Sunday, July 11, 2010

Roy Wants Team Unity

Roy Hodgson has stressed the importance of team unity to our hopes of success in 2010-11.

The tactician claims he wants to instill the same mentality into his Liverpool side that was present when Bill Shankly and Bob Paisley were at the helm.

He told LFC Weekly: "It would be foolish of anyone to dismiss the importance of team spirit. The Liverpool sides of the 70s, and particularly the 80s, achieved greatness because all of 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 it has been the mantra that has taken the club so far and made it one of the most important football institutions in the world."

The Croydon-born coach highlights the negative influence individualism can have on the squad and team performance.

He added: "Bill Shankly was a socialist and he believed in the combined effort - nothing is achieved by individuals. I'm not comparing myself to Shankly at all because nobody can. But I buy into his view when it comes to managing a successful football team.

"It is vitally important to make sure all of the players are fighting for the same cause. It is my job to find the right combination of players to bring success back to Liverpool. I want Melwood to be a place where the players enjoy coming to work because of the training and the way they are treated."

Roy Hodgson Eyes Swoop For Striker Peter Crouch

Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson is eyeing a move to bring Peter Crouch back to Anfield, according to The Independent.

Crouch, 29, has been a long-term target for Hodgson from his time at Fulham and he was beaten to his signature last summer by Tottenham Hotspur. The 62-year-old could finally get his wish now he has arrived on Merseyside.

The England substitute at this summer's World Cup - who scored 22 Premier League goals in three years for the Reds - was a club favourite before he left, but his arrival would not soften the blow if superstar Fernando Torres was sold to Chelsea.

If Crouch arrives, he could form a new look strike force with £8 million-rated Juventus veteran David Trezeguet.

Villa On The Verge Of Double-Deal For Former Liverpool Duo

Aston Villa are set to sign Liverpool utility player Fabio Aurelio on a free transfer and are firm favourites to land Spurs' Robbie Keane.

Brazilian ace Aurelio, 30, is a Bosman after rejecting a pay-as-you-play deal at Anfield following a torrid time with injuries.

And Villa boss Martin O'Neill wants the star to provide cover on the left in his squad.

Aurelio, who holds an Italian passport, is experienced in the Premier League at left-back and in midfield after joining the Reds from Valencia in 2006.

He will be a useful addition to Villa's squad as left-back Wilfred Bouma has quit on a free and Nicky Shorey is up for sale.

O'Neill is also poised to move for Spurs striker Keane, 30, once Villa have raised funds by selling James Milner to Man City.

Villa owner Randy Lerner has introduced a sell-to-buy policy following record losses of £43.7m last year.

Mirrorsport revealed on March 18 Villa were eying hitman Keane this summer.

Tottenham are now aware of Villa's interest and the player would be willing to move to Villa Park but a bid is yet to be tabled.

Villa could afford Keane's £60,000-a-week wages as it is in line with their salary structure.

The 22 Names Linked To LFC

Here on, we've been keeping tabs on all the speculation regarding players rumoured to be targets for the Reds in our Media Watch section of the website.

The new manager may have only been here for just over a week, but the club has already been linked with a whole host of players from across the globe.

Of course, only Roy Hodgson and his staff know for sure which players - if any - are on his wanted list for the start of his tenure, but we've compiled a run down of the major names linked with Liverpool since the new manager was announced last week to keep you right up to date with the players allegedly interesting the Reds.

Maynor Figueroa

The Wigan left-back played every World Cup game for Honduras this summer. Despite being a model of consistency, it was his 60-yard goal against Stoke in December of last year which most Liverpool fans will remember him by.

Shaun Wright-Phillips

This is not the first time the diminutive winger has been linked with a move to Anfield. The 28-year-old adopted son of former Gunner Ian Wright has bags of experience and is an established attacking threat in the Barclays Premier League.

