Sunday, June 07, 2009

Liverpool Are On The Verge Of Something Special – Fernando Torres

Liverpool striker Fernando Torres has insisted that his side are on the brink of “something special” and claims that here is no club in the world he would rather play for.

The Spaniard, who has recently signed a new deal with the Reds, told the News of the World that he was expecting to win plenty of trophies at Anfield.

“I believe we are on the verge of something special here and I am delighted to commit my future to this club,” explained the striker.

“You would not get top players signing new contracts if they did not think there were good times ahead. I expect many trophies for Liverpool in the years to come.”

Rafael Benitez’s side ended the season empty-handed but finished second in the Premier League to Manchester United, and Torres admitted he expected his side to do even better next season.

“We came very close this season and next season, with the experience we now have, we know we can go one better,” he said.

“Manchester United are very strong but we will improve and will have more about us next year.”

Despite suffering an injury-plagued campaign, Torres still managed 14 league goals and he admitted that if he had played more games, the season could have ended quite differently.

"We were unlucky with injuries this season. I am not making excuses but things could have been different. The manager is building and I expect many trophies for Liverpool in the years to come,” he added.

"Winning Euro 2008 with Spain was amazing and it made me understand how good the feeling of winning is. It has made me even hungrier for FA Cups, Premier League titles, European Cups - I want them all. And I want to win them all with Liverpool.”

Daniel Agger Aims For Best Form With Liverpool

Liverpool centre-back Daniel Agger is targetting a return to his best form after only making 25 appearances over the course of last season due to an ongoing metatarsal injury.

During the 07-08 season, the Dane only managed to feature twice due to problem, and despite having featured more in the following campaign, the defender concedes that it is still looking to reach his best.

"I don't think that the season has been optimal," he told Danish paper Jyllands-Posten.

"Of course, if you run into stupid injuries you will find it hard to get to the level that you need.

"But it is not satisfactory, when the breaks keep on coming and you don't reach the level you should.

"No, this season has hardly been optimal from my point of view."

Agger's statement of intent will please fans of the 24-year-old further, as he recently ended speculation surrounding a move away from Anfield by penning a new five-year deal under the tutelage of Rafa Benitez.

Agger also featured in Denmark's somewhat surprising 1-0 win over Sweden, who had the advantage of Inter striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic spearheading their attacking force.

Atletico Madrid Ask Liverpool About Benayoun And Arbeloa

Atletico Madrid are seeking to bolster their squad for next season's campaign by recruiting two of Liverpool's stars.

Having qualified for the Champions League, Atletico are keen to strengthen their squad, and they have turned their attention to Liverpool, a club with whom they share good relations, following the sale of Fernando Torres.

According to AS, Atletico are keen to snap up both Yossi Benayoun and Alvaro Arbeloa. Benayoun already has extensive experience of Spanish football, having spent three seasons at Racing Santander.

Arbeloa, of course, has also played in Spain before, although he has only made 22 appearances in the top flight, 20 of those with Deportivo. He is yet to renew his contract, which expires in 2010, so Liverpool may be tempted to sell, rather than seeing him leave for free next summer.

Benayoun, meanwhile, has recently stated his desire to remain at Anfield, despite earlier in the season expressing reservations over a lack of playing time.

If the deal does go through, it could raise the intriguing possibility of the pair playing against Liverpool in the Champions League.

We Can Spend More Than Manchester United, Insist Liverpool

Liverpool have moved to quash claims that they are in financial difficulties, by insisting they can outspend any other team, apart from Chelsea.

The Sunday Times quotes a ‘senior Liverpool source’ as stating that the club have plenty of spare cash available and may well spend big this summer.

The paper’s source insists that Rafael Benitez’s side “have more spare cash to spend than any club except Chelsea”.

It also goes on to state that the transfer budget available at Anfield is at least £20 million and that Benitez will be allowed to spend more than this should he “make a convincing case”.

Of course, this contradicts recent reports surrounding the Reds which have suggested that finance is an issue at Anfield and that Benitez must sell before he can buy.

As such, several players have been linked with a move away from the club, including Xabi Alonso, Ryan Babel and Andrea Dossena.

Yet the Sunday Times suggests this may not now be the case and that Liverpool are able to financially outmuscle both Arsenal and Manchester United in the transfer market.

It also concludes that the club have the utmost respect for manager Benitez and believe he is “an amazing guy who knows he has a healthy transfer budget to augment one of the world’s strongest squads”.

Liverpool's Martin Skrtel Looking Forward To Summer

Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel has stated that he is looking forward to the chance of a rest over the summer months before the Premier League restarts in August.

The 24-year-old will play his last game of the 2008/2009 season when Slovakia meet San Marino in a World Cup qualifier on Saturday, and the Reds central defender has said he is pleased at the chance of a rest.

The Slovakia international made 30 appearances last season for the Reds, despite three months on the sidelines following knee ligament damage.

The former Zenit St. Petersburg defender has said he has enjoyed his first full season in the Premier League, and is now looking forward to some hard earned rest.

Speaking to, Skrtel said, "I have enjoyed this year - my first full year in England.

"A lot of things have been good for me, though I did injure my knee and didn't play for three months. That was not a good period for me but overall it's been a good year.

