Monday, June 15, 2009

Dossena Flattered By Juve Link

Liverpool full-back Andrea Dossena is flattered by Juventus' interest in him but insists he is happy at Anfield.

The defender is currently on international duty with Italy ahead of their Confederations Cup opener against the USA in South Africa and is keeping an eye on transfer activity in Europe.

Dossena, who joined the Reds last summer from Udinese, has caught the attention of Juve and the Serie A outfit have been linked with tabling a bid for the 27-year-old.

Dossena maintains he is content with life on Merseyside but the defender is happy to be attracting interest in his native land.

"I will always have a special eye out for Italy and it's always pleasing to be wanted by a club like Juventus," he told Sky Italia.

"Liverpool are a great club and I am happy to be playing here. I am having a good experience in England.

"But if there was to be a deal between my agent, Juve and Liverpool, then I would certainly consider the proposal."

Ipswich Town Looking To Take David Ngog On Loan From Liverpool

New Ipswich Town boss Roy Keane reportedly has his sights set on under-utilised Liverpool striker David Ngog.

According to News of the World, the ex Manchester United boss is hoping to convince Rafa Benitez to loan out the 20-year-old, who has barely got a look-in at Anfield since his £1.5 million move from Paris Saint-Germain last summer.

Keane has made a new forward his first priority as Jon Stead, Pablo Counago and Kevin Lisbie are currently the only recognised strikers at Portman Road.

Reports suggest that Ipswich scouts were at the recent Toulon tournament to watch the France under-21 international first-hand and that the Irish manager has now decided to make a move for him based on their reports.

Despite barely playing him last season, Benitez recently went on record as saying that he is convinced Ngog will go on to become an important player for Liverpool.

Liverpool Assert Again That Xabi Alonso & Mascherano Will Stay

Liverpool have confirmed that both Xabi Alonso and Javier Mascherano will be staying at the club, despite rumours that the pair were set to leave Anfield for Spain.

Alonso has recently been heavily linked with a big money move to Spanish giants Real Madrid, with the midfielder said to be one of Madrid president Florentino Perez's top transfer targets this summer.

Meanwhile, Alonso's Anfield team-mate Mascherano has been the subject of a proposed move to Madrid's arch rivals Barcelona, with manager Pep Guardiola set to offer the Reds around £30 million for the Argentine's services.

However, both players have been told by the Reds that they will be staying at Anfield, and despite recent media reports, the club say no offers had been made for either player.

A statement on the club's official website reads:

"Despite repeated media speculation on the futures of Xabi Alonso and Javier Mascherano, Liverpool has received no official approach or offer from any club regarding the players.

"Neither is for sale and furthermore Liverpool has no interest in the long list of Spanish based players being linked with a move to Anfield as part of any deal."

Both players are viewed as vital in Liverpool's quest for a first Premier League trophy, and should have a significant part to play in next season's campaign.

Fernando Torres Determined To Bring Glory Days Back To Liverpool

Fernando Torres says he is hell-bent on lifting the Premier League title with Liverpool.

The 25-year-old Spanish sensation has firmly established himself as a fans' favourite since joining the Reds for around £20 million from Atletico Madrid in 2007, scoring 50 goals in 84 appearances.

However, despite helping the Merseyside outfit finish runners up in the Premier League this season, El Nino has not been able to attain any silverware during his short spell at Liverpool.

Some say the Reds' lack of a homegrown core is at the root of their title drought, but the Madrid-born 25-year-old couldn't agree less.

"They say foreign players don't care as much as the home grown, but we are very much aware that Liverpool haven't won the Premier League for 20 years and understand the supporters are desperate for us to put that right," Torres told the club's official website.

"The rivalry with Manchester United is intense and the roof will come off at Anfield if we beat them to next year's title. Obviously the Champions League means a lot to Liverpool, but the English title is the one everyone wants in our dressing room.

"Liverpool Football Club is a phenomenon, with millions of fans who totally identify with everything the club stands for. They are at one with the players and that's why the backing we get at Anfield and from the away support is second to none," added Torres.

"This club has it all: the history, the prestige, the fans, the organisation. It's a big responsibility to give the fans here the success they desire, but the challenge is always exhilarating and this is why I was delighted to sign a new contract."

The Spain international striker recently put pen to paper on a new four year deal which will see him remain at Anfield until 2013 at least, with an option to prolong his stay by a further year until 2014.

Manchester City's Micah Richards Set For Cut Price Liverpool Transfer

Manchester City central defender Micah Richards is the subject of a bid from Premier League rivals Liverpool, according to News of the World.

The Reds have reportedly put in a £5 million bid for the youngster, a bid that is likely to be rejected by the Manchester based club.

City value the 20-year-old at around the £20 million mark and are unlikely to accept anything less than that.

However, City boss Mark Hughes is believed to be willing to let the central defender leave the club.

The pair reportedly had a training ground bust up earlier in the season, and Hughes is apparently willing to let the defender go, but not for such a low price.

Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez has a restricted transfer budget this season and is looking to pick up a few bargains in the summer transfer window.

Richards has already broken onto the international scene and has won 11 England caps in his short career, he is expected to gain more under England coach Fabio Capello.

