Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Liverpool FC's Insua Calls For Strong Finish

Emiliano Insua has called on Liverpool to finish the season on a high in order to set themselves up for a renewed assault on the Premier League title in the next campaign.

Though everyone at Anfield remains hugely disappointed at being unable to overhaul Manchester United in the race for the title, Insua insists no-one is feeling sorry for themselves and believes there is a steely resolve to go one better next time around.

The Argentinian left back is now looking to sign off in style with a home win against Tottenham on Sunday in the knowledge that another victory would stretch their unbeaten league run to an 11th game.

“Everybody wants to win the title, but it wasn’t to be for us this year because Man United have won it and this is football,” said Insua.

“This means that we have to look at ways that we can improve and hopefully next season will be even better than this one.

“We cannot be feeling sorry for ourselves because we still have one more game to go and if we win it we will have 86 points, which will be a record for us in the Premier League.

“The fans will also be wanting us to win and we have to try to do that.”

He added: “We have pushed United very hard but in the end it just wasn’t enough.”

Stewart Downing Looks Set Out On Big-Money Move To Liverpool Or Spurs

Devastated Stewart Downing could miss out on his dream £12million switch to Liverpool or Spurs after suffering a broken foot.

The England winger will have an operation on Friday to repair the break, sustained against Aston Villa last Saturday, that will keep him out until August at least and with little time to get fit ahead of a big-money transfer.

But if Downing suffers complications it is feared he will be missing for up to six months, meaning he will have to regain his fitness in the Championship if Boro get relegated.

Boss Gareth Southgate revealed defender David Wheater needs knee surgery and has been pulled out of England Under-21 duty at the European Championship finals in Sweden.

Southgate said: "David will need surgery so he'll miss the U21s championship.

"If you're going away with the full international team it's a fantastic honour but I'm not convinced on levels below the full team it's as worthwhile.

"You look at someone like Agbonlahor who's had a season that's gone from Villa's European campaign in August and he's being asked to play until the end of June."

Juventus Ponder Fresh Bid For Liverpool Ace Xabi Alonso

Juventus appear set to make a move for Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alonso once again this summer.

The Old Lady seemed on the verge of signing the midfielder last summer but the move eventually collapsed and the Bianconeri plumped for Danish international Christian Poulsen amid widespread protests from fans.

But the Corriere dello Sport claims the Corso Galileo Ferraris powers that be are again flirting with the idea of luring the Spanish international away from Anfield, even though the 27-year-old has stated his desire to stay on Merseyside.

However, Spanish giants Real Madrid are also believed to be interested in the player, who was valued by the Reds at around €20 million last summer.

Should Juve fail to land Alonso, the Turin club might turn to Gaetano D’Agostino, who has impressed at Udinese in a playmaker role over the past two seasons.

The 26-year-old Italian international, who is considered the heir to Andrea Pirlo in Italy, would be available for €12m-13m and, unlike Liverpool, Udinese would accept players in part-exchange deals.

D’Agostino has also given a great contribution in front of goal this term, netting ten in 34 league appearances for the Zebrette.

£50m Tevez Bid Stuns Tottenham

Tottenham were reeling last night after being told Liverpool are willing to shell out £50million for Carlos Tevez.

The Spurs board sanctioned an £18m move for the Argentina striker, whose loan at Manchester United ends this summer.

But they were blown away when the Tevez camp revealed Liverpool are ready to offer the £26m asking fee and a staggering £160,000-a-week three-year deal — worth £8.3m-a-year.

United insist they still want to cut a deal with Tevez, who is loaned to them by his owner Kia Joorabchian.

Although they are refusing to pay Joorabchian’s current asking price, United would be sickened if he switched to bitter rivals Liverpool — a move which would also infuriate Old Trafford fans.

But unsettled striker Tevez, 25, revealed in SunSport last week that he would join Liverpool if they made a bid.

A source close to the deal told SunSport: “It seems amazing that Liverpool have the money to do this when you consider their owners are looking for funds.

“But Spurs were told that Liverpool were going to get the deal done and that Tevez was very happy about it.”

Tevez’s Argentine pal Javier Mascherano moved to Liverpool after a Joorabchian deal.

Liverpool Captain Steven Gerrard Makes Lucas Leiva Plea

Rafa Benitez is reportedly planning an overhaul during the summer months, and with Lucas Leiva amongst the candidates set for the axe, Steven Gerrard has stepped forward to give the young Brazilian his dues.