Peter Crouch

In what would be a shock return for the former Anfield frontman, Crouch is reportedly a target for Hodgson - who was said to be interested in the Spurs player whilst at Fulham. Brought to White Hart Lane last summer, the striker managed 13 goals in 42 appearances in all competitions.

Rene Krhin

Regarded as one of the continent's top midfield talents, Krhin is also rumoured to have been scouted by the likes of Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea. The 20-year-old Slovenian was part of his country's World Cup squad.

Damien Duff

The Irish international has displayed some of his finest form for Fulham this year. Well known to Roy Hodgson, the ex-Chelsea man - who was heavily linked with the Reds under Gerard Houllier's reign - has also shown he is as adept at left-back as he is on the wing.

Bryan Ruiz

Reported to have been heavily tracked by Hodgson during his Fulham tenure, 24-year-old Costa Rican forward Ruiz was the second top goalscorer in Eredivisie last season. A left-footed winger who plays on the right, Ruiz couples both flair and directness with goals.

Paul Scharner

Wigan utility man Paul Sharner is out of contract and looking for a new club. The first Latics player to ever reach 100 Barclays Premier League games, he spent almost five years at the JJB Stadium in which he played almost every outfield position.

Ashley Young and James Milner

The Aston Villa wide-men have both been linked with moves to Anfield this summer. Both England internationals and aged 24, Milner and Young are regarded as two of the most talented wingers in the division.

Joe Cole

The England international and former Chelsea man is on a free transfer making him one of the most highly-coveted transfer targets this summer. A winger with bags of league and European experience, Cole, 28, is excellent on the ball and renowned for being a big-game player.

Steven Taylor

The Geordie stopper has been linked after a solid season in the Championship. Now 24, Taylor is reportedly looking to move on from boyhood club Newcastle and has six years of Premier League experience with the North East outfit.

Yasuhito Endo

Endo, 30, was a standout performer for Japan during the World Cup. The Gamba Osaka midfielder has over 100 caps for his country and scored a stunning free-kick against Daniel Agger's Denmark in the group stage.

Julio Baptista

Known in the footballing world as "The Beast", the Roma striker is reportedly not part of coach Claudio Ranieri's plans for next season and it seems almost certain that he will leave the club.

Stefano Okaka

The Italian U21 international was on loan from Roma at Fulham last season and has reportedly expressed his desire to work with old boss Roy Hodgson once again.


The Ivory Coast international - who impressed during the World Cup - is reportedly a target after showing a threat on the wings for The Elephants. However, Lille would be expecting to make a significant profit on a player they bought only one year ago.

Royston Drenthe

The Dutch wide-man, now 23, signed for Real Madrid in 2007 but has failed to secure a regular run in the first team, with his spot on the left taken by Brazilian Marcelo. Bursting on to the world stage for the Jong Oranje in the 2007 European U21 Championships, Drenthe was chosen by UEFA as the player of the tournament. He is well known to current Liverpool star Ryan Babel after making a rap video with him.

Reto Ziegler

The 24-year-old, who enjoyed a spell in the Barclays Premier League with Tottenham Hotspur, has been converted into a left full-back since joining Sampdoria in 2007. He was fundamental in the Blucerchiati's fourth-place finish in Serie A, resulting in the club's first ever Champions League qualification.

David Trezeguet

The French striker has had problems with injuries over recent seasons and was limited to just 19 league appearances for Juventus last campaign, scoring seven goals. However, his signing would certainly excite Kopites and provide star cover for Fernando Torres.

Danny Murphy

Former Liverpool hero Danny Murphy has been linked with an emotional Anfield return, not only due to his affinity with ex-Fulham boss Hodgson, but also on merit.

Brede Hangeland

The Fulham defender has been heavily linked with the Reds after excelling at Fulham since his arrival from FC Copenhagen in 2008. Having an eye for Scandinavian talent, Roy Hodgson was right on the money when he brought him to London - with the defender pivotal in the club's relegation battle and subsequent European run.