Benitez is looking for signings to bolster his squad, so that they can mount another serious Premier League title challenge, and it is believed that the lure of Champions League football could persuade Richards to move to Anfield.

Liverpool's Fernando Torres Reveals World Cup Final Dream

Liverpool striker Fernando Torres has stated that he and team-mate Steven Gerrard dream of meeting each other in the World Cup final.

The Spanish striker is currently on international duty at the Confederations Cup, and is confident that Spain could overcome England if they met in the final of the biggest football competition.

Both Torres and Gerrard are set to feature in next year's World Cup in South Africa, after La Seleccion and the Three Lions recorded 100 per cent records in their respective qualifying groups for the tournament.

The two teams met in a friendly in February, with Spain running out easy 2-0 winners, and Torres has revealed his frequent conversations with Gerrard over meeting in the final next year.

Speaking to The Sunday Mirror, Torres said, "It's a good rivalry, we talk about it a lot and dream about what might happen in the future.

"To play against England is special for me. Already, I noticed in the friendly in Seville how big it was and to do it in an official competition would be enormous.

"England are one of the candidates to win the World Cup in 2010, without doubt. Stevie and myself have often spoken about our teams.

"Our dream would be for England and Spain to play in the final in South Africa. But Spain might win it."

Torres Hits Hat-Trick As Spain Rout New Zealand

Fernando Torres bagged a hat-trick as European champions Spain crushed New Zealand 5-0 to open their Confederations Cup campaign in emphatic style on Sunday.

The Group A victory, their 13th consecutive win, extended their unbeaten run to 33 games as they look to overturn Brazil's world record 35 matches without defeat between 1993 and 1996.

Yet despite Spain being the world's number one ranked team and packed with star names, the Royal Bafokeng Stadium here was half empty, something that will worry FIFA with the World Cup in South Africa less than a year away.

The match was always going to be a David versus Goliath battle and it was all Spain, with Arsenal's Cesc Fabregas and Valencia's David Villa also getting on the scoresheet.

"We did what we had to do, we started with a good rhythm and played good football and were leading 4-0 after 24 minutes," said Spain coach Vicente del Bosque.

"The second half was a question of saving energy for our next match."

Torres said it was a fantastic start for the team.

"It was great for the team and for me it is always important to score. I got three so I'm very happy," he said.

They opened their account after six minutes when Fabregas slotted the ball to Torres on the edge of the box and he cooly curled his shot into the top right hand corner.

It was 2-0 eight minutes later after Villa cut the ball back for Torres, who side-footed it past flailing goalkeeper Glen Moss.

The Liverpool striker collected his hat-trick inside 17 minutes as the one-sided game threatened to become an embarrassing rout.

Joan Capdevila crossed from the left and Torres outjumped the defence to powerfully head the ball home for his 22nd international goal.

It was the second hat-trick for his country - the other coming against San Marino in a 2006 World Cup qualifier.

New Zealand's confidence was shattered as their defence, missing injured Blackburn star Ryan Nelsen, was run ragged.

With Spain keeping possession and pressing forward, Fabregas got their fourth on 24 minutes with a simple tap-in after Capdevila squared the ball into his path.

The only other time the two teams have met was at the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 1997 when Spain won 13-0 and All Whites coach Ricki Herbert looked a worried man in the dugout with another double-figure demolition appearing possible.

He took off striker Jeremy Brockie, replacing him with Jeremy Christie to shore up the defence, and the tactic worked with the score remaining the same at the half-time whistle.

But it didn't stay that way for long with Villa scoring the fifth just three minutes after the restart following a comical miskick from defender Andy Boyens gifted him the ball and the Valencia striker made no mistake.

Torres was substituted with 20 minutes left as Spain took their foot off the gas, conscious that they have another game on Wednesday.

"The first 25 minutes were very tentative and on the world stage against the world's top team we got punished for a lot of things," said Herbert.

"I made some changes and we grew a bit in the second 45 and were more disciplined."

With hosts South Africa drawing 0-0 with Iraq, Spain top Group A with three points.

They next meet Iraq in Bloemfontein while New Zealand look to salvage some pride against South Africa on the same day in Rustenburg.

The top two from the group qualify for the semi-finals.

Middlesbrough's Stewart Downing Puts Hopes On Loan Move

Middlesbrough midfielder Stewart Downing has asked the club for a year's loan, with a view to making a permanent move away from the Riverside next summer, according to The News of the World.

The England international is currently recovering from a foot injury, but is still set to be out of action for at least six months.

This has ruined his chances of a summer move from the relegated club, but he is hopeful they can reach an agreement for a year's loan.

This would help the north east club as it would ease their wage bill as he recovers from the injury.

A deal is then reportedly wanted by Downing for him to move to a bigger club, with a fee thought to be in the region of £12 million.

The 24-year-old has been linked with a move to Tottenham Hotspur for the last couple of years, and it looked as though this transfer would actually go through in January, when Downing handed in a transfer request, which was refused by the club.

Boro were relegated on the final day of the season, leading to rumours of a quick fire sale of their top stars, but so far, no offers have yet come in, but Downing does still want a move away from the Riverside.

Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez is also thought to be a big admirer of the English winger, and a bidding war, possibly in January of next year, could well take place.