Despite some negative criticism from Reds fans after a few suspect performances throughout the season, Gerrard believes that, if given the proper chance, Lucas will become an Anfield great.

"Lucas has had criticism and for me it's been unfair," said Gerrard, according to

"He's a young lad learning his trade and he's certainly got a bright future.

"He does a lot of work that goes unnoticed in this team. He's come into some big games when the manager has said 'sink or swim'.

"He swam, very well, and he's done really well for us."

Rafa Wary Of Transfer Mistakes

Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez has admitted he needs to be 'almost perfect' with his recruitment this summer.

The Reds have narrowly missed out on top spot this season after pushing Manchester United in the Premier League title race.

Benitez hopes his men can finish above the Red Devils next term but accepts that he will have to bolster his squad during the transfer window.

The Spaniard also believes that he does not have as much money at his disposal as Sir Alex Ferguson and must therefore make sure he does not make any mistakes.

"If we spend big money on one player and he's not successful for us, it's worse for us that it is for United," Benitez said.

"If they make one or two mistakes, because of the difference in money between us, they can spend £40-50million on players.

"We know that we have to be almost perfect in everything we do."

Benitez believes the key to United's success has been their strength in depth but he is looking to redress the balance ahead of the 2009/10 campaign.

He said: "If you have more money you can sign players with more quality, like United have. It doesn't matter if they play Rooney, Ronaldo, Berbatov, Tevez or Ronaldo.

"They can play with two and rest two but keep the same level, while we have been talking of what it would have been like if we'd had Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres for the whole season.

"We have good players in the squad but the experience of fighting for titles and the quality of players makes a difference.

"Some times that means money, and it is easier if you have it."

Stadium Delays Alarm Benitez

Liverpool face the prospect of missing out on tens of millions of pounds in revenue, vital to their pursuit of Manchester United, by missing two vital deadlines for the construction of their new stadium, which is the cornerstone of the club's growth.

Club sources have confirmed that they are interested in discussing with Carlsberg the idea of naming rights for the new Stanley Park stadium which, as The Independent revealed last week, the Danish brewer wants to pursue when its sponsorship deal comes up for detailed discussion in July. But there is frustration in some quarters at Anfield that financial uncertainty over the proposed stadium, which Hicks and Gillett promised to build when they bought Liverpool in February 2007, will mean the club missing out on the estimated £10m such a deal could bring.

Two days after manager Rafael Benitez publicly warned Hicks and Gillett that they will struggle to compete for the Premier League title until the new stadium is built, it has emerged that they have six months to get financing for the stadium in place if they wish it to be submitted as a prospective 2018 World Cup venue. The FA will only consider new stadiums for which detailed financial plans and construction proposals are in place by November. Credibility is everything for the FA, ahead of the Fifa inspection visit which will take place in October 2010 and the prospect of "too many artists impressions", as one FA source put it yesterday, is seen as a factor which could fatally undermine England's bid.

Liverpool's council leader Warren Bradley, whose organisation will decide which stadiums to put forward as part of Liverpool's host city bid, yesterday warned Liverpool they have until December to resolve their stadium issues or risk missing out on hosting the World Cup. Though Anfield could be put forward, Everton could conceivably be awarded 2018 status at Liverpool's expense if their proposed new 55,000-seat stadium in Kirkby gets the go-ahead. A planning inspector is currently considering the outcome of a public inquiry into Everton's plans and communities secretary Hazel Blears is expected to rule by the autumn on whether that stadium will get the go-ahead.

Despite the new-found displays of harmony between Hicks and Gillett, neither individual has the money to kick-start plans for Anfield's 60,000-seat replacement, which were put on hold when the credit crunch bit.

"On an economic level we cannot fight with the other big teams, at least for now, in particular because of the stadium," Benitez said. "Old Trafford has 76,000 seats, Emirates has 60,000, Chelsea can count on Abramovich. Until we have a new stadium, we will not be able to compete economically. In the meantime we'll have to do things very well to be competitive." Hicks and Gillett say financing the project had been made more difficult due to the global financial crisis. Liverpool's owners must also refinance a bank loan of around £350m by July.

Bradley wants to see Liverpool and Everton ground-sharing, an idea which sports minister Gerry Sutcliffe is also believed to support.