Friday, June 19, 2009

Rafa Benitez Wants Emergency Talks To Persuade Alonso & Mascherano To Stay At Liverpool

According to a report in the British tabloid The Daily Mail, Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez is looking to hold emergency talks regarding the futures of Xabi Alonso and Javier Mascherano.

Alonso has been linked with a move to Real Madrid this summer, while Mascherano is said to have caught the attention of Barcelona.

Perhaps more worrying, if true, is the claim that both players are hoping to leave Anfield during the close-season.

On Thursday, Alonso spurned the opportunity to commit his future to the Reds in an interview, while it was reported on Wednesday that Mascherano's agent had flown to Catalonia to speak to Barcelona officials.

It is said that Benitez hopes to meet with the duo's representatives to tell them that he wants their clients to honour their three-year deals at the Merseyside outfit.

However, while it is thought that the 49-year-old does not intend to sell Mascherano at any price, due to a breakdown in relations with Alonso, the Spain international may be allowed to join Los Blancos provided they make an offer close to €35.2 million (£30m).

Fernando Torres Backs Michael Owen's Ability, Wants Glen Johnson At Liverpool

Former Liverpool striker Michael Owen has featured intermittently in Newcastle United's first-team over the past few seasons as his career continues to be plagued by a series of injuries, yet Fernando Torres believes the diminutive hotshot will return to the exemplary form that he is best known for.

Torres, currently on Confederations Cup duty with Spain, also stated that he would welcome the addition of England's first choice right back Glen Johnson at Anfield. Johnson is a player who, says Torres, had a grand season with Portsmouth.

Speaking of Owen, Torres told the Daily Mail, "I know that he is a big part of the history of this football club and that the fans at Anfield loved him. I have no idea where he will be playing next season, but I am convinced that he still has a lot to offer.

"He has been unlucky with injuries in recent years and I know how frustrating that can be, but he has a natural instinct in front of goal and you don't lose that just because you have been injured."

Liverpool face a three-way fight along with Chelsea and Manchester City to bring Johnson to the club. The roaming full-back, who has firmly established himself in the first-team plans of Fabio Capello's Three Lions, is likely to command a pricey £18 million fee.

"We have total trust in the boss and we will trust whoever he brings in, but yes, Glen Johnson has had an excellent season.

"He is now in an England team playing very good football.

"He is used to playing top-four football, so there would be no issue about him making the step up."

Tevez Rules Out Reds Move

Carlos Tevez has ruled out a summer move to Liverpool, Sky Sports News sources have learned.

The Argentina international, who has spent the last two seasons on loan with Manchester United, has emerged as a transfer target for a quartet of Premier League clubs.

United have first option to sign the striker, whose registration is owned by a company rather than another club, but Tevez has indicated he is not happy at Old Trafford after seeing his starting options restricted this season.

That has caused a scramble for his services with Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea all credited with an interest in the former West Ham favourite.

However, Sky Sports News sources have been informed that a move to Anfield is not an option for Tevez.

That leaves the Red Devils, their local rivals City and London outfit Chelsea battling it out to secure the energetic forward's signature for next season.

Alonso Refuses To Commit

Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alonso has seemingly confirmed that his Anfield future is in some doubt.

Reds boss Rafa Benitez looks under increasing pressure as the long-term futures of his midfield stars Alonso and Javier Mascherano appear far from certain.

While Mascherano's agents have held discussions with Barcelona, Alonso has intimated he may also be looking for a better deal elsewhere.

Speaking in South Afirca, where he is competing in the Confederations Cup with Spain, Alonso stoked up the speculation surrounding his future.

"Would you be disappointed if you end up having to stay at Liverpool next season?" he was asked.

"I can't answer that question," he replied.

Benitez has already insisted he does not want to sell any of his key players this summer, with the club releasing a statement last week stressing their desire to keep the midfield duo.

Javier Mascherano Will Stay At Liverpool - Fernando Torres

Fernando Torres believes that Javier Mascherano has no intention of leaving Liverpool in the summer despite intense speculation that he could join Barcelona.

The Spanish striker has revealed that his Argentinian team-mate has stated that he is happy at Anfield and has no reason to want to go elsewhere.

Mascherano's agent is reported to have held talks with Barcelona officials in the Catalan capital and that fuelled stories that a deal could be pushed through if the player made it clear he wanted to move.

Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez has reiterated that the midfielder will not be leaving because Barca could not afford the transfer fee he would command, and Torres agrees.

"Javier loves it at Liverpool, that is all I can tell you," Setanta Sports quote him as saying.

"In the summer people like to make a lot of noises about world-class players - and Javier is a world-class player.

"He has said himself that he is very happy at Anfield and there is no reason for him to want to leave."

Chelsea Aim To Hijack Liverpool's Bid For Glen Johnson With £18.5 million Offer

Chelsea have matched Liverpool's £18.5 million bid for Glen Johnson, increasing the possibility that Jose Bosingwa will leave the Londoners for Bayern Munich.

The England right back appeared certain to be on his way to Anfield earlier this week after Liverpool's offer was accepted by Portsmouth, but Peter Storrie, the south-coast club's chief executive, said today that they have agreed terms with Chelsea as well and it is up to the player to choose his destination.

Johnson, 24, left Chelsea for Portsmouth in 2007 after a successful loan spell after finding his opportunities limited in west London.

"The matter will come to a conclusion at the beginning of next week. I do not have a preference over the move, it is up to Glen,” Storrie said. “The deals are almost identical so it really is down to him and what club he prefers, which one is going to pay him more money."

