Friday, June 18, 2010

Milan Not Inter €30m Price

We've all, more or less, accepted that Javier Mascherano will leave Liverpool this summer, as we had around this time about a year ago when Barcelona were stalking him. Rafa managed to keep the midfielder at Anfield however a year, and a Rafa less Liverpool, later this is looking increasingly unlikely to be the case this summer. The Argentina captain's agent has already told the tabloids that it's almost certain that Mascherano will join Inter Milan to be reunited with Rafa again.

Mascherano wants to go, from the looks of things, and if this is what he wants to do then we've got to let him do this. Dumb and Dumber will be happy with this as well, not that it makes our search for a new Boss any easier if we're selling our best players before they even get into the hot seat. However if these players want to leave then we've got to let them leave, it would be nice if the new Boss was given some of this money instead of the American's gobbling this up to pay off their own debts!

The sticking point with Mascherano’s move to the Italian side seems to be the price. The Reds are believed to want €30 (more or less what was being asked last summer, minimum) however this is more than Inter want to pay. Further talks between all parties are believed to be taking place again next week so another long drawn out transfer saga like his on off move to Barcelona last summer, and Xabi Alonso's eventual move to Real Madrid, seems most likely again though. This'll be fun.

Benitez: I Left Liverpool On Good Terms

New Inter Milan boss Rafa Benitez has insisted that he still has a good relationship with his former Liverpool players and that he left the club on good terms.

Benitez left Liverpool by mutual consent after a poor season which saw them only qualify for the Europa League by virtue of Portsmouth's inability to compete in Europe while in administration.

But Benitez, who replaces Jose Mourinho as coach of the Nerrazzuri, said: "I had contact with 95% of the players (after I left). Everything was fine, very good messages, very positive messages.

"The relationship is really good with the majority. Maybe you have some members of the team who are not happy, but it has been good. The club was fantastic, the fans were amazing, so it was a sad day when I had to go. But things change so I had to do it.

"I was in contact with (Steven) Gerrard when it was his birthday and everything was fine. It was good. He was trying to focus on the World Cup."

Real Madrid Drop Interest In Liverpool Skipper Steven Gerrard In Favour Of Daniele De Rossi

Real Madrid have been dissuaded by the asking price for Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard and have instead switched their attention to Roma midfielder Daniele De Rossi, according to a report from Spanish daily AS.

The Reds are apparently after a 'Galactico' style deal for Gerrard, with his price tag set significantly higher than the £29 million (€35m) the Spanish outfit paid for Xabi Alonso last summer.

That has made the Madrid side reconsider making a move for Gerrard, with De Rossi now favoured as a cheaper alternative.

De Rossi scored ten goals for Roma last season and netted Italy's equaliser against Paraguay in their opening game of the World Cup in South Africa.

Inter President Massimo Moratti To Meet £25m Target Javier Mascherano's Minders Next Week Ahead Of Liverpool Bid

Inter president Massimo Moratti has set the wheels in motion to sign Liverpool hard man Javier Mascherano by arranging a meeting with his minders.

Argentina's World Cup captain was brought to Merseyside by new Inter head coach Rafael Benitez in 2007 and he is determined to have a reunion in Italy. A price tag of £25 million has already been set and the 26-year-old is reported to have begun Italian lessons.

According to Sky Sports Italia, Moratti has arranged a meeting with Mascherano's representatives for next week where initial details over his personal terms will be agreed. Whether the debt-laden Anfield club will be able to resist a big-money bid is yet to be seen.

Glen Johnson Puts Faith In England Manager Fabio Capello

Glen Johnson believes Fabio Capello’s single-mindedness will prove crucial in helping England negotiate their way into the World Cup’s knockout stages.

England left their training base in Sun City today to fly down to Cape Town for tomorrow night’s crucial Group C clash with Algeria.

Having drawn their opening fixture 1-1 with the USA – and seen Slovenia steal a march with a 1-0 win over the Algerians – England have little room for manoeuvre.

Capello has come in for criticism on a number of issues in the time since that game, largely down to the fact he did not name his team until two hours before kick-off.

Liverpool right-back Johnson, though, has revealed that Capello will not let any outside factors distract his approach – and that is why he is confident England will continue to progress.

“He is a very good manager and a nice man,” said Johnson, who was outstanding against the USA in Rustenberg.

“He is well aware of what he wants to do and he knows how to do it. He knows how to get the job done and is definitely a manager at the top of his game.

“Every kid dreams of playing for England in the World Cup so what I am doing now is a dream come true. There are a lot of good teams and every game is difficult.

“The further we go in the tournament, the better we will be. We just need to concentrate on playing the way we think we can and see what happens.”

Martin Skrtel Tells Of World Cup Heartache

Crestfallen Martin Skrtel has revealed his disappointment after an opening World Cup match draw with New Zealand.

The Slovakian defender was helpless as Winston Reid’s 94th minute header cancelled out Robert Vittek’s early second half opener to give the underdogs their first ever point in competition.

Slovakia had dominated a poor game and looked sure to kick-start their Group F campaign with three points but with seconds remaining Reid popped up to leave Liverpool’s Skrtel bitterly upset.

However the 25-year-old remained bullish his national side would make amends from the set-back when facing Paraguay in Bloemfontein on Sunday afternoon.

Skrtel said: “Obviously we are very disappointed. They had maybe two clear chances and they scored with the final whistle.

“Unfortunately it was the same thing as against Cameroon (in a World Cup preparation game which also ended 1-1). We didn’t give them a lot of space. It was not an excellent performance but this is how you play in the World Cup. It is the result that counts.

“It would have been a huge step forward but we didn’t manage to hold on to three points. Nothing is lost though.

“It hurts today but we have two more matches to play in our group. We were very disappointed but, as I said, we have to go on.”

