Monday, July 19, 2010

Liverpool Give Fernando Torres And Steven Gerrard 14 Days To Decide Their Futures

Liverpool want their stellar performers Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard to decide their futures in the next 14 days and end the prolonged transfer speculation.

According to the News of the World, new Kop boss Roy Hodgson will hold further talks with his £30 million-rated captain Gerrard when he returns to training on Tuesday.

Hodgon's transfer plans have been left in limbo this summer as the club waits for clarification on the duo's future.

The self imposed two week deadline from the Anfield chiefs signals their desire to put the whole saga behind them, and it is believed that if the pair do not ask for a transfer before the end of July they will be remaining with the Merseysiders for next season.

There is increased optimism that both stay with the Reds for the 2010-11 campaign, something that will give Hodgson £40m transfer war-chest, provided Javier Mascherano's move to Inter Milan gets the green-light.

If the star pair do leave, the kitty will rise to almost £140m, allowing Hodgson to bid for high-profile replacements.

Currently, as the Reds prepare for their Europa League qualifiers, Hodgson is struggling to field a competitive side as he awaits the return of his World Cup 2010 participants.

Having allowed Emiliano Insua to leave for Fiorentina for a fee in the region of £5m, and transfer listed youngsters Nabil El Zhar and Damien Plessis, the Merseysiders are in desperate need of fresh blood.

It is hoped that England World Cup players Gerrard, Glen Johnson and Jamie Carragher will be available for selection for the second leg of the qualifier, with either Macedonia FK Rabotnicki or Armenia's FC Mika their likely opponents.

However, is believed that such is the shortage of first-team star, that Liverpool will ask 'keeper Pepe Reina to return from holiday earlier than expected and take his place between the sticks for the first qualifier.

Liverpool Make Massive Offer For Joe Cole

Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson will hope to outbid the likes of Tottenham and Arsenal as the race for Joe Cole hots up.

England midfielder Cole was released by Chelsea after six years at Stamford Bridge after the Blues refused to meet the 28-year-old's wage demands.

It is thought that Tottenham and Arsenal are leading the chase for Cole, who has spent his entire career in London, having started at West Ham. However, Hodgson will hope to persuade Cole that the future at Anfield is bright and that stars such as Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres can be persuaded to stay at Liverpool, especially if Cole himself opts for a move north.

The News of the World reports that Hodgson is prepared to push the boat out to sign Cole, which would send a statement of intent to the rest of the Premier League. Apparently, Cole will be offered a massive £4.7million-a-year deal, equivalent to a £90,000 three-year contract in order to become Hodgson's first major signing.

Liverpool's England contingent, Steven Gerrard, Jamie Carragher and Glen Johnson, return to training at the end of the week and Hodgson would be delighted if their World Cup team-mate Cole were to join them.

Liverpool Consider Offering Dirk Kuyt To Juventus For Midfielder Christian Poulsen

Premier League giants Liverpool are looking to sign Christian Poulsen from Italian powerhouse Juventus, according to a report in Italy. reports that the Reds want to sign the Danish international and are ready to barter Dirk Kuyt in exchange.

The Bianconeri are looking to sell one of their central midfielders to make room in their transfer and wage budgets to invest in other departments, and it appears they would be willing to listen to enquiries from Roy Hodgson's side.

Both the Reds and the Old Lady failed to qualify for next season's Champions League and have appointed new managers this summer.

With speculation continuing to link Javier Mascherano with a move to join Italian and European champions Inter, holding midfielder Poulsen may serve as his replacement at Anfield if a deal was to materialize.

Liverpool Turn To Paul Konchesky To Fill Left-Back Gap

Roy Hodgson could return to his old club Fulham and sign Paul Konchesky with Liverpool currently without a recognized left-back.

The 29-year-old was a regular for Hodgson's Fulham side last season, playing 39 games to help them reach the Europa League final. However, the England international has a year left on his contract and is thought to be keen to cash in on a move at this stage of his career.

Fulham reportedly turned down a £1.5million bid from Birmingham City several weeks ago and Blues boss Alex McLeish could increase his offer for the left-back.

Liverpool is set to begin the season without a recognized left-back unless they make a signing in the coming month. Brazilian Fabio Aurelio has left the club and Argentinian youngster Emiliano Insua is also set to leave Anfield, with a £5million move to Fiorentina likely to be completed this week.