Storrie said that it would be unfair for Portsmouth to deny Johnson the chance to play for a top-four side, especially ahead of next year's World Cup finals, where he will hope to be England's first-choice right back.

“Glen wants to play regularly in the Champions League, he has got himself back in the England side so I understand that. Sometimes you have to be fair to players," Storrie said. "It’s a big year for him with the World Cup coming up. Playing Champions League football will make him an even better player than he is today."

Bosingwa joined Chelsea from FC Porto a year ago for £15.8 million and had a solid debut season but Bayern are increasingly confident they can persuade him to move to the Bundesliga. Chelsea's offer for Johnson suggests that they are preparing for Bosingwa's departure.

Juventus To Make Dossena Decision Next Week

Liverpool defender Andrea Dossena's agent believes Juventus will decide by next week whether to make a bid for the Italy international.

The Turin club have been linked with a move for the 27-year-old, who had a disappointing first season at Anfield after his £7m transfer from Udinese.

It is believed Juve are considering Dossena and international team-mate Fabio Grosso, 31, to fill the left-back spot.

''I don't know if you can call it an ultimatum, but I think that Juve will decide what to do within the next week,'' agent Roberto La Florio told ''The left-back position is a necessity for the Bianconeri and the directors are not willing to drag this on.

''However, I still think it's a two-horse race between Andrea and Grosso.

''Dossena's age and wages are on his side. Is he worth around 6-7m Euros? The last time I met with Liverpool we did not talk about numbers, I can only say they paid more for him last summer.

''Andrea has subtly expressed his desire to join Juve in recent days, but he also said that he loves it in Liverpool.

''We'll definitely know more about it next week and Juve remain the most likely destination for him.''

Liverpool FC's Jamie Carragher Named Champion At Spirit Of Merseyside Awards

Liverpool footballer Jamie Carragher was among the winners at last night’s Spirit of Merseyside Awards.

The defender saw off competition from comedians Ken Dodd and Ricky Tomlinson and actress Sue Johnston to win the Celebrity Champion Award.

The celebrities were shortlisted for their contribution to the community.

The charity awards celebration, run by the Community Foundation for Merseyside, recognised the hard work of Merseyside’s voluntary and community sector and donors.

The other 10 awards honoured groups, individuals and funding partners who have worked with the Community Foundation for Merseyside during the past year.

The dinner was hosted by BBC Radio Merseyside presenter Roger Phillips at the Liverpool Cathedral last night. Cathy Elliott, Community Foundation for Merseyside acting chief executive, said: “All of the groups who were shortlisted were fantastic and it was a brilliant opportunity to show just how strong the community sector is in Merseyside.

“We pride ourselves on creating partnerships and encouraging everyone to get involved, from the community groups and participants through to our donors, staff and local personalities.

“This year particularly, we wanted to make an even bigger effort for the awards because it is our 10 year anniversary. The evening was a great success.”

The event showed short films of all 37 nominees.

All nominated groups have received funding from the Community Foundation for Merseyside.

Liverpool Hire New Reserve Team Coach

Not to be confused with the former member of staff and namesake who moved on to Sunderland, former Real Madrid player Antonio Gomez Perez has taken over as reserve team coach at Liverpool.

Working alongside reserve team manager John McMahon, Gomez will perform an integral role at Anfield in preparing fringe players for the leap into first team action.

Born in Madrid on August 1, 1973, Gomez spent ten years with Real Madrid's youth team under the tutelage of Rafa Benitez. Now, however, he is able to work alongside his old boss to benefit the progression of the Reds.

Boasting coaching experience from his time spent within Toledo and Albacete's youth ranks, Gomez is no stranger to silverware, having lifted the Spanish National Youth Cup during his time on the sidelines.

Former Liverpool Chairman David Moores Quits Anfield Board Of Directors

Former Liverpool chairman David Moores resigned from his post on the board of directors at Anfield today.

Coming from one of the richest families in Britain owing to their creation of the Littlewoods franchise, Moores took over the role of Liverpool chairman in 1991.

However, with the Reds needing an increase in investment funds, Moores sold his 51% majority shares in the club to the current owners - American businessmen George Gillett and Tom Hicks - in February 2007.

An unpopular move amongst the fans, the Anfield support grew angry and disillusioned as the US pair borrowed £350 million to complete the takeover of the club, but persistently fell short with their promise of a new stadium.

Moores confessed that he was left heartbroken and let down by the new owners, and he follows in the footsteps of chief executive Rick Parry in his decision to step down this summer after twelve years at the club.

In spite of Moores' resignation from the board, he will always be remembered by the fans as Liverpool's honorary life president.

Manchester City Eyeing Liverpool's Jermaine Pennant

Manchester City could make a move for Liverpool's Jermaine Pennant during the close-season, according to a report in the British broadsheet The Guardian.

Apparently, the Citizens have identified the right-sided winger as the ideal candidate to provide cover and competition for Shaun Wright-Phillips.

The 26-year-old moved to Anfield from Birmingham City for a fee in the region of £8 million in 2006, but with his contract due to expire this summer, City could snap him up on a free transfer.

The former England Under-21 international fell down the pecking order at the Merseyside-based outfit last season, and after making just four first-team appearances in the first half of the season, was loaned out to Portsmouth in January where he played 14 times.

During his Liverpool career, Pennant scored three goals in 81 matches.