Saturday, June 26, 2010

Liverpool Set To Announce Roy Hodgson As Manager

Liverpool expect to finalise the appointment of Roy Hodgson as the club's new manager following his return from South Africa today. The Fulham manager, who has been commenting at the World Cup for the BBC, has been the frontrunner for the Liverpool job since Rafael Benítez left Anfield this month and could be confirmed as the Spaniard's successor within days.

Liverpool have considered several candidates for the position, including the former Real Madrid and Villarreal coach Manuel Pellegrini, but Kenny Dalglish, the club legend asked to conduct the managerial search alongside the managing director, Christian Purslow, is not in the running.

Anfield officials are confident of securing a deal with Hodgson now that he has returned from South Africa and with his prospects of being offered the chance to succeed Fabio Capello as England manager diminished by the national team's World Cup victory over Slovenia.

It is understood the make-up of Hodgson's backroom staff is one of the issues to be resolved prior to his appointment, with the 62-year-old keen to bring the Fulham assistant manager, Mike Kelly, with him to Merseyside.

While Liverpool await the arrival of their next manager, Yossi Benayoun is close to leaving Anfield for Chelsea after the two clubs agreed a £5m fee for the Israel international.

Liverpool's Javier Mascherano Unlikely To Join Inter

Inter president Massimo Moratti has said Javier Mascherano is unlikely to arrive from Liverpool.

"Mascherano is strong, but it is improbable that he will come. He costs too much and plus it's not said that Liverpool will sell him," he told Rai.

Inter have been linked with the Anfield midfielder as he is admired by their ne coch, former Reds manage Rafael Benitez.

But Moratti is looking elsewhere for reinforcements.

"Felipe Melo? It's an intriguing idea which we are working on."

And the chief hopes revamping the squad will lead to further success on the trophy front.

"We want to start well and win everything even next season. Benitez is different to others. He is good and he is a hard worker," he concluded.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic Not Enough To Tempt Liverpool Into Barcelona Swap Deal For Fernando Torres

Liverpool are set to spurn Barcelona's offer to swap Zlatan Ibrahimovic for Spanish superstar Fernando Torres.

Incoming president Sandro Rosell is reported to have put the hot-shot at the top of his wish list as he attempts to make his mark at the Nou Camp. The giant Swede is understod to be surplus to requirments after failing to ignite since last summer's £65 million switch from Inter.

According to the Liverpool Daily Post, La Liga champions are set to test the Anfield outfit's resolve by offering Ibrahimovic plus cash for Torres. The Merseysiders are expected to give the bid short shrift, however, after they decided to hold on to their main striker amid interest from Chelsea and Manchester City.

Liverpool Set For Financial Boost As £16.5m Trio Head For Anfield Exit

Whilst almost every player in our squad has been linked with a move to Inter Milan its good to see some others clubs reportedly taking an interest as well. Without a manager at the reins, which is just ridiculous, there are no doubt loads of teams attempting to to deals whilst no one is looking but Christian Purslow says no one will leave until the vacant position is filled so who am I to argue.

That being said this source suggests that this trio is on their way out which brings a mixture of happiness and sadness in equal measure.

First let’s start with Albert Riera. The Spaniard will surely leave this summer as he has been pretty damn average since the first day he arrived at the club. Too often the winger makes the wrong decision and almost always fails to deliver. There is no doubting the former Espanyol man has some talent its just getting a little boring waiting to see him use that ability whilst wearing a Liverpool shirt. A move to Serie A beckons.

Emiliano Insua is a good little player. Young and eager to get better I wouldn’t want to see the Argentine full back leave and I would imagine who ever the new boss is, Roy Hodgson seems favourite to take the job today, they will probably try to keep the pint sized 21 year old.

That bring us to Yossi Benayoun. It seemed he was all set to join Chelsea and it does seem a deal is quite far away down the line to being completed. This will be a tragedy in my book. The Israeli always makes things happen and tries his heart out every single time he takes to the field, something you can not easily say about everyone else at the club. If he goes to Stamford Bridge then they will have netted themselves an adaptable player who will give you 100% week in, week out.