Hodgson said, "A deal has been struck with Fiorentina…We wish him well for the rest of his career and thank him for his time spent at Liverpool.

"I am expecting him to join Fiorentina next week."

With Birmingham City also in the chase for Konchesky, the News of the World reports that Liverpool could look to sign the defender for £2million. They will hope that the lure of linking up again with Hodgson on the big Anfield stage will be enough to lure him to sign him for the Reds.

Liverpool FC Agree Fee With Italian Club Fiorentina For Sale Of Emiliano Insua

Liverpool has agreed a fee with Fiorentina for the sale of defender Emiliano Insua and the player is travelling to Italy to discuss personal terms.

The Argentinian had a difficult season as injury to Fabio Aurelio meant he was first-choice left-back for most of the campaign and that eventually took its toll on his performances.

Insua has left the club’s training camp in Switzerland to have talks with the Serie A outfit.

His imminent departure, combined with Aurelio being released after his contract expired, means manager Roy Hodgson’s priority is finding a new left-back as soon as possible.

“We have agreed a fee for the sale of Emiliano Insua to Fiorentina and given them permission to speak with the player,'' said a club spokesman.

“Emiliano has now left our Swiss training camp and we’ll make further comment when appropriate.”

Insua arrived at Anfield in January 2007 from Boca Juniors and played 62 matches for the Reds.

Liverpool's friendly against Al-Hilal in Switzerland this evening has been called off after the pitch was deemed unplayable following heavy rain.

It means Hodgson will have to wait until Wednesday, when they face Swiss side Grasshoppers, for his first game since taking over from Rafael Benitez on July 1.

Hodgson thanked Insua for his service to the club.

“A deal has been struck with Fiorentina. We wish him well for the rest of his career and thank him for his time spent at Liverpool,” he said.

“I am expecting him to join Fiorentina next week.”

Milito Expecting Mascherano Move

Diego Milito is confident his fellow Argentine Javier Mascherano will be joining him at Inter Milan.

The reigning European and Serie A champions are known to be interested in the Liverpool midfielder, with former Reds boss Rafa Benitez having succeeded Jose Mourinho at the Giuseppe Meazza helm this summer.

The Spaniard is an avid admirer of Mascherano's talents, having taken him to Anfield, and is keen for the South American enforcer to follow him to Italy.

His quest has been aided by the fact that Liverpool can no longer offer their top talents UEFA Champions League football, and Milito believes that could be the factor which helps to turn the tide in Inter's favour.

"We are very excited about Mascherano joining us at Inter," the experienced striker said in the Daily Star Sunday.

"He has made it clear he wants to be here and it's just down to the relevant people agreeing the deal now.

"In my view we are getting the very best defensive midfield player in the world and Maradona calls him one of the three most important players in the Argentina squad along with Lionel Messi and (Carlos) Tevez. That's how highly he is regarded."

Milito added: "I think it's unrealistic of Liverpool to think they can keep hold of Mascherano when they can't even offer Champions League football and are not challenging Manchester United and Chelsea for the Premier League title.

"The boss and Mascherano have a good friendship so there were no other clubs on the cards for him after that, including Barcelona. He has wanted to join for a while but when the boss joined Inter I think that sealed the deal.

"Rafa has already made it clear that he wants another season like Jose had with us last season. Javier is a natural-born winner.

"He'll relish being at a club where he will win top honours.

"I think it will be hard for Liverpool to hold on to the top players, including (Steven) Gerrard and (Fernando) Torres, but that is not my concern.

"I would like Tevez to join us as well but I don't think that will be possible this summer.

"Manchester City is in a position where they don't have to sell, but Carlos has told me he would like to play in Italy in the future."

Chelsea Coach Carlos Ancelotti Rules Out Signing Of Fernando Torres From Liverpool

Chelsea coach Carlo Ancelotti has indicated that he is not interested in signing striker Fernando Torres from fellow Premier League rivals Liverpool this summer.

The Spanish international striker, who won the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa, has been linked with a move away from Anfield, with a number of top European clubs supposedly keen on signing the former Atletico Madrid forward.

Last season's Premier League winners Chelsea were one of the clubs reportedly keen on landing Torres, but Blues' coach Carlo Ancelotti has now ruled out a move for the 26-year-old.