"I am looking forward to the break. This season has been very long - 11 months. It was my first full season, so I'm looking forward to a holiday and I'll enjoy it.

"I have one international to play and after that I'll see what I'll do."

The Reds defender has been at Anfield since joining from the Russian Premier League last year, and has made 35 league appearances for the club, without scoring.

McMahon Accepts Anfield Offer

John McMahon is to leave his coaching role at Shrewsbury and join Liverpool as reserve-team coach.

McMahon joined Shrewsbury from Tranmere in 2005, but admits the lure of a move to Merseyside was too great.

He is now looking forward to working with manager Rafa Benitez as the Reds chase the Premier League title.

"If any Premier League club comes knocking at your door it is something that you have to consider and with it being Liverpool it was a job that I couldn't refuse," he told the club's official website.

"To work with a manager of the quality of Rafa Benitez and an assistant manager like Sammy Lee is brilliant and it's a place where I can continue to learn and develop as a coach and hopefully give them something back.

"Ultimately I would have liked to have left the club with them being promoted but it wasn't the case.

"I've really enjoyed my time with Shrewsbury and the chairman, manager, the staff, players and spectators have been fantastic to me."

Rafa Benitez Wields Axe

Liverpool are facing a legal backlash after dismissing an incredible 16 backroom staff as part of the increasingly bloody Anfield Rafalution.

The club sacked 10 Academy staff last week and another six long-serving employees left in the last few days.

Distressed former employees with well over 150 years service between them argue they've been given no valid reason for the termination of contracts and are unhappy with the club's first offers for pay-off packages.

Liverpool are now braced for a series of courtroom challenges to the decision, with most of those sacked preparing unfair dismissal claims.

The Merseyside club face massive compensation bills and that's come at the worst possible time for owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett given their perilous financial situation.

Liverpool argue most of the dismissals are a series of cost-cutting measures overseen by new finance director Philip Nash, particularly at Academy level, with the club trying to reduce staff expenses by up to as much as £2million a year.

Benitez plans to replace some of them by adding to the Spanish contingent at Anfield.

A Kop source said: "You've heard of the night of the long knives. This is more like two weeks of it and it may not be finished yet.

"Rafa wants a clean sweep, but some of the staff won't go quietly and are taking legal advice. Some of them don't even feel they've been told why they're going."

The first round of departures included reserve coach Gary Ablett, Academy director Piet Hamberg and youth coaches Dave Shannon and Hugh McAuley.

Shannon will have a strong claim against the club having been cited in the recent autobiographies of Steven Gerrard, Robbie Fowler, Michael Owen and Jamie Carragher as a major influence on their careers through the youth ranks.

In recent days the departure of six Melwood staff has been confirmed, including physio Victor Salinas, the club's players' liaison officer who has been at Liverpool for 14 years, and even the kit man.

Liverpool Fans Tell Hicks And Gillett To Quit Now

Angry Liverpool supporters are demanding Tom Hicks and George Gillett quit for plunging the club £359million into debt.

Accountants KPMG LLP claim the club's future will be in serious jeopardy if Hicks and Gillett cannot refinance their debts by the July 24 deadline, and fans group Spirit of Shankly has branded the American owners "utter failures".

Hicks and Gillett's parent company lost £42.6m according to the latest figures and Spirit of Shankly chairman Paul Rice fumed: "The revelations just underline Hicks and Gillett's utter failure as owners and the club hasn't progressed one iota as far as investment is concerned.

"Our club is going nowhere with Hicks and Gillett in charge and we need them out."

The owners insist the club is not going bust and their debts are less than the rest of the Big Four - and plans for the new stadium remain on track.

Liverpool Aiming To Bring Back Peter Crouch In Cut-Price Deal

Liverpool will attempt a shock move to re-sign striker Peter Crouch from Portsmouth.

Despite severe financial restrictions in place at Anfield, manager Rafa Benitez will attempt to try to land Crouch for as little as £4million.

The Anfield club are not alone in wanting Crouch.

Five other clubs - Blackburn, Sunderland, Aston Villa, Manchester City and Tottenham - have declared their interest in the lanky striker.

But Liverpool have a distinct advantage because Pompey still owe them half of the original £8m transfer fee, which is due to be paid over the next 18 months.

The deal to take Crouch to Fratton Park was spread over the two-and-half years of a four-year contract.

That's why, when Pompey were attempting to deal with a financial crisis a few weeks ago, Liverpool thought they could make a bargain signing.

However, Portsmouth's new wealth under their prospective owner Dr Sulaiman Al Fahim appears to ensure that there is no immediate requirement to sell Crouch.

And even if Pompey decided to cash in on him, they are likely to favour a deal with another club who are prepared to make a far bigger cash offer than Liverpool.

Crouch rejected three offers to stay at Liverpool prior to his £8m move to the south coast last summer and Pompey have now slapped a £10m premium on his head, valuing him at about £18m.

The marksman became increasingly frustrated sitting on the Anfield bench and demanded regular first-team football.

Harry Redknapp, the Portsmouth manager at the time, guaranteed Crouch a place in the side in a dream partnership alongside fellow England international Jermain Defoe.

Defoe has subsequently followed Redknapp to Tottenham - and if he can raise funds by selling fringe players, the Spurs boss would like to work with Crouch again.