Meanwhile, England right-back Glen Johnson has told of his delight at being with the squad in South Africa.

“Every kid dreams of playing in the World Cup so it is a dream come true,” he said.

Liverpool FC Banner Destroyed By FIFA

Liverpool fans campaigning for the removal of George Gillett and Tom Hicks were shocked and angered after a banner was destroyed by FIFA officials at a World Cup game last weekend.

The flag, seized by officials at Durban Stadium on Sunday evening, was part of an internet-based awareness campaign opposing the club's ownership by the Americans, who have saddled the Reds with debts in excess of £351million since seizing control in 2007.

Stewards confiscated and destroyed the inoffensive flag taken into the stadium by Nadeem Khan, a member of the South African Liverpool Supporters Club, proclaiming 'Save Liverpool FC - Hicks and Gillett out' during to the game between Germany and Australia.

The 29-year-old was told by representatives of world football's governing body that the flag contravened their rules against obscene or vulgar images being displayed at games, despite no such guidelines existing in FIFA's ticketing terms and conditions.

He said: "I then went to the second level of the stadium as soon the kick-off whistle sounded to hang up my banner with the rest of the team supporters’ ones there.

"Then I went back to my seat at the lower level and constantly gazed up to check on the banner, it was around the 27th minute of the game that I looked up and to my horror there were three security officials removing the banner from the rail.

"I immediately got up to approach to the officers but I was confronted by two officials as soon as I stood up and asked to go to the security office.

"On my arrival there I was met by two other supervisors, both European and they showed me to a camera where they had recorded me. They had traced me from the time I got to the stadium until the time they called me.

"They saw the banner on live game footage and apparently had to remove it because FIFA's rules state that no material bearing obscene or vulgar images is to be displayed at their events.

"I pleaded my case then gave in after no joy and asked for the banner back so that I may keep it away, but they refused to return it to me. One steward sliced the banner up with his Stanley blade"

Nadeem, who had travelled to the game from Pietermaritzburg with his wife and child, had his phone searched as part of a crackdown on hooliganism and was warned that he would be closely monitored at future games he will be attending throughout the tournament.

"They then started lecturing me on football hooliganism and what charges they can issue against me and went through the call list on my phone," he added.

"My ticket number was recorded on their computer and they showed me all the games that I would be attending and how they will keep a close eye on me.

"By the time I returned to my seat Germany scored their fourth goal so I took my stuff and left with my wife and child who were terrified, not knowing what was going on.

"I only stopped shaking when I got back to Pietermaritzburg which is over 85 kilometres away."

Alan Cooper, one of Save Liverpool FC's co-ordinators, confirmed that the Football Supporters' Federation (FSF) are investigating why FIFA took such stringent against Mr Khan for displaying the banner.

He said: "We want an explanation from FIFA why a guy who was with his wife and kid was accused of being a hooligan and treated so badly.

"We understand them taking the banner down but I'd like to know why it was destroyed in front of him.

"The sensible thing to do would be to keep hold of the banner until the end of the game and then hand it back to him."

A FIFA spokesman confirmed to Click Liverpool that they were aware of the incident and "will revert in due course."

Two Irish fans were threatened with imprisonment for displaying an inoffensive flag during France's game with Uruguay last Friday whilst Americans were also threatened with jail terms for holding up a banner claiming, 'Wayne Bridge for USA' during their clash with England.

FIFA have been condemned by football fans worldwide for their censorship of this summer's tournament after they ejected 36 Holland fans from yesterday's 2-0 win over Denmark for wearing mini-dresses designed by Dutch brewer Bavaria, citing "ambush marketing".

Local businesses in South Africa have been banned from using the phrase 'World Cup 2010' unless they are officially recognised partners of the tournament whilst locally-made products are forbidden unlike FIFA's officially licensed merchandise, which was all made in Taiwan.

Rafael Benitez Has Only Added To The Managerial Confusion At Liverpool

Rafael Benitez's parting comments about Liverpool and who should replace him are extremely intriguing.

The new Inter Milan manager, who was released from his Liverpool contract with a £6 million pay-off a fortnight ago, outlined at his Inter unveiling that he believes Kenny Dalglish should be his successor. But does Benitez really mean it?

"I think they should look at Kenny Dalglish," he said. "He is the best man for the job. The owners should listen to the fans because they are unhappy.

"No one knows the club better than Dalglish and he would be perfect there. He wants the job and in my opinion should get it."

However, the internal wranglings at Anfield over the last 18 months mean the departed manager's words have to be treated with a note of caution.

It is no secret that Benitez and the Liverpool board could not stand the sight of each other towards the end of his tenure.

Benitez was as much to blame as anyone else for the poisonous atmosphere among the Liverpool hierachy as he could not resist becoming involved in the back-biting and walking through the uber-political minefield that is the Merseyside club at present.

Do not discount the possibility that Benitez's praise for King Kenny is one last dig at his previous employers.

The Liverpool board have made it clear that Fulham manager Roy Hodgson is their preferred candidate for the managerial position and, although Dalglish is a club legend, they do not consider he is the right man for the job.

However, there is an increasing clamour among the Reds' supporters for Dalglish to be put in charge - perhaps only in the interim - to try and steady the ship.

Benitez's comments are only likely to quicken the momentum behind the Dalglish campaign and put the Liverpool board in an even more difficult and unpopular position that it currently finds itself in.

To ignore Dalglish, particularly after the "endorsement" of the still popular Benitez, would simply prove to many fans that Liverpool do not listen or do not care about the wishes of their fans - and that is the last thing the club need at the moment.

He may have left Anfield and be in charge of the current Champions League winners, but it would appear that Benitez's ability to undermine and confuse matters on Merseyside remains as strong as ever.