Monday, June 21, 2010

New Liverpool Manager Faces Battle Convincing Dalglish To Stay

Liverpool will have to convince Kenny Dalglish to stay when they announce their new manager.

The Mail on Sunday says Liverpool should be able to announce their new manager this week - and his first challenge will be to keep Kop legend Dalglish at the club after he was overlooked for the top job.

Former Real Madrid boss Manuel Pellegrini and Fulham manager Roy Hodgson are the two clear front-runners to succeed Rafa Benitez at Anfield.

Dalglish is waiting to see who is appointed before he commits his future even though, bizarrely, he is part of the selection panel.

Dalglish's friends and former Anfield players ran a strong campaign to get him to be the next Liverpool manager. But he won little support within the boardroom despite his legendary status.

Bruce Grobbelaar Infuriated With Rafael Benitez For Ruining His Former Club

Liverpool legend Bruce Grobbelaar is furious that Inter Milan manager Rafael Benitez has left the Reds in ruins.

The South African goalkeeper is enraged with the Spaniard’s spending of £248million at Liverpool and then leaving the Anfield club in shambles.

Grobbelaar believes that Benitez should have been fired after he failed qualify for the Champions League.

The 52-year-old is nervous about the future of Liverpool and is worried that current Anfield stars Steven Gerrard, Fernando Torres and Javier Mascherano will flee from the sinking ship.

“The Liverpool ship has been rocking because the person who left has spent £248m and look at the players we have got,” Grobbelaar told the Daily Star.

“As a Liverpool fan, I’m really sick that this has happened.

“He’s wasted money and then turns around and says you have to pay another £20m to get rid of him? I think that’s ludicrous.

“Why? Because he wanted his backroom staff to go with him. Well, he’s now got his backroom staff at Inter Milan. So cheerio. Bye-bye. And good luck. I’m very angry at what he’s done to my club.”

Grobbelaar, who played 440 matches in his 14 year Liverpool career, was also infuriated with the way Benitez handled himself last season.

“I’m angry when he stands up and says he can get fourth place.

“They should have fired him when that became mathematically impossible.

“He was that confident and that brash about what he could do and when he doesn’t do it it’s a smack in the face.

“There’s a huge hole in the ship and we have to block that hole.”

Kuyt Calls For Gerrard Stay

Dirk Kuyt has pleaded with Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard to stay at Anfield next season.

Gerrard's future has been the subject of intense speculation for the last few months after a disappointing campaign last term.

The likes of Real Madrid and Manchester City are thought to be waiting in the wings to sign Gerrard if the England international decides to leave his hometown club.

However, Kuyt insists it is vital the club keep hold of Gerrard as he is the heartbeat of the side.

"I wouldn't like to see Steven Gerrard go," said Kuyt.

"Everyone wants to keep Stevie at the club.

"He is the captain, he is very important and his heart is bleeding Liverpool.

"So it must be a very good offer or a very good club if he wants to leave.

"I don't know anything about this. It is just up to him, up to the club."

Kuyt also revealed he was sad to see Rafa Benitez leave Anfield earlier this summer.

Benitez left Anfield by mutual consent after six years in charge of the club.

The Spaniard has quickly found himself back in work with Inter Milan and Kuyt admits he owes Benitez a lot for improving him as a player.

"I was sad to see him go," added Kuyt

"Rafa was very important for Liverpool.

"He won the Champions League and he made me the player that I have become."

Martin Skrtel Believes Changes Were Needed Before Departure Of Rafa Benitez

Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel has become the first player to publicly discuss the departure of former Reds' manager Rafael Benitez, insisting he believes it was the right time for the Spaniard to leave.

Skrtel, who is preparing for Slovakia's World Cup 2010 game against Paraguay on Sunday, revealed Benitez sent a text to each individual player after it was announced he would be leaving Anfield.

The Spanish coach, who is now in charge of Champions League winners Inter Milan, also reserved special praise for the Slovak, thanking him for his contribution and wishing him luck for the future.

"The management needed to make some changes and they sacked Rafa [Rafael Benitez], and what can we do?" the 25-year-old told the Independent.

"Nothing. We are only players and we have to wait for the new management."

With reports linking Fulham boss Roy Hodgson with the managerial hot-seat at Anfield, Skrtel admitted he was unsure as to who will be Benitez's successor.

"I don't know. Rafa brought me to the club and I'm glad about that and I thank him for that," he added.

"Now we have to wait for the new management. We will try to do better than this season."

Liverpool finished a under-par seventh in the Premier League during 2009-10, as well as suffering early exits from both domestic cup competitions.

Liverpool's Javier Mascherano Will Snub Inter For Barcelona

Inter target Javier Mascherano wants to join Barcelona and not the Italian and European champions, according to El Mundo Deportivo.

