Tuesday, November 17, 2009

No Deal Between Barcelona & Liverpool For Midfielder Javier Mascherano

Rumours of the potential transfer of Javier Mascherano from Liverpool to Barcelona during the winter transfer window are understood to be without any concrete foundation, according to Spanish publication Sport.

Speculation surrounding the Argentina captain has continued throughout the season after he was strongly linked with a summer move to Camp Nou and recent reports suggested that the players representatives had reached an agreement on the personal terms of a winter move.

However Sport have refuted this after claiming to have been in contact with both clubs with both Liverpool and Barcelona denying any knowledge of the switch.

The 25-year-old arrived on Merseyside in February 2007 following a brief and unsuccessful stint at West Ham United. Since then he has established himself as a regular in Rafael Benitez's side, initially forming a formidable central partnership with Xabi Alonso before the Spaniard left to join Real Madrid during the summer.

Lucas Leiva: I Want To Emulate My Uncle For Brazil

Liverpool and Brazil midfielder Lucas Leiva has conceded that he would like to emulate his uncle Leivinha by making the final squad that will travel to the World Cup in South Africa next year.

Leivinha played in the 1974 World Cup for the Verde e Amarelo and earned a total of 21 caps, scoring seven goals in the process.

Following his performances for the Reds, the 22-year-old nephew earned a place on the Samba bench against England, though he remained an unused substitute.

"I need to have a great season because of Brazil," Lucas said on the club's official website.

"The World Cup is around the corner and I want to be part of it.

"For my family it's a bit more special as my uncle, Leivinha, was in the Brazil squad for Germany in 1974 and I want to emulate him."

At the club level, the Brazilian admits that he needs to up his game to retain a spot in the starting line-up, as the return of Alberto Aquilani will induce some competition for places.

"I have to be more versatile at Liverpool because sometimes I will need to play alongside Javier Mascherano and other times with Steven Gerrard, which will demand a different tactical role for me," he said.

"But I already believe I've proved to Liverpool fans that I'm willing to sweat blood for this club and to try and make the crowd happy."

Ryan Babel Denies He Wants To Leave Liverpool FC

Ryan Babel has once again dismissed suggestions he wants to leave Liverpool FC in the summer while reiterating his desperation to regain a regular first-team role and safeguard a World Cup finals berth.

Despite the Anfield outfit’s poor start to the season, Babel has made just two starts in the Premier League.

The 22-year-old has struggled to make a consistent impression since arriving at the club from Ajax for £11.5m more than two years ago.

Babel gave a timely reminder of his talents with a fantastic goal in the 1-1 Champions League draw in Lyon earlier this month.

But although Holland coach Bert van Marwijk has warned he will only take players to the World Cup who are regularly appearing for their clubs, Babel is happy to stay at Anfield.

“He [van Marwijk] wants players to be playing at their club to get a chance to go to the World Cup,” said the winger, who appeared as a 72nd minute substitute in Holland’s goalless draw in Italy on Saturday. “That's also what I have to try to reach and I am working every day very hard.

“Liverpool are a very good team everybody knows that and I am proud to be part of Liverpool.”

Last Monday’s 2-2 draw at home to Birmingham means Rafael Benitez’s side have won only one of their last nine games, but Babel reckons they are missing only some good fortune to kick-start a winning run.

“If you analyse the last game, we had enough chances to win by three or four goals and we failed to score more than two,” said Babel.

Manchester United, Chelsea And Liverpool Set For Battle To Sign Palermo Defender Simon Kjaer

Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Juventus are among the European giants set to battle for the signature of Palermo defender Simon Kjaer next summer.

The 20-year-old centre-back has established himself as one of the most promising young stoppers in Serie A and is likely to be at the heart of Denmark's defence at the 2010 World Cup finals next summer.

Kjaer had admitted he would like to join one of Europe's top clubs after the World Cup and Palermo have confirmed interest from the Barclays Premier League trio plus Juventus.

Walter Sabatini, a director of the Sicilian club, said: 'I have heard that Juventus and their observers have been watching Kjaer. There is also an interest from Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool.

