Monday, June 28, 2010

Dirk Kuyt Warns He Will Show No Mercy To Liverpool Teammate Martin Skrtel

Dirk Kuyt has warned his Liverpool team-mate Martin Skrtel that nothing is going to stop Holland storming into the World Cup quarter-finals.

Kuyt comes face to face with his Anfield pal when the Dutch take on Slovakia in Durban on Monday.

'We have a lot of confidence now because not only have we won all our qualifying games but all our games in the group stage as well,' said Kuyt.

'We can still do a lot better. Martin is a fantastic defender but I'll be ready for him. I already played against Daniel Agger in the group and we beat his Denmark team.

'It's a bit strange because you're used to training every day with each other, playing every game with each other, and now we play against each other.

'But that's the World Cup. The best players are here and we have to make the best of it and I think we will do well.'

Didier Deschamps To Snub Liverpool As He Plans To Extend Marseille Stay

Olympique de Marseille coach Didier Deschamps has declared that he is hoping to stay in charge of the French club in the future.

The retired midfielder has been linked with the Liverpool hot-seat after masterminding Marseille's league success in his first year at the helm of the club. UK revealed earlier today the Reds had turned to Deschamps after negotiations with Fulham boss Roy Hodgson hit a brick wall.

However, Deschamps has revealed he is not seeking a move away from OM and stressed he has already begun talks with the club's hierarchy to prolong his stay.

"We have held discussions," Deschamps told La Provence. "I am happy at OM, I am not there for just one year. A coach must be there for the long haul, and that is my wish."

Anfield Is Ready For Roy Hodgson

Roy Hodgson will be appointed Liverpool’s new boss in time to welcome some of the players back for pre-season training on Friday.

It is believed the majority of Liverpool’s senior players are happy with Hodgson’s impending arrival, but they won’t be back at Anfield until the end of July following a break after the World Cup.

While managing director Christian Purslow has been concentrating on finding Rafa Benitez’s successor, chairman Martin Broughton has been focused on attracting buyers to take over from George Gillett and Tom Hicks.

One of Broughton’s tasks has been to knock down Hicks’ claims that the Americans were looking for £800million.

He has been in advanced talks with parties in the Middle East, including Dubai International Capital, and believes a deal could be done for £500m.

Kuyt Reveals Reds Doubts

Liverpool striker Dirk Kuyt has admitted he is unsure where his future lies after rumours suggested he could be about to leave the club.

The Dutchman - currently on duty with his national team at the World Cup finals - has been linked with a move to Serie A side Inter Milan.

Any switch for the front man to Italy would see him work under Rafa Benitez, who left Liverpool in the close season after six years at the helm to take over the job vacated by Jose Mourinho.

The Reds have yet to announce the Spaniard's successor, leaving Kuyt in limbo and unsure as to where he will be plying his trade next season.

"I'm just focusing myself on the World Cup," said the 29-year-old.

"I still have a long-term contract with Liverpool and I'm just focused on the World Cup. What happens at Liverpool, we'll see.

"I haven't spoken to him (Benitez). I've had a few text messages but they were more like 'good luck for the games' and 'well done'."

Benitez's exit from the Anfield hotseat has led to uncertainty over several of Liverpool's star names, including captain Steven Gerrard and striker Fernando Torres.

Equal doubt remains over who will be managing the Merseysiders next season, as reports suggest Roy Hodgson, Frank Rijkaard and Didier Deschamps are the key contenders to land the position.

The financial situation also adds to the turbulence and Kuyt refused to rule out making an exit after seeing the man who brought him to the club also leave.

Kuyt was a £9million buy from Feyenoord in 2006 under Benitez and the player conceded the managerial position - as well Liverpool's ability to mix it in the transfer market - could be prevailing factors in his decision.

When asked about a move to Inter to link up with Benitez, Kuyt said: "We have to see what happens. I also have a great time at Liverpool and I still have a two-year contract."

He added: "My focus is on the World Cup but I'm still happy to play at Liverpool. But who knows what happens in the future? We have to see.

"If the possibility is there...we have to see what happens with the new manager at Liverpool. Hopefully we'll get new players but we'll see what the future is for me."

Inter To Offer Cambiasso To Liverpool In Mascherano Deal

Inter Milan are willing to offer Esteban Cambiasso to Liverpool as a makeweight to sign Javier Mascherano.

The Treble winners are expecting to sell Brazilian full-back Maicon to Real Madrid for some €28-30 million in the coming days, and Inter boss Rafa Benitez’s want to use the available cash to snap up the Argentine hard-man.

