Monday, October 13, 2008

Dossena Relishes Azzurri Role

Liverpool full-back Andrea Dossena has finally broke into the Nazionale and played the full 90 minutes in Sofia. He explains to Tuttomercatoweb how he ended up in England this summer.

The 27-year-old moved to Anfield over the summer after a breakthrough season at Udinese and was given the nod by Marcello Lippi to control the left channel in the World Cup qualifier with Bulgaria at the Levski Stadium, due to a spate of injuries that have hit the national side, including Lyon's left-back Fabio Grosso.

"I strongly want to keep my place in this squad and keep movng on," he told the website specialized in transfer gossips.

Dossena has met up with several former Udinese teammates at Coverciano, as Lippi opted to put trust in the Friulani attacking trident, with Fabio Quagliarella now also joining debutant Simone Pepe and diminutive marksman Antonio Di Natale for the Stadio Via Del Mare game with Montenegro next Wednesday.

"Pepe has improved a lot and he has lots of qualities," he enthused.

"As for Totò [Di Natale], we linked up well at the Stadio Friuli, I know what he will be trying to do before the ball even gets to him."

It was suggested that other Italian clubs were in the frame to land Dossena over the summer, such as Fiorentina, but he plumped for an experience abroad in the end.

"Liverpool are a prestigious club and I was willing to try my hand in England," he asserted.

"I don't really think the Viola approached my agent, and to tell you the truth, I am somewhat astounded that Italian sides did not make a move for me."

Reds Rubbish Stadium Rumours

Liverpool have dismissed rumours they have shelved plans to move to a new stadium and are looking to expand Anfield.

Reports had suggested the club's American owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett are struggling to raise the funds to finance a switch to a new ground in Stanley Park.

The Reds confess the New LFC Stadium has been affected by the current worldwide credit crunch, but a statement on the club's official website insists plans are still in place.

"The story is completely wrong" said a club spokesman.

"No-one has been asked to look at increasing the capacity of Anfield with a view to us staying at the present ground.

"Global market conditions may have delayed the project, but the club remains committed to building a new world class LFC stadium on the site in Stanley Park. Those plans have not changed."

Foreign Invasion Worries Carragher

Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher has gone public with his concern at the growing number of foreign players coming through the academy ranks of professional clubs, believing that it could be demoralising for the home-grown talent hoping to make their way in the game.

Over the last decade the number of overseas players plying their trade in England has rocketed, and with an increasing number of clubs in the Premier League currently owned by foreign investors, that figure could continue to grow.

At Liverpool, Steven Gerrard is the last English player to break into - and earn a regular place - within the first-team, and Carragher believes that the almost 10-year drought will continue should clubs fail to look to develop players themselves rather than cashing in on overseas clubs’ hard work.

This is a view shared by Uefa President Michel Platini, while the head of Fifa, Sepp Blatter, is another to concur with the belief that clubs should look to produce home-grown players rather than importing them.

"The foreign player issue has to be addressed. At all clubs,” Carragher told the Sunday Times. "Don't get me wrong, good foreigners are great for the Premier League but what worries me is when we get foreign kids in at 16, 17.

"There has to be something to stop that, to help clubs keep their identities. I think about when I was that age. If I'd been 18 and Liverpool had brought the Spain Under 18 captain into my position it would have been deflating.

"I always thank my stars I came in just as the foreign invasion was starting. I wasn't Stevie (Gerrard) at 18. I was a very good player and would have always had the mental strength to take my opportunity, but I wonder whether I'd have been given it.

"I don't know when the next Liverpool lad will break into our first-team and I don't think the academy system is what it should be."

The experienced defender also took the opportunity to reiterate his desire to see out his career at Anfield, insisting that he only has ambitions to play for his home-town club.

"For someone to ask, 'Who did you play for?' and to be able to answer a single name, 'Liverpool', that would be brilliant. I don't think I'll ever leave," he added.

Carragher also shed some light on manager Rafe Benitez’s man-management style, insisting that the harsh nature of his control is for the benefit of the team.

"Rafa is always on your back," the former England international continued.

