Monday, June 01, 2009

Fowler: Next Title Will Be Liverpool's

Robbie Fowler accepts Manchester United deserved to equal Liverpool's record of 18 league titles, but the former Kop hero is hoping Rafael Benitez's side will be able to go one better next season.

While disappointed to see United draw level courtesy of this season's Premier League title, Fowler admits it was nothing less than United deserved.

"It kills you to admit that but obviously Manchester United have a very good team and I think that what they've achieved has been fantastic," Fowler SAID.

"Hopefully Liverpool can get that one league title ahead of them next year. That's what I'm hoping anyway."

Liverpool have failed to land a league title since 1990 but Fowler is confident the long drought could soon come to an end.

"I think they surprised a few people. They were better this year than they've ever been in the Premier League," he added.

"I've mentioned it before that some of the silly points that they dropped at home against the so-called weaker teams...if they could turn those draws into wins, we could be talking here now of Liverpool as champions.

"The reason that Manchester United are champions is that they don't draw those games, they win them. If Liverpool can put that right, and I can definitely see them doing that, then I think that next year will be Liverpool's year."

But while he remains passionate about his former club, Fowler expects to be watching them from afar after signing a two-year deal with Australian side North Queensland Fury.

After leaving Blackburn last December, Fowler listened to a number of offers before deciding on the A-League newcomers, who are based in the tropical outpost of Townsville.

"I'd left Blackburn and I got the call from the North Queensland manager (Ian Ferguson) asking if I would be interested," explained the 34-year-old Fowler, who is in Singapore for North Queensland's friendly match against S-League side Tampines Rovers on Sunday.

"I went over and I was very impressed with what the manager and chairman had to say. I went around the place and really liked it and I was really keen to sign the contract."

Fowler has been designated as the club's 'marquee' player - meaning his wages are excluded from the salary cap imposed on the club - but the former England international insists he wants no special treatment.

"The marquee is just a title," he added. "I'm going to be treated just the same as every other player and I'll go into the season wanting to do as well as I can.

"I wouldn't be treated any differently and I wouldn't expect to be treated differently.

"I'm not going to go on about being the big marquee player because I don't want to invite any extra pressure on myself.

"There might be a little bit of added pressure but I think I can handle it."

Liverpool FC Must Go For Quality Not Quantity

When you look at what is needed at Anfield this summer in the transfer market then the emphasis must definitely be on quality rather than quantity.

Rafa Benitez has put together a really strong team and there aren’t too many gaps to be filled.

The name that keeps on being mentioned is Gareth Barry and for me he would be an excellent acquisition because he has got so many qualities.

Not only is Barry a proven international, he is also versatile and can fill a number of positions well, he has a good character and he is English.

All in all, you would have to say that he is exactly the kind of player that Liverpool need to be bringing in and after a proposed deal broke down last summer hopefully he will finally make the move to Anfield this time around.

There is a lot of speculation about Xabi Alonso and like most Liverpool supporters I really don’t want to see him leave.

If you are going to challenge for the title then you have to build on the quality that you already have and Alonso undoubtedly falls into the category.

One of the problems Benitez will have is encouraging top class players who play week in week out for their current clubs to come to Anfield and become part of a squad where that isn’t always possible.

Players want to play all the time, that’s just the way they are and if you are trying to bring in a top class forward he is bound to look at Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard and wonder how much playing time he will get.

But the big selling point at Rafa’s disposal is that it is Liverpool Football Club and it is also a club that is going places.

This is why he can go after the top players who are available and hopefully he will have the finances to do so.

In an ideal world the two players I would love to see brought in are Franck Ribery and Karim Benzema.

They would both cost a lot of money but they undoubtedly have the kind of quality that Liverpool are looking for and they would give us greater strength in depth in attack and on the wings than we have had for quite some time.

But time will tell. I’m just hoping that when the new season kicks off in August that Liverpool have made the kind of quality signings that could make all the difference.

Fabregas Wants Liverpool Star Alonso To Form Spanish Midfield Pairing At Arsenal

Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas has urged Arsene Wenger to sign Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alonso this summer.

The north London club expressed an interest in the Spain international last summer when it appeared his services were no longer required at Anfield.

A deal never materialised and Alonso stayed on Merseyside before enjoying his best season with the club.

But, his future is once again in doubt with Liverpool renewing their interest in Aston Villa's Gareth Barry and Arsenal could make a move for the classy midfielder.

