Saturday, July 10, 2010

New Liverpool Boss Promises Fans New Signings

New Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson has assured the fans he will strengthen his squad in the coming weeks.

The former Fulham boss is adamant to avoid any repeat of the dressing room friction that forced Rafael Benitez to admit, midway through last season, that his players’ body language wasn’t all it might have been.

"It’s vital all the players are fighting for the same cause and it’s my job to find the right combination of players to bring success back to Liverpool," said Hodgson.

"I want Melwood to be a place where the players enjoy coming to work because of the training and the way they’re treated.

"Hopefully, over the coming weeks and months, we will make some changes to the team. It’s important to be able to bring in new players to freshen everything up and keep the others on their toes.

"But it’s not right to talk about strengths and weaknesses based on last season because the year before, with virtually the same players, they might have won the league with a bit more luck. So I will give them all a fair opportunity."

Mascherano To Hand Hodgson Transfer Request

Argentina captain Javier Mascherano will inform new Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson in the next 48 hours that he wants to leave Anfield.

Hodgson has expressed confidence that Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard will stay after opening talks with him since his return from the World Cup. But his optimism over Gerrard's future will be tempered by the news that there appears no changing the mind of influential holding midfielder Mascherano.

"Javier is looking, for sure, to leave Liverpool," A well placed source told Soccernet. "There is no doubt that at the moment he wants to go. Await developments, as Javier has made up his mind."

The only reason Mascherano might stay would be if the clubs interested in him fail to meet Liverpool's valuation.

Barcelona has long been linked with Mascherano but the financial situation at the Nou Camp is far from stable. Inter Milan are looking the most likely destination as Rafa Benitez is keen to be reunited with his hard tackling midfield dynamo.

Roy Hodgson Admits He Faces Battle To Keep Fernando Torres

Roy Hodgson has admitted he must persuade Fernando Torres to spurn offers to leave Liverpool by proving that the club are capable of progressing next season.

Hodgson, appointed as successor to Rafael Benítez on July 1, insists he is “confident” of keeping captain Steven Gerrard at Anfield, despite acknowledging the prospect of bids for the England midfielder.

But with Chelsea preparing the ground for a £50 million move for Torres, Hodgson has conceded that the 26 year-old’s Liverpool future is uncertain and a matter that must be addressed as soon as the player returns from a post-World Cup holiday next month.

Hodgson said: “Fernando is a wonderful striker and I understand the fans’ concerns about his future.

“Unfortunately, with the World Cup still on, I won’t be able to meet him face to face for another few weeks.

“When I do meet him, I will be doing everything I possibly can to convince him that Liverpool is the place to be. If he sees progress, I am confident that he won’t want to go anywhere else. I think he understands the club and the city.”

Liverpool’s £351.4 million debt and the attempts by their American owners, Tom Hicks and George Gillett, to sell the club have ensured a turbulent backdrop to Hodgson’s installation as manager.

The departure of Benítez was a result of the failure to qualify for next season’s Champions League, however, and that is likely to prove the biggest obstacle for Hodgson to overcome in his attempts to retain Torres and Gerrard.

But despite Real Madrid’s determination to lure Gerrard from Merseyside, Hodgson claims that his discussions with the player last week were positive and encouraging.

Hodgson said: “I anticipate there might be a situation where other big clubs will try and sign Steven, but he gave me no indication that he wanted to leave.

“Nobody at the club wants him to go so I will be doing my utmost to make sure he stays. I am confident he will.

“At Liverpool, I am lucky to have genuine world class attacking talent like Gerrard and Torres, who are both highly intelligent footballers.

“Both instinctively know when to move into different areas with a tactical awareness, so I will be encouraging them to play a natural game.”

Hodgson, who insists it is “crucial” that Kenny Dalglish retains an involvement at the club as a link between the first-team and the academy, aims to draw on Liverpool’s glorious history from the Seventies and Eighties as his blueprint for the team.

He said: “The Liverpool sides of the Seventies and especially the Eighties achieved greatness because all the players had similar values to one another both on and off the pitch.

“That has been the strength of the club for so many years and has been the mantra which has taken them so far and made it one of the most important football institutions in the world.