While reports in Italy have spoken of a strong interest from Inter in the Liverpool man, conflicting voices in Spain claim Mascherano has put his interests in Barcelona.

On Friday the Argentinean midfielder told the press to "ask Rafael Benitez" in relation to the Inter move.

But the report from Spain claims he has told his close friends, including Lionel Messi that he wants to join the Camp Nou side.

Yaya Toure's possible move to Manchester City has left coach Pep Guardiola searching for a replacement for his midfield.

He tried to land Mascherano last year by offering the Reds €20m [£18m], but the then-coach Benitez rejected the proposal.

Nevertheless, Barca are trying to re-work a move because they feel Mascherano has the ideal qualities for the team.

However, the deal hinges on how much Liverpool want for him. Barcelona have already spent big this summer after landing David Villa from Valencia for €40m [£36m].

The expenditure of equity could impede progress for Mascherano.

Exclusive: Sven In Line For Fulham Job

Sven Goran Eriksson is in line for a shock return to the Premier League with Fulham - if the Londoners lose Roy Hodgson to Liverpool.

The Cottagers still haven't given up hope of keeping Hodgson away from Anfield with so much uncertainty over the future ownership of the club and limited transfer funds available.

But Fulham are making contingency plans should Hodgson depart - and Eriksson has emerged as a strong contender.

Chief executive Alistair Macintosh worked with the former England boss for a season at Manchester City before both men lost their jobs in the summer of 2008.

He is a big admirer of a manager who won championships with Gothenburg, Benfica and Lazio and who took England to successive World Cups.

Eriksson is currently in charge of the Ivory Coast at the World Cup in South Africa. But his contract expires at the end of the tournament and he would relish the chance to work again in England.

The 62-year-old has had brief spells with the Mexican national team and at Notts County since leaving City.

Eriksson still has a home in London and would enjoy a return to the bright lights of the capital and the glamour of the Premier League.

Everything hinges on Hodgson's future. The 62-year-old is working as a television pundit for the BBC at the World Cup and is keen to defuse speculation linking him to Liverpool.

But he remains the No 1 target to succeed Rafa Benitez in the Kop hot-seat after taking Fulham into Europe and to the Europa League final.

It is the kind of challenge that Hodgson would normally relish. But Liverpool have been put up for sale by owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett and there is uncertainty about who he would be working for.

A change of ownership would immediately put his appointment in doubt. And Liverpool's £350million debts mean any new boss will have limited funds for new players.

Hodgson would also be on any FA shortlist to replace Fabio Capello as England boss.

Capello's future will hinge on his ability to resurrect England's fortunes at the World Cup following draws with the United States and Algeria.

And the highly-experienced Hodgson would be in the frame to replace the Italian after spells in charge of Switzerland, Finland and the United Arab Emirates.

Liverpool Striker Torres: It's Premier League Or Barcelona

Liverpool striker Fernando Torres says his future either lies in the Premier League or with La Liga champions Barcelona, the Spanish Sport newspaper said Sunday.

That appears to have ruled out a move for the Liverpool man to Inter Milan, who have also been linked with the 26-year-old.

According to the paper, the striker has said that should he remain in the Premier League, he "wouldn't mind" joining Manchester United, Manchester City or Chelsea.

Newly-elected Barcelona president Sandro Rosell has expressed his determination to sign £70m-rated Torres, who scored 22 goals in 30 appearances for Liverpool last season. The Catalan giants are reportedly pondering a part-exchange deal involving Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

The futures of several Liverpool stars have been in doubt following a troubled season which culminated in the departure of coach Rafa Benitez.

Reds Team Up With Shanghai

Liverpool FC made one lucky supporter's dream come true in Shanghai when he was presented with a football signed by the likes of Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres.

Michael Zhu, aged 12, from Ji Nan, was the 100,000th visitor to the Liverpool Pavillion in Shanghai and he was delighted to receive his special prize.

"My uncle lives in Bristol, so if I get the chance to go the UK I would love to visit Liverpool," he said.

"It looks like a great place, and has some really beautiful buildings. I want to take my younger brother to watch LFC play football too!"

Oliver Hayakawa Director of The Liverpool Shanghai Partnership, said: "It's a fantastic achievement to hit the 100,000th visitor mark only five weeks into World Expo.

"The Pavilion is attracting around 2,700 visitors per day, which is far more than other city pavilions in the Urban Best Practice Area. People are having a really great experience and telling their friends and family, which is generating more and more visitors."

The signed football was one of a number of exclusive prizes the Pavilion has to offer through the course of the Expo which runs until the end of October this year.

There are 59 cities exhibiting alongside Liverpool in the Urban Best Practice Area at the World Expo including the likes of Barcelona, Cairo and Venice.

Liverpool's presence at Expo 2010 is being led by Liverpool Vision in partnership with the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA), Liverpool City Council, and the Liverpool Shanghai Partnership.