Friday, May 08, 2009

Liverpool Will Fight Until The End - Albert Riera

Albert Riera does not want to give up on Liverpool winning the title while they still have a chance as he is keen to end his first season on Merseyside with a trophy.

The 27-year-old Spanish international winger has become an Anfield favourite since joining the club last summer from Espanyol and he wants to help write a new chapter for the club.

Talk of what could happen next season has dismayed Riera as he still believes that Rafa Benitez's team can overhaul Manchester United in the last few games of the season.

"I've heard some people talk about next season already," Liverpool's official website quote him as saying.

"I know you have to plan for the future in football but there are still three games to go for us and we are going to fight right until the end.

"Over the past few months we have proved that we are up for this challenge with Manchester United.

"If they get nervous or slip up we have to take advantage – that could happen, football is a strange game."

Alonso Out Of Hammers Clash

Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alonso has been ruled out of Saturday's Barclays Premier League trip to West Ham.

The Spain star suffered severe bruising in the tackle that brought Joey Barton a red card - and subsequently censure from his manager Alan Shearer - in last weekend's 3-0 win over Newcastle.

Manager Rafael Benitez has better news elsewhere, with Fernando Torres (hamstring) and Javier Mascherano (ankle) both fit to travel to Upton Park.

"Xabi is not fit and cannot play," Benitez said.

"We think maybe in the next week he will be okay. We had an idea that he could be fit for this game but in the end it was impossible.

"Javier was training and is in the squad, and so is Fernando."

Liverpool's Rafael Benitez Insists Javier Mascherano Is Going Nowhere

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez is adamant Javier Mascherano will remain at Anfield this summer despite the Argentine's recent comments suggesting he would consider a move away from the club.

"When you have four or five top clubs asking about you, you don't want to say no because you know in football that everything can change. So from a player's point of view, and especially from the agent's, they try to keep the doors open for everyone.

"But does he want to leave? I don't think so. He knows the best option for him at this moment is this club. In three years' time you never know, but now he knows this is the best option."

Barcelona and Real Madrid are understood to be the two clubs leading the charge on trying to swipe Mascherano from Liverpool. But having breathed life back into his career when he signed the Argentina captain from West Ham 15 months ago, it seems Benitez is not ready to let his midfielder go.

Real have also made clear their liking for Xabi Alonso, who this time last year Benitez was trying to sell in order to fund the deal that never happened for Gareth Barry.

Despite the Spanish giants interest however, Benitez has made is abundantly clear to any potential suitors that they are wasting their time chasing his key players.

Insisting his prize assets are going nowhere, Benitez added: "We want to keep all our key players here, so it is the same story with Xabi."

Javier Mascherano Rapped Over Liverpool Contract Talk

Rafa Benitez has read the riot act to Javier Mascherano - and warned the midfielder he won't be quitting Liverpool.

The Argentinian dismayed Anfield fans last week when he revealed that, even though he is happy with the club, he does not know if he will be there next season.

Benitez immediately gave Mascherano a serious dressing down - and a hard word about his contract, which has three years to run.

Benitez admitted: "I talked to him and he is happy here. But you can't stop clubs talking with his agent because he is a good player.

"There aren't too many holding midfielders of his calibre."

Jakub Blaszczykowski: Liverpool To Finally Sign £7M Bundesliga Wing Sensation

Reports in both Poland and Germany suggest Liverpool will launch a fresh £7m bid for Borussia Dortmund winger Jakub Blaszczykowski in the summer after the star has made an impressive return to fitness following a long injury lay-off.

He has been on Rafa Benitez’s radar for a while but after an impressive end to the Bundesliga season, Liverpool look set to finally get their man.

Though the 23-year-old Polish international is relatively unknown of in this country, he is highly-rated in Europe and would finally add balance and competiiton to the right-side of midfield without sacrificing the team’s work ethic.

Blaszczykowski is an attacking right winger and would finally provide expertise in that position to a Reds side that has been using Dutch forward Dirk Kuyt in that role to good effect this season.

The Anfield giants Premier League hopes have faltered in recent weeks but they still have an extremely strong spine to their team but have been criticised for sometimes lacking the width and guile that Manchester United possess.

However, Albert Riera’s summer arrival and the increasing interest in Blaszczykowski suggests that the width and dribbling ability the team has been crying out for will be in place this summer.

Rafa is also reported to be interested in Bordeaux’s on loan midfield star Yoann Gourcuff who would cost more but would add flexibility as he can also play on the left and in the role currently held by Steven Gerrard.

Forest To Keep Anderson?

Paul Anderson is the latest in a long line of promising youngsters that's being linked with a permanent move away from Liverpool.

The talented winger has spent a successful, even it has been injury troubled, loan with Nottingham Forest this season and is reporting that Billy Davies wants him, and other loan stars, on a permanent basis.

The 20 year old is another one of those that was expected to break through next season, and plenty with connections to the Reds had tipped the winger to do so, but we might be preparing to allow another youngster to slip away, something we seem to be doing more and more!

Negredo Wants Starting Berth

Almeria striker Alvaro Negredo insists he will only move on to a club who can guarantee him regular first-team football.

Real Madrid, Liverpool and Valencia have all been linked with summer swoops for the highly-rated 23-year-old.

Negredo left Santiago Bernabeu for the Andalusian outfit in 2007, but he is widely expected to be on the move again at the end of this season, in which he has bagged 19 La Liga goals.

Negredo would welcome a return to the Spanish capital, but not to watch the action from the bench, while he voiced similar concerns over a mooted switch to Anfield.

Cash-strapped Valencia are another possible destination should they be in the market for a replacement for the sought-after David Villa, who is set to be sold in a bid to help balance the books.

"They are three great teams, but my first option is Madrid," said Negredo.

"If I'm going to be the fifth striker at Madrid, the option of returning will be ruled out. I have to think long and hard because my future depends on this. What I want to do now is to play, to have minutes."

Negredo also insists that will be his thought process before joining any club this summer, be it Madrid, Liverpool or Valencia.

"If I'm going to go to Liverpool and they make another signing, on top of Fernando Torres and the current strikers they have, it's perhaps not best for me to go there," Negredo said on Spanish radio station Cadena Ser.

On Valencia, he added: "The possibility that Villa is going to leave could make Valencia the best destination for me, but it's clear that if Madrid sell players then my first option is them."

Liverpool To Challenge Juventus For Napoli Ace Ezequiel Lavezzi

Press reports this week have claimed that Juventus have been in talks with Napoli striker Ezequiel Lavezzi over a summer move to Turin. Today’s Corriere dello Sport alleges that the Old Lady could face competition from Premier League giants Liverpool.

It is suggested that Reds coach Rafael Benitez is ready to bid up to €25 million to take ‘El Pocho’ to Anfield, where he could form a fearsome partnership with Spanish international Fernando Torres.

Yesterday, Lavezzi’s agent insisted that his client was happy in Naples, but he made it clear that the player is dreaming of featuring in the Champions League in the near future. In addition, he alleged that the Partenopei could opt to sell him to a foreign club to avoid strengthening one of their Serie A rivals.

However, Napoli’s director of sport, Pierpaolo Marino, reiterated yesterday afternoon that the club has no intention of parting company with either Lavezzi or Slovak international Marek Hamsik.