However Sabatini insisted the defender would not be allowed to leave this season: 'In any case, Kjaer will not be leaving in January,' he added.

Reds Urged To Let Dossena Go

Andrea Dossena's agent hopes his client will be allowed to leave Liverpool so he can secure a World Cup place.

The Italian left-back has struggled to make much of an impact since moving to Anfield from Udinese in the summer of 2008.

He has been heavily linked with a return to his homeland, with Napoli making no secret of their interest, but a move failed to materialise in the summer.

Dossena's representative Federico Pastorello indicated last week that a January transfer could be set to go ahead.

And Roberto La Florio, another of Dossena's agents, has even suggested that a loan move would be one option just to give the defender some regular football.

La Florio has, though, played down reports suggesting Roma have also entered the chase for his signature.

"The will of Andrea returning to Italy is now clearly established," La Florio told Radio Kiss Kiss.

"I hope that Liverpool give Andrea the possibility to go to play, also on a loan, to regain a spot in the World Cup.

"Napoli? Officially there is nothing, because the market will open only in January.

"Last summer there was every reason for his move to Napoli, but then it didn't finish well.

"Interest of Roma? I've not had direct contacts with this club."

Battle Between Liverpool FC And Tottenham Hotspur Inspires New Video Game

The championship battle between motorsport teams backed and financed by Premier League soccer clubs Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur has been turned into a video game.

Superleague Formula features motorsport teams backed by professional soccer clubs, including the likes of AC Milan, Atletico Madrid and Flamengo. The 2009 season ended last weekend, with Liverpool's representative team beating Tottenham Hotspur to the championship in front of huge crowds at Spanish circuit Jarama.

Now the Superleague Formula by Sonangol video game has been launched, and can be bought from Superleague Formula's official website.

"The game is really cool and I think football and motorsport fans will love it," said Craig Dolby, who drives for Tottenham in the series. "The lap times we did on the game were actually pretty close to the ones we set for real on race day. That means the fans can watch us race on a Sunday and then try and beat our times when they get home!"

Liverpool Struggling On The Pitch But Thrashing Chelsea And Arsenal Off It

Liverpool, the five-time European champions who have won the English title a joint-record 18 times, are struggling on the pitch but comprehensively outperforming their rivals online.

The club's official Facebook page has more than one million fans - more than every other official Premier League fan-page put together - while its Twitter feed has more than 55,000 fans. In comparison, London clubs Chelsea and Arsenal have just under 18,000 followers. Manchester United, the English champions for the last three seasons, do not run an official Twitter account.

"LFC are a global club and we want to engage fans wherever they are," the club's community manager Matt Owen told the Liverpool Echo newspaper. "Many of them come to see us every week, some of them come to our forums, but not everybody will.

"Our fans are everywhere. Our approach is to speak to our fans wherever they are."

However, Chelsea hope to challenge Liverpool's supremacy on Facebook, after launching a new official site last week featuring exclusive content including news, videos and behind-the-scenes pictures. It has already given fans the chance to engage in a live-streamed web interview with Petr Cech, the club's goalkeeper.

Liverpool FC Don't Expect Barcelona Javier Mascherano Move

Liverpool are not expecting any fresh interest from Barcelona in Javier Mascherano in January.

Weekend reports suggested the midfielder’s advisers had already negotiated personal terms with the Catalans in advance of a transfer fee being agreed with the Reds.

However, there has been no contact between the clubs since the summer when Barca were informed Mascherano was not for sale.

Back then Rafa Benitez insisted even £50million wouldn’t convince him to part company with the Argentina international and the Reds don’t expect the manager’s resolve to be tested when the transfer window reopens.

Joan Laporta’s term as Barcelona president ends next June and as the election battle hots up uncertainty reigns at the Nou Camp.

Manager Pep Guardiola is a big admirer of Mascherano but his own future is currently up in the air with him refusing to commit to a new contract until he knows who the new president is.

Until the presidential issue is settled next year it’s unlikely Barca will make any major additions to their squad.