it is for us and our supporters and we were all really disappointed. It is just as important for me as the supporters.

"I think this game is worth much more than three points. If we beat Manchester United at home we will have 10 points and much more confidence. But everyone will also be very, very happy."

Arbeloa's team-mate Fabio Aurelio also believes that Liverpool must learn from previous mistakes against United.

"If we remember the two games at home against them in the last two seasons we were better than them in my opinion," Aurelio added.

"We conceded a goal against them from a free-kick in the last minute and last season they scored from a corner. This shows that we have to concentrate at all times.

"We have to be 100 per cent on our game and try and show character. We need to show them how difficult it is to play at Anfield.

"Our fans will show that and we need to do it on the pitch. We need to try and change the history. In recent years it has been difficult against them but we have a great opportunity to change that on Saturday."

United Have Edged Us - Carragher

Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher admits Manchester United have been better than the Reds in recent derbies ahead of their home clash on Saturday.

The Reds have not beaten United in the Premier League since 2004.

Carragher, 30, told BBC Radio Merseyside: "I'm not a great believer in being lucky or unlucky. I'm a big believer in 'you get what you deserve'.

"United over the last few years have probably edged it with us and small details in football make a difference."

The former England international added: "That's why they've been better than us and that's something we need to liven up.

"It's a massive game, United and Everton are the ones you look for when the fixture list comes out.

"Hopefully we can get the three points and that will give us a bit of confidence for the season ahead."

Manchester United have won three of the last four league meetings between the two sides on Merseyside by a single goal, with the other game since Rafael Benitez's arrival as manage a goalless draw.

'Andrea Dossena Can Bring International Class To Reds'

RAFA BENITEZ believes it is only a matter of time before Andrea Dossena shows the form which made him one of Liverpool’s top targets in the summer.

Dossena has endured a difficult start to his Anfield career since joining from Udinese in a £6m deal in July.

But his teething problems did not stop Italian national team manager Marcello Lippi from selecting the left back – who turns 27 today – for last night’s 2-0 win over Georgia in a World Cup qualifier in Rome.

Dossena was one of Italy’s star performers on the night and now Benitez is backing him to take that form into forthcoming games for Liverpool.

“It is good for Dossena to play for his national team because it will give him more confidence,” said the Reds boss.

“We are happy with him because we know that he is a good player and he is working hard but we also know that he can get better.

“He has done okay so far and he performed well in our last game at Aston Villa, but there is still more to come. It is not easy to come to a new country to play for a new club and to get used to their system, but Dossena is keen to learn and he will get better with more games and more time.”

Carragher Hits Out At Reds Owners

Jamie Carragher has launched a scathing attack on Liverpool owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett, saying he has been sickened by their broken promises and profiteering.

Writing in his autobiography, Carragher accuses the Americans of buying the club solely to make a profit and says he is unhappy they have failed to keep their promises of building a new stadium and pledging money for transfers.

"For richer or poorer, we'd sold Liverpool to two ruthless businessmen who saw us as a money-making opportunity," Carragher writes in Carra: My Autobiography.

"They didn't buy Liverpool as an act of charity; they weren't intent on throwing away all the millions they'd earned over 50 years...They wanted to buy us because the planned stadium offered a chance to generate tons of cash and increase the value of the club.

"Think how many world-class players that £200million could have brought to the club. Instead if Gillett and Hicks did sell, they or their banks would make a huge profit.

"I felt ill thinking about it."

Carragher said the owners' worst mistake was claiming no debt would be put on the club's balance sheet - but the loans used to buy the club created annual interest payments of around £30m.

"Breaking this vow set the first alarm bells ringing, the embarrassing continual changing of the stadium plans was irritating too," added Carragher.

But the long-serving defender also had sympathy for the pair, saying Reds boss Rafa Benitez must take some of the blame for the turmoil that surrounded the club last season for publicly undermining the owners.

Following the 2007 Champions League final defeat to Milan, Benitez called on the Americans to invest more on strengthening the team and Carragher claims the Spaniard's outburst was the root of the infighting last term.

"These words sparked a chain reaction that brought problems into the open, almost cost (Benitez) his job a couple of months later, riled Liverpool's owners into an ill-fated meeting with Jurgen Klinsmann, and ended Hicks' and Gillett's honeymoon with The Kop," noted Carragher.

"I understood why the owners were unhappy with him too. They'd been undermined by Rafa and now they were undermining him.

"It was a political rather than football battle, and although the fans wanted to see it in black and white terms, with the owners the bad guys and Rafa their hero, I saw far more shades of grey."

Kuyt's Liverpool Bombshell

Liverpool's Dutch forward Dirk Kuyt has made an astonishing admission - that he would love to leave Liverpool later on in his career in order to link up with fellow national Martin Jol at Hamburg.

Dirk Kuyt currently has two years left on his Liverpool contract but has conceded that he in 2010 he is open to a move to Hamburg to be coached by Martin Jol - a manager he rates very highly.

Kuyt is quoted by Sportsweek as saying: "Martin Jol is one of the best Dutch coaches, someone who I want to work with possibly in the future."

He continued: "I am happy at Liverpool... Hamburg is, of course, not a small club, but it cannot be compared with Liverpool. My contract still has two more years to run."

Dirk Kuyt was believed to be on the transfer list over the summer in order for Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez to raise finances in order to secure number one target Gareth Barry.