Rafael van der Vaart

The Dutch star, who has been linked with Liverpool in the past, was thought to be on the outskirts of the Real Madrid team after the club spent heavily on Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka last summer. Despite this, the trequartista-styled player, who comes with a great touch and an eye for goal, did well for the Madrid-based club last year and is supposedly interesting the Reds once again.

Gilberto Silva

The former Arsenal man has been linked with a return to the Barclays Premier League after notable displays of defensive solidity for both Panathinaikos FC and Brazil at the World Cup. Now 33, the holding midfielder boasts a wealth of experience.

Most rumours will come to nothing, but there's nothing football fans like more than discussing the day's gossip - so make sure you log on to the 'Media Watch' section of every day for the latest speculation.

And, of course, if any deals are concluded throughout the summer - whether it be new players arriving or current players leaving for a new challenge elsewhere - we'll have first news here on

Torres Promises To Have Final Impact

Spain striker Fernando Torres believes he will have a big part to play in Sunday's World Cup final.

Torres was dropped to the bench for the semi-final victory over Germany after coach Vicente del Bosque opted to go with Barcelona youngster Pedro.

The Liverpool striker had started Spain's previous four games but has yet to score in the tournament as he feels his way back to match-fitness following knee surgery which caused him to miss the end of the domestic season.

Torres could again find himself on the bench against Netherlands in Sunday's final in Johannesburg, but the striker is still confident of having a major influence on the biggest game of his career.

"I still feel I have a big part to play at this World Cup," he said.

"It is up to the coach, Vicente del Bosque, if he starts me, but I feel ready. I don't want to make excuses but I haven't been at my best in this World Cup because my fitness is not where it should be.

"But every day I feel that little bit sharper in training and I am ready to start if called on."

Little Liverpool FC Fan Will Cheer On His Hero Torres In World Cup Final

Since five-year-old Daniel McCartney announced he was supporting Spain in the World Cup, he has had to put up with a fair bit of stick from his classmates.

But he is hoping to have the last laugh on Sunday when the European Champions take on Holland in the final – and for his hero, Fernando Torres, to grab the winner.

Daniel, a pupil at Trinity primary school, in Vauxhall, has a full Spanish kit, and persuaded mum Kate, 30, and dad Andrew 31, to deck out their home in Avington Close, West Derby, with the Iberian country’s flag.

Daniel, who is brother to five-month-old Mae, said: “I like Fernando Torres because of the goals he scores and I want him to do the same for Spain on Sunday.”

Like other Reds fans all over the world, Daniel is hoping his favourite striker comes back for another season at Anfield.

Joe Cole Fits The Bill For Liverpool FC

What have Thierry Henry and Joe Cole got in common? They've both been spotted around Liverpool city centre more than the Superlambanana in recent times.

Just as there were numerous sightings of Henry from Lime Street to the Lobster Pot prior to him joining Barcelona three years ago, rumours were rife this week that Cole was camped out at Melwood.

Although we are yet to confirm reports of the former Chelsea player abseiling down the Radio City Tower in a Father Christmas suit, there is no question that Cole - with his skill, attacking flair and goalscoring ability - fits the bill for Liverpool.

While his wage demands are said to have been a stumbling block at Chelsea, the fact he's a free agent makes him an attractive proposition for Roy Hodgson.

The Reds boss is expected to work on a tight budget unless he opts to cash in on any of the club’s more saleable assets.

Hodgson has made it clear he has no intention of letting Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard walk away without a fight.

Capturing players of Cole’s ability could be key to persuading them to stay.

Liverpool Goalkeeper Diego Cavalieri Not Keen On Brazil Return

Liverpool reserve goalkeeper Diego Cavalieri would consider a European switch to secure first team football but has distanced himself from a potential move to Corinthians.

Cavalieri, 27, has yet to make a Premier League appearance in two years on Merseyside as he has played second fiddle to Spain World Cup 2010 shot stopper Pepe Reina.

Despite only featuring sporadically in cup competitions, Cavalieri has distanced himself from reports the Sao Paulo side were ready to swoop for his signature.

