Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Old Trafford Legend Tips Liverpool For The Title

Manchester United legend Teddy Sheringham believes Liverpool will win the title next season ahead of his former club.

The former Tottenham, West Ham and Portsmouth forward also backed Fernando Torres to finish the season as the league’s top scorer.

Sheringham told ZOO Magazine: “I'm going for Liverpool to win the title.”

“They looked so good at the end of last season and will be the team to beat.”

“United fans won't like me saying it, but it'll be their year.”

He added: “I also think they'll have the Prem's top scorer in Fernando Torres.”

“Benitez will play him in all the Premier League games because the title is so important to the Reds, whereas other clubs may rotate more.”

Sheringham also suggested United’s midfield will have to start contributing goals if they are to stand a chance of winning an unprecedented four Premier League titles.

He added: “Man United have lost the goals of Cristiano Ronaldo and Sir Alex Ferguson loves players who score regularly.”

“It's all very well being a good midfielder but if you don't contribute goals, he's usually not interested.”

“Antonio Valencia and Anderson are tidy but they have to start scoring for the Red Devils are to win a fourth successive title.”

Tough Start Is Good For Liverpool - Steven Gerrard

Liverpool travel to Tottenham Hotspur for their opening Premier League game, and captain Steven Gerrard thinks the awkward fixture will be good for the club.

"You expect it now with [Rafael Benitez] in charge," Gerrard told LFC Weekly Magazine, bemoaning the club's tendency to start fresh campaigns away from Anfield. "I don't think he's ever had a home game to start the season in all his time at the club.

"But I think that if you take a step back and look at it in detail, there are benefits to beginning the season away from home," he continued.

"If you can achieve three points knowing you've then got two games to come in front of your own supporters [it's a great boost]."

Gerrard admitted Liverpool are aiming to make a quick start to the campaign.

"The start to the season's always crucial because you can build momentum quickly," he explained.

"They're all tough games, you don't get easy games in our league, but if we could get three points from each of the first three games, then that would be us off to a flier, and that will be our intention."

Glen Johnson Hoping To Impress At Liverpool

Liverpool defender Glen Johnson has proclaimed that he is ready to put his maturity and consistency on full display with the Reds.

Johnson - who has a Premier League winner's medal with Chelsea from the 2004-05 season - believes that he has aged like wine since his tryst with the Blues.

"I’d say I’m more mature [now]," he told The Daily Post.

Referring to the infamous incident concerning the loss of his passport before a Champions League game with the Blues, and his fallout with Jose Mourinho, he said, "There were a couple of incidents that got blown out of proportion and were totally wrong.

"That’s not for me to worry about. I’ve put it behind me and it’s not important.

"I’ve aged. I’m improving all the time and that has been a key factor."

Johnson then touched upon the subject of his career choices, and how he has had to pave his way into the Merseyside club by moving to Portsmouth and performing consistently.

"Before I didn’t play [much with Chelsea], so it’s impossible to put in performances if you don’t play," he said.

"Joining Portsmouth was fantastic for me because I was playing week in, week out, and working hard in training.

"The most important thing for any player is consistency in playing games. That is when you learn from your mistakes.That is the one thing I can put my finger on."

The former Pompey defender hailed his current team, and stated that this could be the season that the Anfield club win the Premier League title.

"It could be a big year," he enthused.

"We have high hopes within the Liverpool camp.

"With the World Cup coming up it’s a big year for everyone."

The full-back finally hoped that he would continue his form at Fratton Park into this season.

“I was happy to play last season and put in decent performances," he said.

"The longer that continues the better."

Johnson joined Liverpool this summer for a fee believed to be in the region of £18 million.

Javier Mascherano Is Committed To Liverpool - Rafael Benitez

Rafael Benitez has moved to quash rumours that Javier Mascherano will follow Xabi Alonso to Spain. The Argentinean has persistently been linked with a move to Barcelona all summer.

"Javier knows he is staying," Benitez told Sky Sports. "He has accepted his future is here and that he is going to be a key player for us once more.

"Mascherano is now fully focused on us and what we might achieve together this season, I can guarantee that 100 per cent."

Benitez admitted that the transfer rumours and the sale of Xabi Alonso to Real Madrid had affected Mascherano's performances.

"We've spoken about his situation before and we spoke again," the Liverpool boss said. "Before, it was difficult and he could see Xabi Alonso was on his way.

"There has been a significant improvement in his game over the past ten days. He has been a lot more focused, and we are seeing the real Mascherano again."