Speaking at a press conference after Saturday's 1-0 friendly win at Crystal Palace, the 51-year-old Italian said, "I don't think we need any other strikers. Nothing has changed, because in the next few days [Didier] Drogba, [Nicolas] Anelka and [Salomon] Kalou will return - and we have [Daniel] Sturridge."

Alex Ferguson Salutes New Liverpool Manager Roy Hodgson

Liverpool has appointed the Premier League’s top manager of last season in Roy Hodgson.

Who says so? None other than the boss of the Anfield club’s bitterest rivals – Manchester United’s Sir Alex Ferguson.

Fergie has clashed in the past with Liverpool managers – particularly Rafa Benitez, Hodgson’s predecessor in the ­Anfield hot seat.

But there could be a thawing in the relationship between the giants following ex-Fulham boss Hodgson’s arrival.

Hodgson, 63 next month, is one of the elder statesmen of management in this country – just like Fergie himself.

And there is no doubting the respect the United boss has for the man hoping to be the new king of the Kop. That was clear at the end of last season, when Hodgson was named by his peers as the Manager of the Year for leading Fulham to the Europa League Final.

Fergie said: “Roy absolutely deserves to be manager of the year. He’s had a fabulous season – getting Fulham to that final, well, it’s a miracle.

“It’s one of the best British performances of all time. His team has played with great consistency and his team selections are always consistent and sensible.”

The United boss was convinced Fulham would win the Europa League but it was not to be with Spain’s Atletico Madrid coming out on top in Hamburg.

But Hodgson’s achievement convinced Liverpool that he was a safe and experienced pair of hands to take over after a season of failure for the Anfield club.

Finishing seventh in the Prem was great for Fulham a year ago – but not good enough for Liverpool last season. And it’s left Hodgson trying to convince Liverpool’s top players – Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard – that he can restore the good times to Anfield.

Hodgson admits he has inherited players who are “disenchanted” after last season, when Liverpool fell five places after being runners-up to United in the previous campaign.

What is clear is that British managers like Fergie are pleased to see a top job like the Liverpool post go to a boss from this country.

Scouser Peter Reid, back in management at Plymouth, said: “We keep hearing about the foreign bosses but look at Fergie.

“Look at the job Harry Redknapp did at Tottenham last season, finishing fourth and taking them into the Champions League. Would a foreign boss have done better?”

Liverpool Will Be Without World Cup Stars For Europa League Third-Round Qualifier

Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson has stressed he will not risk damaging the club's Premier League campaign for the sake of progress in Europe.

Liverpool face a potentially-tricky Europa League third-round qualifier against Macedonian side Rabotnicki or Armenia's Mika later this month.

Hodgson is likely to have to play both legs, the first scheduled for July 29, without any of his World Cup stars after the club's medical staff warned him about forcing them into action too early after a gruelling and lengthy season.

"Possibly none of our World Cup players will play in the early Europa Cup games if we listen to the advice of the sports science people," said the 62-year-old.

"They are telling me we would be very foolhardy to use players who have only been training for three or four days on the back of the World Cup that early on because that will affect us further on down the road.

"If we feel we are endangering our chances of doing well in the Premier League by risking players in the early stage of the Europa League, it will be a decision the club will have to take. You have to follow the guidance."

Liverpool's England contingent of Steven Gerrard, Jamie Carragher and Glen Johnson, Denmark's Daniel Agger and Slovakia's Martin Skrtel will all return to individual programs at the club's Melwood training ground in the coming days while a squad made up largely of reserves are still at their Switzerland training camp.

Argentina duo Javier Mascherano and Maxi Rodriguez are due back a week on Monday while Spain's World Cup winners Fernando Torres and Jose Reina and beaten Holland finalists Dirk Kuyt and Ryan Babel do not return until after the first leg has been played.
"Their (medical staff's) advice is to not use these players," added Hodgson, who will at least have new signing Milan Jovanovic available with the possibility of any new arrivals also being utilized.

"If we have enough players to put a team out without them is another question.

"Things can happen before July 29; we will not be speculating on that and there is no point in me making predictions of what the team will be like for that game.

"The sports science people are advising me not to use the players from the World Cup.

"Therefore new signings would become important for the Europa League."