“It’s vitally important to make sure all the players especially are fighting for the same cause and it’s my job to find the right combination of players to bring success back to Liverpool.

“I want Melwood [the training ground] to be a place where the players enjoy coming to work because of the training and the way they’re treated.”

Fiorentina Wait On Liverpool's Emiliano Insua

Fiorentina are hopeful of concluding a move for Liverpool left-back Emiliano Insua, but they are still waiting for the bureaucractic wheels to start turning in England.

Il Giornale della Toscana reports the deal has seen a rapid deceleration because new Reds boss Roy Hodgson is taking his time evaluating his squad for next season - leaving the Viola to wait.

Before he decides who should stay or go, Hodgson wants a clear and through inspection of the resources at his disposal before granting freedom for any move.

Previous reports from both England and Italy claimed Fiorentina had struck an accord with Liverpool over a €4 million deal, but the Premier League club need to find a replacement for Insua before he can leave, having already seen Fabio Aurelio and Andrea Dossena flee.

Kuyt Pledges His Future To Anfield

Dirk Kuyt has provided new Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson with a piece of good news by declaring his intention to remain at Anfield next season.

After replacing Rafa Benitez as Liverpool manager, Hodgson has been forced to fend off suggestions that his primary task will be to retain his best players before the transfer window closes at the end of August.

Fernando Torres is strongly linked with Chelsea, Steven Gerrard is believed to be interesting Real Madrid and Javier Mascherano is ready to tell Hodgson he wants to leave Merseyside in search of a new challenge.

However, Kuyt, who is currently preparing for Sunday's World Cup final between Netherlands and Spain, has no intention of leaving the club.

"Of course I want to stay," Kuyt said. "Liverpool is a great club with a great history. Unfortunately in my four years I haven't won anything but hopefully in the future, I will still have that chance.

"We will have to see what happens but hopefully the manager wants me to stay. I spoke to people at the club and I know he wants to speak with me. But it is very difficult at the moment because we are so busy and focus on what lies ahead."

Jovanovic Delighted To Complete Liverpool FC Transfer

Milan Jovanovic has put pen to paper on a three-year deal with Liverpool.

The Serbia international has finally completed his switch from Standard Liege and says he is now looking forward to linking up with his new teammates on the pre-season tour of Switzerland.

Jovanovic arrives at Anfield on a Bosman transfer after his contract with Liege expired on July 1st.

The 29-year-old was targeted initially by former Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez.

It was thought Benitez’s departure last month may have seen the deal called off, with suggestions the new Inter coach may try to hijack the move and lure Jovanovic to the San Siro.

That alerted several clubs including Birmingham who were said to be keen on pairing Jovanovic with his international strike partner Nikola Zigic who moved to St Andrews in May.

However, Jovanovic reaffirmed his desire to join Liverpool last week.

Jovanovic will join new manager Roy Hodgson and the squad in Switzerland next week.

He said: “It is an honour for me to sign for one of the biggest clubs in football.

“I cannot wait to start working with the manager and I’m looking forward to joining up with my new team-mates on our Swiss training camp.”

Described as a player with pace and good dribbling ability, the left-footed Jovanovic can play on the wing or as a striker.

Jovanovic will boost the club’s attacking options while also filling the gap left by Yossi Benayoun’s transfer to Chelsea.

Belgian Footballer of the Year two years ago and 2009 Golden Shoe winner, Jovanovic scored the winner in a 1-0 win over Germany at the World Cup.

What his arrival means for David Ngog is not yet clear however.

Newly promoted West Bromich Albion are interested in taking the Frenchman on loan but Ngog said: “I am not aware of it yet, but you never know.

“This season is a big season for me. I need to be consistent, play more and score more.

“We have a new manager, who is a great manager, so we have to impress him.”

Reina: My Text Chat With Dirk

Pepe Reina today lifted the lid on a text exchange between him and Dirk Kuyt ahead of the World Cup final on Sunday.

Two Liverpool players will return to Melwood later this month with World Cup medals - either Reina and Fernando Torres or Kuyt and Ryan Babel.

And the banter has already begun between our Spanish and Dutch contingent.

"I have been in touch with Dirk and I heard from him before and after the semi-final," said Reina.