Who else do my fellow Liverpool fans think will leave, and perhaps more importantly who do they WANT to see pack their bags and get going?

Liverpool In Surprise Move For Wolves Goalkeeper Hennessey

Liverpool are looking to sign Wolves goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey and have already reportedly had a £2million bid turned down for the Wales stopper.

23-year-old Hennessey broke into the Wolves side during the 2007-8 season. Although he was initially Mick McCarthy’s first choice at the start of last season as the club returned to the top flight, he was dropped to the bench in favour of Marcus Hahnemann for most of the campaign.

The Sun reports that Liverpool will make a renewed bid for Hennessey, who has 25 caps for Wales, having had a £2million offer already rejected by Wolves.

Liverpool are thought to have been searching for a reliable understudy to Pepe Reina for some time, with Reading’s Adam Federici previously linked with a move to Anfield.

Stevie Ready For Penalty Pressure

Steven Gerrard today insisted he will rise to the pressure of taking a penalty if England's World Cup progress has to be decided by spot-kicks.

England face Germany in Bloemfontein on Sunday hoping to avenge the bitter memories of the 1990 World Cup and 1996 European Championships when the Germans knocked them out on penalties - and Gerrard believes England's path to the final this time around could eventually need to be settled by another nerve-shredding bout of spot-kick drama.

"I've got a feeling we might have to go to penalties at some point," said Gerrard, who himself missed for his country four years ago in the quarter-final defeat to Portugal.

"As a player at a World Cup, you've got to be prepared for a shoot-out. It's as simple as that.

"We're in the last 16 and the games, when you get further into a tournament are so tight. Hopefully we get a bit more luck this time and I take a better penalty."

England boss Fabio Capello has been instructing his players to practise penalties in training, but Gerrard while admitting it's a useful exercise he insists it's impossible to replicate the high-pressure experience of a World Cup shoot-out on the training pitch.

"When you practice penalties in training you pick a ball up and shoot within a few seconds," he added.

"But in the World Cup it's a 30-second walk from the halfway line when you've got millions and millions of viewers back home wanting you to score? You can't prepare for that.

"But what you can do is be ready and not shy away from it and have the bottle to step up there for another go, especially when you've missed one before.

"All I can say is I'll be ready. It is massive pressure. I didn't handle it in 2006.

"If I'm put in that situation again I will try and deal with the pressure a lot better.

"The manager is on to the penalty takers to make sure we're doing it properly in training and not messing around.

"He wants us to do in training what we do in a game. He said 'pick a spot and not change your mind.'

Skrtel's Slovakia Stun Italy

Martin Skrtel's Slovakia produced one of the shocks of the World Cup as they beat defending champions Italy 3-2 on Thursday afternoon.

Robert Vittek was the hero of the hour, netting a superb brace, as the Fighting Jondas held on to earn the three points and claim a spot in the last 16 on their first ever appearance at the finals.

Substitute Kamil Kopunek was also on target for Vladimir Weiss's men to ensure they finished in second place, behind Group F winners Paraguay.

Antonio Di Natale and Fabio Quagliarella were the goalscorers for the Azzurri, who will now head home following a disastrous defence of the trophy.

Everything Changed Last Season But I’ll Be Back To Liverpool, Says Rafael Benitez

Rafael Benitez has claimed ‘everything changed’ at Liverpool last season and that he will return to the city one day.

The Spaniard left Anfield by mutual consent earlier this month after a disappointing campaign in which his team finished seventh in the Premier League and failed to qualify for the Champions League just a year after narrowly missing out on the league title.

Reflecting on his six years on Merseyside, the new Inter Milan manager claims his final year at Anfield was made difficult due to changes of personnel at the club.

“This year everything changed from the beginning,” said Benitez.

“The people in the club changed and then the approach was different.

