Friday, June 25, 2010

Reds Eye Up Rijkaard understands Liverpool have lined up a move for Galatasaray boss Frank Rijkaard as they search for a new manager.

The Reds are still hunting a replacement for Rafa Benitez following the Spaniard's departure from Anfield earlier this month.

A number of names have been linked with the Anfield hot-seat, including Fulham boss Roy Hodgson and former Real Madrid coach Manuel Pellegrini and now Rijkaard has come under consideration from the Liverpool board.

Former Holland international Rijkaard is regarded as one of the best coaches in Europe following his success at Barcelona, where he won two Spanish titles and the UEFA Champions League during his tenure at Camp Nou.

Sources in Turkey claim Liverpool have approached Galatasaray twice in the last week to seek permission to talk to Rijkaard, but that the Turkish club have rejected their overtures.

Rijkaard, who took over at Galatasaray in June 2009, has just a year to run on his current deal, meaning Liverpool may not have to fork out a high compensation fee if they can agree a deal with Galatasaray for the 47-year-old.

The Dutchman is believed to be keen on managing in the Premier League at some stage in his career, but Galatasaray are reluctant to lose his services.

Liverpool are keen to sort out their managerial situation as soon as possible and they could be forced look elsewhere if Galatasaray fail to release Rijkaard.

Liverpool FC Will Tell Barcelona Fernando Torres Is Not For Sale

Liverpool will resist any offers for Fernando Torres.

Reports from Spain claim Barcelona are preparing a £40 million plus bid for the Spain international.

The La Liga champions paid Valencia £36 million for Torres’ international strike partner David Villa last month.

Villa’s capture was thought to cool Barca’s interest in Torres but the Catalan giants want to unite the pair at club level also.

Torres is said to be new Barcelona president Sandro Rosell’s number one target.

Rosell is prepared to test Liverpool’s resolve by offering Zlatan Ibrahimovic in a player plus cash deal.

The Nou Camp club are likely to receive a frosty reception from Liverpool, however, who have continually maintained the star striker is not for sale.

Barcelona’s interest in Torres has come to light just days after defender Gerard Pique urged his club to try and capture the former Atletico Madrid man.

Juventus Target Liverpool Midfielder Albert Riera

Juventus have set their sights on Liverpool midfielder Albert Riera, hoping the strengthen their midfield prior to the season beginning.

Riera struggled to find space in the Reds' starting XI, as former coach Rafael Benitez did not allow the player much game time.

The 28-year-old's arrival at the Bianconeri will depend on the sale of midfielder Tiago and defender Fabio Grosso to Atletico Madrid, according to SportItalia.

A figure of approximately €7-8 million is said to be enough to see the Reds allow the player to leave the side.

German teams Hamburg and Stuttgart are also interested in the Spanish international.

Arsenal Consider Shock £12m Liverpool Star Bid

Arsenal are rumoured to be considering a bid for Liverpool winger Ryan Babel as they look to take advantage of the uncertainty at Anfield to capture a player that Arsene Wenger has long been an admirer of. The 23 year old Dutch international has failed to impress in three seasons on Merseyside and has been linked with a move away from the club as they look to garner funds from player sales.

Many clubs have been linked with moves for the former Ajax man with Birmingham City stumping up a sizeable bid for the talented but inconsistent performer. As yet no offer has been high enough for Liverpool to consider accepting but given that the Gunners have money to spend this summer they may well be able to make an offer that is hard to refuse.

Christian Purslow has stated that no players will be sold until a new boss is appointed but when that vacant position is filled a move from the north London club may well get near to the £10-12m valuation the club has placed on their misfiring star.

Ryan Babel’s long term friend Robin Van Persie will no doubt be keen to see his countryman join him at the Emirates and given that Wenger is looking to bring in established experienced players in to help end a five year silverware-less streak then a move for the Amsterdam born speed king.

RBS Urges Liverpool Sale Patience

Royal Bank of Scotland Group says Liverpool fans must be patient and allow time for chairman Martin Broughton to find the right new owners for the club.

Supports angry at the tenure of Americans George Gillett and Tom Hicks have been contacting the bank since March urging it to restrict the club’s credit facilities. Liverpool owes RBS and Wachovia £237m.

Gillett and Hicks put the club up for sale in April and brought in former British Airways chairman Broughton to oversee the process.

Broughton said in an interview at the time that he was hopeful a sale could be completed before the start of the new Premier League season in August.

But in an emailed response to fans, RBS’s head of public affairs Roger Lowry said: “This [sale] process needs to be allowed sufficient time to maximize the chances of the club being sold to ownership capable of realizing its long-term potential.

“We are confident that the chairman and the board will be mindful of the need to avoid any unnecessary delay in concluding a sale, as it is in no one’s interest to risk deterioration in the performance of the club prior to it being sold.

“I appreciate that the club’s finances have been a source of frustration for many supporters but it is in the interest of the fans, the club and the bank that we continue to support it through this process to ensure its longevity for all concerned.”