However, Inter Milan are not prepared to meet the £30-million asking price for Mascherano, and will offer the Anfield outfit Cambiasso in a bid to get Liverpool to drop their demands.

Barcelona are also apparently interested in 26-year-old Mascherano as a replacement for Manchester City-bound Yaya Toure.

Although Liverpool are expected to allow Mascherano to leave, the club's managing director, Christian Purslow, has said that no one will go anywhere until the new yet-to-be-appointed manager gives his approval. Cambiasso, 29, was left out of Diego Maradona’s World Cup squad but he is still considered to be a top-class central midfielder.

His contract at Inter expires in 2013, and he is valued at € 15M-20M.

Inter Milan Boss Rafa Benitez Wants Agger, Lucas And Johnson

Newly installed Inter Milan boss is rumoured to be planning an audacious triple Anfield swoop as he looks to make his own mark on his San Siro squad. The former Liverpool boss is also worried that a number of his Champions League winning side may head to Real Madrid to re-join Jose Mourinho at the Bernabeu and is therefore looking to the Merseyside club for potential additions.

The Spaniard is also looking to help reverse the ageing look of the Serie A side and after six years at the Anfield helm he is understandable well aware of the talents some of his former charges possess. With Brazilian right back Maicon supposedly set for a move to Real Madrid Rafa is hoping to persuade England man Glen Johnson to leave the financially stricken Premier League side to join him in Italy.

He also hopes to bring Danish international centre back Daniel Agger and Brazilian midfielder Lucas to the club and believes that the period of uncertainty may make potential purchases a distinct possibility. Benitez will be handed a large transfer budget in the hopes that he can continue the fine work Mourinho was doing at the Milan giants.

Christian Purslow has insisted that no player will be sold until a new boss is brought in and that may be when Benitez decides to make his interest known officially. The trio cost Liverpool a combined total of £29.8m but could not command a far higher valuation but the Italian club are reportedly financially well off enough to make bids that could well persuade Messrs Tom Hicks and George Gillett consider a sale.

The Little Boy Who Met Torres

When Rameez Mahomed entered the McDonald's player escort program, he didn't realize it would lead to his meeting his soccer hero, Fernando Torres.

The little boy from Johannesburg was one of 23 children who escorted the Spanish and Honduras players on to Ellis Park on Monday.

Cameras trained on Torres captured the Spanish talisman as he struck up a conversation with Rameez, 10. The two were pictured conversing animatedly from inside the tunnel.

Rameez said holding Torres's hand was something he had been hoping for ever since he was told he would be an escort, but he never dreamt it would happen.

"The players came out and they were all mixed up. I was standing third in the line and I was supposed to be holding Sergio Ramos's hand. Then I felt someone grab my hand and I looked up and it was Torres."

Rameez says the Spanish striker initiated the conversation by asking him his name and from there they continued talking about a range of topics, including Torres's nickname, his boots and Rameez's soccer knowledge and traded questions about each other's hairstyles.

The Grade 4 pupil at King Edward V Preparatory School, said he began to "have a feeling" that he would be the one to hold the hand of the iconic player.

"While we were on the bus I started to feel nervous. I thought, my dream is going to come true."

A fan of English premiership side Liverpool as well as Spain, Rameez said he took the opportunity to ask Torres a burning question - would he leave Liverpool for Manchester City next season?

"He told me he would never go to Manchester City because his heart was with Liverpool and also because he gets along well with Steven Gerrard."

Rameez's mother, Sabera, said she was stunned to see her son walking out with Torres. "He idolises Torres. As a mother, to see that, it was really an overwhelming moment. My hands were shaking so badly you can see it on the video I took," she said.

The little boy said he wasn't at all nervous. "I wasn't nervous, I was just excited to be holding the hand of one of the best players in the world and not only the best, but my favourite as well."

Ace Dreaming Of German Glory

There was mixed fortunes for Liverpool's racing maestro James Walker during Saturday's Superleague Formula qualifying in Nurburgring, Germany.

Things were looking promising for our racer until brake trouble on the car hindered his progress in the final qualifying round.

The Reds ace had been in impressive form during first round of qualifying when he was third quickest in Group A, only to then suffer a brake problem in the quarter-final showdown.

AS Roma will start in pole position for Sunday's glamour race and French driver Julien Jousse beat the in-form Chris van der Drift (Olympiacos) in the quarter final and Yelmer Buurman (AC Milan) in the knockout stages of qualifying.

He was then faster than Robert Doornbos of Brazilian giants Corinthians to get pole position.