“Clearly there was the question of controlling the money we could or couldn’t spend. From the beginning of the season everything was different to in the past. We were so close to winning the title the season before. Everybody was expecting us to do something more. But we had problems from the beginning with injuries and performances. That led to a bit of frustration and you could see the atmosphere at the club was different at the end of the season.

“Now, during the summer, you can see the fans are not very happy.

“I enjoyed the first five years especially but the last year was more difficult. But the memories after six years have been really good overall.”

Despite a strained relationship with the club’s owners, Tom Hicks and George Gillett, Benitez describes his sadness at his departure and paid tribute to the Liverpool supporters.

“I was really sad to leave Liverpool,” said the 50-year-old. “It’s really sad but you have to move forward. I always say to my family that you cannot stay talking too much, or complain too much.

“The people of Liverpool are fighters and I came here fighting from the beginning until the end. I was really pleased at Liverpool where the fans were amazing. Now I have to think about the future. I must move forward and do the best for my new club.”

As Liverpool faltered last season, Benitez provided the guarantee of a top four finish. It was a promise he could not keep and the former Valencia boss admits to making mistakes during his time at the club.

“Every manager can make mistakes,” he says. “We know we made some mistakes. But if you analyse them in the context of the decision, sometimes you have to do these things.

“For example, if you play two holding midfielders maybe it’s because you don’t have the offensive midfielders you need.

“Some journalists like to analyse but don’t always know exactly what’s going on. It’s difficult to have to explain every single day. But all managers make mistakes and will continue to do so in the future.”

Benitez always maintained his family were settled in England and has said he intends to keep their home on the Wirral.

“I can guarantee one thing,” he finished. “I will not sell my house. It is our home here.

“We will come back. I don’t know when, but we will come back for sure.”

New Reds Home Shirt Is Fastest Selling In Liverpool FC History

Liverpool’s new home kit is the fastest selling in the club’s history, according to commercial director Ian Ayre.

The red Adidas shirt, which features the logo of new sponsors Standard Chartered, was launched last month.

“We’ve had what was the fastest selling shirt we’ve ever had in the new home shirt and the largest amount of orders in the fastest time, so our retail business and particularly our shirt sales have never been so good,” Ayre said.

“It’s a great shirt. Adidas did some great work with us on that. It’s got a new sponsor and I know on the day we launched we shipped 35,000 parcels to over 100 countries. That’s a record for us on day one and sales have been fantastic since then.

“I think we’ve seen historically, and we continue to see, that our fans are very loyal and are keen to keep supporting us at retail and that’s something we’re all grateful for.”

Rafa Benitez And Wife Montse Offer Parting Gift To Hoylake Cottage

As they prepare to leave for Italy former Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez and his wife Montse have offered a final donation to the Merseyside care home they have supported since arriving in the city.

The couple left a “generous” but unspecified amount to the Hoylake Cottage Day Care Appeal. It is a parting gift from the couple as Montse gives up her voluntary role of chair of Hoylake Cottage’s social events committee.

She has helped to galvanise support for a £1.5m appeal for a new day care centre for older people.

Now, Montse is house hunting and checking out schools in Milan, as Rafael prepares to take up his new job in charge at Inter Milan FC.

Montse Benitez said: “I was very close to my granny who had dementia for 10 years until she died.

“She had a nurse at home, but not everyone is so lucky which is why I wanted to help Hoylake Cottage.

“I will keep in touch with all the progress and hopefully once the new centre is built, I will come back to join in the celebrations.”

Hoylake Cottage Chair of Trustees Tony Twemlow said: “The gift from Montse and Rafa is extremely generous and we are all more grateful than we can say for their tremendous kindness.

“Their donation will go a long way to helping us to build a centre which will provide relief to older people and those who care for them at home.

“Also, I would like to say a huge thank you to Montse for her support over the years; she has been a fabulous ambassador for Hoylake Cottage and has helped us to gain much-needed support for our events and campaigns.

“I wish her and Rafa lots of success in their new life in Italy.”

Work will start later this year on the first phase of the centre demolishing part of the old building to build a new kitchen and laundry.