"He wished us luck and now it is 100 per cent certain that Liverpool will have a World Cup winner.

"That is something to be proud of at least but hopefully on Sunday Dirk won't be that happy."

While Spain were many people's favourites heading into the tournament, Holland have been somewhat of a surprise package in South Africa.

Kuyt has been instrumental in the Dutch reaching their third World Cup final, while the likes of Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder have also excelled.

Reina knows Spain will have to be at their very best to prevail.

"We all know Dirk's game," said the custodian. "He does an awful lot of work and we know how important he is for the team.

"He is a top-class player. It is going to be really tough for us to stop him on Sunday because, as everyone knows, he never stops running.

"Holland has a lot of strengths. I don't have enough fingers to count them all.

"If they are in the final by beating good teams like Brazil it is because they fully deserve to be there. Sunday is going to be really difficult."

Spain have never played in a World Cup final - and victory would also make them the first side since West Germany in 1972 and 1974 to follow a European Championship triumph with glory in football's biggest tournament.

Reina added: "We have made history because we have reached our first final, but we want more than that. Finals mean nothing unless you win them. We have to do that. That is our target.

"The match against Germany was a complete performance but there is a lot of work to do between now and Sunday.

"There is a lot of pressure on us because we won Euro 2008. We have always been one of the favourites. Now we are favourites once again.

"But the main thing is to remain loyal in the way we play and be confident it will bring us the right result.

"We have to keep the same philosophy that brought us here in the first place.

"It is hard to win a World Cup final and we are just one step away."

Twente Coach Admits He Would Be Forced To Consider Liverpool Offer For Bryan Ruiz

Twente head coach Michel Preud'homme has admitted he would consider a bid for £11 million-rated Liverpool target Bryan Ruiz.

Ruiz, 24, is rumoured to be at the top of new manager Roy Hodgson's wish list after his 24 goals sealed Twente's first Eredivisie title last season.

The Costa Rica international has hinted he would be prepared to move to a top side in Spain or England, and Belgian legend Preud'homme has declared he would be willing to do business if the price was right.

"The uncertainty for Twente is annoying, but we have to wait to see what happens," Preud'homme said to reporters.

"If he [Ruiz] gets an interesting offer from Spain or England, he will have to think about it."

Huge Leak On Merseyside

Today a hosepipe ban has been imposed on Merseyside. If you are unaware of what that is, it basically means that the use of hosepipes to water your garden or clean your car is outlawed until further notice. This is because the first 6 months of this year have been the driest for a long time. The water sources which fill Merseyside’s reservoirs are being diverted to give the resevoir in Cumbria, which supplies water to Manchester, a boost in resources.

United Utilities have asked customers to keep an eye out for any leaks and to notify them immediately.

So to get the ball rolling, I can think of one huge leak in Liverpool. A leak that is having the complete opposite effect on Manchester, it’s surrounding area and even spreading as far down the country as parts of London. These areas are being given the chance to flourish because of this leak, and it has been going for a while. This leak is located in the Anfield area.

Liverpool Football Club is leaking at a rate of £110,000 a day in interest repayments to the Royal Bank of Scotland. The amount of this leak is now amounting to somewhere in the area of £400m. This leak is not coming from the pockets of the ‘custodians’ of Liverpool Football Club, as they would have you believe. It is coming from the pockets of the fans. The money that fans pay that used to fund player purchases or a new stadium. It has been leaked from the transfer fees that have been brought in from selling players, contrary to what they would have you believe. It is being leaked out of a hole that Tom Hicks and George Gillett created when they said that they wouldn’t.

And by the sound of recent developments, no-one else seems to be diverting their supply to counter our deficiency any time soon. As a result of this, the leak is going to get bigger and bigger until there is nothing left to leak.

There have been leaks of this nature before. Leaks that have seen administrators being put in place to asset strip such football clubs as Leeds United or Portsmouth, and with nothing but grave consequences. We cannot let this happen. If Tom Hicks and George Gillett feel that they can carry on any longer by being blindly funded by the fans of this football club, they will. They will eek out every last penny from the money that is given to them by supporters who actually think the money is going towards something good for the football club.

Not a Penny More.