Roy Hodgson Flying Back Home To Finalise Deal To Become New Liverpool Boss

Fulham boss Roy Hodgson is flying back to England hoping to seal the deal to become Liverpool’s next manager.

Hodgson was the most likely candidate to replace England manager Fabio Capello if the Three Lions had crashed out of the World Cup on Wednesday and the Italian was forced to resign.

The Cottagers' manager has been the Reds number one target to replace Rafael Benitez, who left Anfield to lead Inter Milan next season, and Liverpool made an official move for Hodgson last week, according to The Mirror.

Negotiations between Hodgson and Liverpool have stalled as the Fulham boss is currently working as a BBC pundit at the World Cup.

However, Hodgson is returning to England to complete his move to Liverpool, with club officials planning to announce the deal within the next two days.

Liverpool have talked to numerous candidates including Aston Villa boss Martin O’Neill, former Real Madrid manager Manuel Pellegrini and Alex McLeish of Birmingham City.

Reds legend Kenny Dalglish and managing director Christian Purslow were given the responsibility of finding a new manager and the two decided that Hodgson was the best choice for Liverpool.

England And Liverpool FC Captain Steven Gerrard Helps The Nation Smile Again

Steven Gerrard believes England have started to answer their critics as they moved into the last 16 at the World Cup.

A first half Jermain Defoe goal was enough to beat Slovenia in Port Elizabeth to see Fabio Capello’s team finish second in Group C behind the USA who beat Algeria 1-0 in Pretoria.

Consecutive draws against the American’s and Algeria had threatened England’s progress in South Africa.

Gerrard had questioned the desire of the team ahead of the final group match, insisting the supporters deserved much more.

His rallying call had the desired effect and now the Liverpool and England captain wants more of the same in the knockout stage when they face Germany in Bloemfontein on Sunday.

“We did everything that could be asked for,” said Gerrard.

“We showed passion, fight, team spirit, togetherness and quality as well. We thoroughly deserved to go through.

“We’ve done this before as when our backs are against the wall and there are people doubting us we roll our sleeves up and produce the goods, but we need to do that all of the time to get to the final stages of the tournament.

”We need to find consistency now, especially in the knockout stages because if we perform like we did against Algeria then I don’t think we will get another chance.”

England missed a host of chances to settle the match before enduring some nervy moments as Slovenia put together a late charge.

“When you need to win a game and when you don’t finish teams off you’re going to be be anxious at the end,” admitted Gerrard.

“But I thought all the players that started the game and all the subs were terrific.

“We need to find consistency now in the knock-out stages.

“I think if we play like we did on Wednesday and keep listening to the manager and keep delivering what he’s asking we’ve got the quality you need to win football matches, anything can happen.”

Gerrard started on the left of a four-man midfield as Capello looked to accommodate Frank Lampard and Gareth Barry in the middle.

The Italian has been criticised for not utilising Gerrard in his favoured central role but the midfielder was pleased with his performance.

Wayne Rooney is yet to score, however, but Gerrard was quick to defend the Manchester United striker.

He said: “I felt very comfortable and I am very happy with my form throughout the tournament so far but I don’t think it’s fair though to point out any individuals from today as all the players and all the substitutes that came on were terrific.

“Wayne’s had a bit of criticism over the last couple of games but today he worked his socks off and showed his quality.

“I know goals are around the corner for him.

“If we play like we did, stick together, keep trying to improve and keep listening to the manager – because his ideas and what he wants from the team are spot on – and deliver what he’s asking then we will be difficult to beat.

“We have the quality in the team to win football matches.”

Hillsborough Files Face Delay

The new coalition government today issued its support for the release of previously unseen Hillsborough files as it was revealed it could be another 18 months before they are disclosed to the public.

The Hillsborough Independent Panel had hoped the papers would be available by the spring of this year, but it is now believed the proposal will be reworked, with publication expected in early 2012.

There were some fears that the project could lose momentum after Labour lost power, however, the Conservative and Lib-Dem coalition government has today given the first indication it is firmly in support of the panel.

A spokesman for the Home Office said: "The panel has made a good start on the complex and challenging process of releasing the mass of material relating to the Hillsborough disaster that has remained hidden from the public for more than 20 years.

"Positive and productive work is ongoing between the panel members, the families and public partners including South Yorkshire Police and Sheffield City Council.

"But full public disclosure will not happen overnight.

"The panel wants to achieve disclosure as quickly as possible, but is absolutely determined to get the process right."

Margaret Aspinall, chairwoman from the Hillsborough Family Support Group, added: "We are in agreement with one report at the end of the process, so long as the files are looked at fully.

"We trust the panel implicitly to get on with this mammoth task and we will be meeting them on occasions along the way.

"Hopefully, it won't take longer than the two years which has been set aside."

Sheila Coleman, spokeswoman for the Hillsborough Justice Campaign, said: "I wouldn't be surprised if documents weren't released as we proceed as it would open up to people challenging the evidence which could lead to complications in their eyes.

"The government wants this to be a smooth exercise."