And Fabregas believes his fellow countryman would be an ideal singing for Arsenal as they bid to close the gap on the top three.

'We need someone in the middle to make competition and make a difference, plus give us a new dimension,' said Fabregas.

'I think that is all we need. The rest is perfect.

'Xabi (Alonso) would be great. He's experienced and can score goals. I'm sure the boss is aware of that fact.'

Liverpool 'Accept' Real Madrid's £22m Xabi Alonso Bid With Gabriel Heinze Set For Anfield

Xabi Alonso has agreed a £22million move to Real Madrid in a deal that could see Gabriel Heinze move to Liverpool, according to reports in Spain.

Forget Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka or Franck Ribery, Alonso will be the first 'Galactico' of Florentino Perez's second stint as Bernabeu president, according to Spanish newspaper Sport.

Perez is set to re-take his job as early as Monday - two weeks ahead of planned elections - after none of the other prospective presidential candidates was able to stump up the cash guarantee required.

The 62-year-old is only likely to sign one from the trio of Manchester United star Ronaldo, AC Milan's brilliant Brazilian Kaka or Bayern Munich's Franck Ribery.

But he has reportedly already reached an agreement for Spain midfielder Alonso. The paper says the Anfield star had agreed to a deal in principle weeks ago and that Liverpool accepted an offer on Friday.

But there remain a few variables to sort out. Former Manchester United defender Gabriel Heinze could go the other way in part-exchange, with Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez a long-term admirer of the Argentina international.

Benitez is also said to be keen on striker Alvaro Negredo. Madrid sold the 23-year-old to Almeria but have a buy-back option and Liverpool are said to have wanted him as part of the Alonso deal.

However, the £13m price-tag quoted is too much for Liverpool as they would prefer the cash to target Aston Villa midfielder Gareth Barry.

Rafael Benitez Claims No Real Madrid Deal For Xabi Alonso

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has rejected all claims that the club have reached an agreement with Real Madrid to sell Xabi Alonso.

The news comes after Sport revealed, this morning, that a deal worth €25 million was set to go through.

The midfielder has long been linked with a move to the Spanish giants, but Benitez has stated that he does not want to sell the international.

Speaking to Liverpool's official website, Benitez said, "The situation is clear, we do not want to sell our best players and that includes Xabi.

"He had a very good season for us and can be an important player in the future. There is no agreement with Real and we want him to be part of our plans going forward.

"Xabi himself told our club magazine, only two weeks ago, that he was looking forward to his sixth season as a Liverpool player. Why should he want to leave now?

"Xabi's agent came to see me recently to talk about the future. It was a surprise for me and I pointed out to him there were three years left on Xabi's contract.

"I asked him if the player was happy in Liverpool and he said yes. It was a short meeting."

The 27-year-old has been at the club since 2004 and has made 143 Premier League appearances, scoring 14 goals.

Lavezzi Ready To Snub Reds

Argentina striker Ezequiel Lavezzi wants to remain at Napoli despite reported interest from Liverpool.

Lavezzi, who joined the Naples-based side in the summer of 2007, has scored seven goals for the Serie A club this season.

"Liverpool's offer? I want to stay at Napoli," said Lavezzi.

"I hope everything will be made clear but it depends on the club not on me.

"I reiterate that my wish is to remain at Napoli."

The 24-year-old is under contract with Napoli until June 2012.

Napoli failed to qualify for European football next season having finished a disappointing 12th in Italy's top flight.

Fernando Torres: Premier League Is Still Toughest In The World

Liverpool striker Fernando Torres has stated that the Premier League is still the most competitive league in the world.

Premier League champions Manchester United were beaten in the Champions League final by Spanish Primera Division champions Barcelona on Wednesday, leading many to question the dominance of the English league.

However, Torres feels England's top flight is the world's toughest league, with all clubs capable of beating each other.

The former Atletico Madrid player has also stated that since his move from his homeland, he has developed as a player, and feels the Premier League has had a lot to do with that.

The Spain international believes that players in Britain are becoming stronger, and feels that more players are moving to England.

Speaking to Liverpool's official website, Torres said, "It is difficult to say which league is better, but the Premier League is more competitive because the British are becoming stronger and players are coming to England."

The 25-year-old also said that the English league has greatly improved him as a player.

"I have improved a lot," he continued. "I managed to score more goals than any other foreigner in his first year in the Premier League and was third in the Golden Ball."

Torres moved to Anfield in 2007, and has since made 83 appearances for the club, scoring 50 goals.