Speaking to reporters while on holiday in his native Brazil, Cavalieri was quick to state if he was to leave Anfield, he would stay in his adopted continent.

He said: "Until now, no official proposal from the Corinthians came to me. But my idea is not now to return to Brazil.

"I am well adapted to European football and the only thing I think about is changing time to have more opportunity."

Asked where he would go if he made the transfer back home, he insisted he would only consider his former club: "If I return to Brazil, I'll be back to Palmeiras."

The Real Challenge Facing Liverpool FC Manager Roy Hodgson

A week into his new job and Roy Hodgson will have a better idea of the challenges he now faces.

With a club record 12 players on World Cup duty this summer – 13 if we include new signing Milan Jovanovic – the Liverpool manager has had a first opportunity to cast his eye over the fringe squad; the stay behinds deemed too young, too old or simply not good enough to play for their countries.

While some of these could be playing for their Anfield careers on the forthcoming training camp in Switzerland, Hodgson will have the final say on whether they are good enough to play for Liverpool Football Club too.

Depending on what you choose to believe, replacements are already being lined up for many of those deemed surplus to requirements.

Meanwhile, Hodgson has set about the task of persuading those with a queue of Europe's top clubs forming at their doors that their futures lie at Liverpool.

Next, he will try to convince the supporters that his does too.

As Hodgson embarks on the first phase of his restructuring programme, the greatest challenge in what is the biggest job of his long and diverse managerial career awaits.

If Hodgson is to succeed at Anfield he has to win over the Kop.

It goes without saying that the best way to do so is by bringing success back to the club.

It’s an obvious claim to make but one that may not be so obvious in his immediate remit.

Chairman Martin Broughton was candid enough to reinforce the notion that Hodgson has been brought to Liverpool ‘to steady the ship’ after turbulent times.

Of course, this will come naturally to a man who has carried an air of calm throughout his 34 years in management.

There is a fear among some, though, that returning Liverpool among Europe's elite is Hodgson's only brief.

With that comes added concern that his appointment is a short term measure with little more than stability in mind.

That would be a disservice to Hodgson, the fans and the club.

At 62, the three-year contract Hodgson has signed will take him neatly up to retirement age.

By agreeing to take on a job of this magnitude, however, you sense that’s the last thing on his mind.

The question is how much fire does he have left in his belly to stoke the burning ambitions of those who desire silverware each year.

“I expected the club and supporters to crave these things,” said Hodgson.

“The ambitions of Liverpool Football Club should always be at the very, very highest level and that’s where we’re going to be aspiring to.”

This is what every Reds fan wants to hear but those sentiments didn’t quite resonate from Hodgson’s response to another question at his official unveiling.

When asked what his number one priority at Liverpool is he replied:

“To try and do a little bit better than last year and get back into those Champions League spots where the club has always been.”

Described as the most crucial summer in the club's history since Bill Shankly arrived, Hodgson will be afforded the kind of leeway in his first season at Anfield seldom enjoyed, if ever, by any of Shankly’s successor’s.

Every Liverpool manager from Bob Paisley to Rafa Benitez has been expected to at least challenge for the league title.

It appears Hodgson isn’t. Not yet anyway.

Since its inception, a Champions League place has been the minimum requirement.

Suddenly, and perhaps worringly, it has become the target.

Second to seventh is a long way to fall in just 12 months, and it would be unfair to expect Hodgson to fully reverse the trend straight away.

However, if Liverpool FC is to live up to its heritage of challenging for top honours, coming fourth, third or even second in the league has to be considered a worst case scenario.

In one respect, by setting Hodgson this target, the club could be seen to be protecting its appointment. Aim low and anything else is a bonus as against setting him up for a fall.

But rather than simply aim for Champions League respectability, Hodgson has an opportunity here to restore pride in some of the proudest supporters around.

That’s the real challenge at Anfield and one that Hodgson, with his ability to fly in the face of adversity, should relish.