"Some players can't handle that. Me, I don't like it but I'm the sort of person who responds.

"You've always got that thing in the back of your mind with Rafa, 'Does he actually think I'm any good?' You're always wanting to prove yourself. He hasn't got much good to say about anyone, Rafa. . . even other managers.

"He's the person who always thinks he knows best for you - and is usually right. There are times you want to tell him to . . . but later you think, 'That was good for me'."

Carragher: We're Not Hull, Benitez Is Turning Liverpool Into Baresi's Milan

Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher is surprised at the reaction to the Reds start to the Premiership campaign, with the player insisting that the Merseyside club should expect them to be where they are.

Rafa Benitez’s side are joint-top of the Premiership with Chelsea on 17 points after seven games, which is Liverpool’s best ever start to a Premier League season and has seen them talked about as genuine title contenders.

However, while Carragher is happy with Liverpool’s good start the former England International has claimed that the Reds should be there and they are not surprise package Hull City.

“People should stop saying we've made a great start, though,” Carragher said on the club’s official website.

“I'm thinking, 'We've only played seven games and we're Liverpool. Shouldn't we be up there? Am I missing something?' We're not Hull.

“If we're still up there in March we can talk about it, until then we'll focus on doing our best in every game. Actions speak louder than words.”

Far away from being compared to the Tigers, Carragher reveals that Benitez has taken the defence at Anfield to a new level and is trying to impose the style of Franco Baresi’s AC Milan.

“Rafa has taken defence to another level," he added.

“He goes into every detail, tiny little things like body positions, how to react when the opposition use different formations. Basically, he's trying to copy the AC Milan of Franco Baresi.

“He can change systems five times in a game. In Robbie Keane's first match he ended up on the left wing because Rafa noticed something about Lazio which made him want three in the middle – and that was just a friendly.”

Agger Scores As 12 Reds Feature

Daniel Agger scored a penalty as Denmark beat Malta 3-0 in their latest World Cup qualifier.

The 23-year-old, who was one of 12 Reds involved in international action on Saturday night, netted on 28 minutes during a 90 minute outing.

Israel skipper Yossi Benayoun also converted a penalty as they beat Luxembourg 3-1.

Elsewhere, both Fernando Torres and Xabi Alonso lasted the pace in Estonia as Spain prevailed 3-0. Albert Riera came on for the last 12 minutes.

Dirk Kuyt and Ryan Babel started as supporting wingers for Holland, who won 2-0 in Iceland. The latter was replaced after 69 minutes.

Steven Gerrard played all 90 minutes of England's 5-1 victory over Kazakhstan, while midfield partner Javier Mascherano did the same as Argentina beat Uruguay 2-1.

Andrea Dossena also lasted the pace after starting for Italy in Bulgaria. The left-back helped keep a clean sheet but the evening ended in a disappointing goalless draw.

Sami Hyypia played the entire game as Finland recorded a 1-0 win over Azerbaijan, while Nabil El Zhar was substituted after 80 minutes as Morocco thrashed Mauritania 4-1.

'Pool Target Already Unsettled Bentley?

According to reports, Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez is ready to raid Tottenham in January for David Bentley, a recent summer signing.

White Hart Lane was the place to be this summer, with several high-profile stars signing up for Juande Ramos' Lilywhites revolution.

Now, it's the place to leave after a shockingly poor start to a season which was supposed to end with Champions League football.

Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez, though, is hoping to profit from his countryman Ramos' misfortune. He found David Bentley's £15million price-tag excessive in the summer and allowed the ambitious winger to move from Blackburn to Spurs.

However, according to The People, Rafa believes Spurs will be forced to give him up for less in January, especially considering the 24-year-old's unhappiness at present.

Underperforming Bentley was axed from the latest England squad as Spurs languish in the Premiership drop-zone. The man touted as the 'new David Beckham' is far from living his dream, it would appear.

In fact, Bentley has blamed Ramos for his England snub and has admitted to feeling humiliated by Spurs' dismal early form.

It remains to be seen whether Bentley will cut his losses and seek an Anfield switch, or show some character by helping to dig the capital side out of their rut.