Gerrard Out Of Holland Clash

Steven Gerrard has pulled out of the England squad for Wednesday's friendly with Holland due to a groin injury.

The Liverpool midfielder reported a groin problem in training and he has not travelled with the rest of the squad to Amsterdam.

Gerrard has returned to Liverpool to receive treatment on the injury and he joins Manchester United goalkeeper Ben Foster in withdrawing from Fabio Capello's original squad.

Liverpool will be hoping the injury is not serious and that Gerrard will be fit for Sunday's Premier League opener at Tottenham.

Hangeland 'In No Rush'

Brede Hangeland is refusing to be distracted by mounting speculation regarding his future.

The Fulham defender continues to be the topic of much debate this summer, with a number of clubs reported to be tracking his progress.

The likes of Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea have all been mentioned, although no formal approach has been made.

Hangeland insists that situation suits him just fine, with the towering centre-half happy to put the issue to the back of his mind until something tangible materialises.

"That is something I will think about if that comes about," he told Sky Sports News from Norway's training camp ahead of their 2010 World Cup qualifier with Scotland on Wednesday.

"Right now I am concentrating on doing a job for Fulham and for Norway in an important game on Wednesday."

Hangeland believes his form during his time at Craven Cottage has greatly improved the more comfortable he has felt in England and he feels he is starting to show what he is capable of.

"I think when you come to a league like that it takes some time to settle and I think last season I did that," he added.

"I was happy with my performances and those of the team."

Hangeland helped Fulham secure seventh spot in the Premier League last season, earning them a Europa League berth, and he is adamant that he has no desire to leave Roy Hodgson's progressive side.

"I have said all the time that I have had a great 18 months there and it is a great club. I'm in no rush to go anywhere," he said.

Liverpool Poised To Pull Out Of Chase For Hull Defender

Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez is ready to pull out of the chase for Hull City centre half Michael Turner - after being quoted a stunning £10 million fee.

Benitez wants to bring in giant defender Turner, but he is unwilling to pay the top price that the Tigers want for their man-mountain star.

The Kop chief is willing to pay around £6 million or throw a player into the deal, but Hull are holding out for the bigger figure and the move is set to collapse.

Turner has been chased by Tottenham, Everton and Fulham in the past few weeks but Hull may miss out on cashing in on him despite the major interest.

Spurs have gone elsewhere, Everton have not followed up their initial inquiry, leaving Fulham as the main runners - but Turner is lukewarm about making that sideways move.

Liverpool FC Striker Torres’ Sorrow After Friend’s Death

Fernando Torres has spoken of his sadness following the death of former teammate Dani Jarque on Saturday.

The Espanyol captain, who played alongside Torres when Spain won the European U19 Championships in 2002, died of a heart attack following a training session in Italy.

Torres said: “In these hard times I want to express my sincere condolences and I offer all my support to Dani’s family, friends and Espanyol teammates.”

Meanwhile, details of Alberto Aquilani’s move from Roma have been revealed on the Italian club’s website.

Roma’s breakdown of the switch states that Liverpool have paid 5million euros up front and there will be further cash installments of 3m euros on January 4 2010, 7m euros on June 30 2010 and 5m euros on June 30 2011.

Further add-ons include 300,000 euros each time Liverpool qualify for the Champions League between 2010/11 to 2014/15, 1million euros the first time Liverpool wins either the Premier League or Champions League before June 30 2014 and 5% of any future transfer fee.

Daniel Pacheco Agrees New Liverpool FC Contract

Daniel Pacheco has agreed a new contract with Liverpool FC, following in the footsteps of fellow youngsters Jay Spearing and Stephen Darby.

The 18-year-old striker has signed a new deal that will keep him at Anfield for three more years.

Pacheco, from Malaga, has been involved in Liverpool FC’s pre-season in Switzerland and the Far East although he has yet to make a senior appearance for the club.

But boss Rafa Benitez has high hopes the former Barcelona youth product has a genuine career ahead of him in the Premier League.

Pacheco has been a regular in the youth and reserve sides and has played for Spain at youth level.

Another Anfield youngster, striker Nathan Ecclestone, is also on the brink of a new contract, but Craig Lindfield has had his contract terminated by mutual consent.

The Wirral-born 21-year-old has been on the brink of a senior breakthrough over the past few years after being part of Liverpool FC’s Youth Cup-winning side.

He spent last season on loan with Accrington Stanley and has now been allowed to leave the club.