Thursday, July 22, 2010

Roy Hodgson Wants 'Doom & Gloom' Dispelled From Liverpool

Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson wants to change the negative mindset currently at Anfield, but has warned that it will take much more than one or two new faces in the squad to alter the atmosphere at the club.

Joe Cole inked a four-year deal with the Reds this week but Hodgson, currently preparing his squad at their pre-season training camp in Switzerland, feels that hard work is more important than new players at this stage.

"You don't change doom and gloom or disenchantment with a signing or two," the Reds boss told his club's official website.

"Liverpool Football Club has always been famous for the passion of its supporters and the knowledge of its supporters and they know I can't put right the disenchantment with a couple of words or by signing a football player.

"What we can do is hopefully persuade them we are on the right track, that we're trying to get things right again and that we're looking for new investment.

"We know the situation with the owners, the club is for sale and we are trying desperately for the right people to come in and buy the club. In the meantime we are trying our level best to do what we can out here on the training field and on the field of play to get results.

"I can only hope that the people who watch us are aware of the situation, that they have their feet on the ground like we've got our feet on the ground and they give us credit if we deserve any for the efforts we make on the field. I can assure them we will give everything on the field and I will hope to dispel the gloom and the disenchantment in that way."

Hodgson is also cautious when it comes to how long it will take to turn things round at the club after a campaign last season that looked pretty ragged by the end.

"It's not going to be an overnight thing. Last season was a very disappointing season for the club in every respect, culminating in a popular manager leaving," he added.

"You don't dispel that with a couple of signings and I would never want to dupe the Liverpool public by telling them all is rosy now because Joe Cole has signed.

"There's a lot more work to do, a lot more players needed and we as a football team have got to make certain that when we take the field the supporters see there is something different and that we are making the biggest effort we can make. Then we can only hope they back us like they have always backed the club in the past."

Hodgson confirmed that work is ongoing to bring more players to the club, though he admitted that he is working within tight budgetary constraints.

"We don't have the unlimited funds that teams like Manchester City and even Tottenham, to some extent these days, seem to have," he said.

"In this current situation we don't have that. On the other hand some money is being made available and we are doing everything to use that money as sensibly and as intelligently as we can.

"We had quite a good squad of players last season. We've talked about Gerrard, Torres, Reina - these players means there is a certain strength to the team whatever we do. We would like to make some changes. Every manager who comes to a new club would like to make changes, to bring in some fresh players.

"The big thing for me is going to be the atmosphere. We have to get a good atmosphere back into the club. That will come from the training field and from the matches at Anfield.

"We've got to get back the Liverpool atmosphere that I've known and seen and experienced - often to my cost - over the years. We have to get away from the feeling that everything's not right and the club is going downhill because that isn't the case at all."

The Reds face Swiss club Grasshoppers tonight in a friendly which will be Hodgson's first match in charge of the club.

With the majority of his senior players still at home recovering from the World Cup, Hodgson knows that his young team will be tested in Switzerland.

"Realistically, a lot of these players won't take part when we come to the league games because they are players who have come from the reserves and the academy," he explained.

"They are working extremely well and I couldn't be happier with what we're doing, but we're about to play two really tough games with a team which, in my opinion, isn't ready to play against that level of opponent.

"It's a great opportunity for them but my real work in preparing Liverpool Football Club to play next season will begin when I get back to Melwood and find the 13 players who went to the World Cup.

"If you're a young player you're waiting for that chance to get into the first team and show what you can do. These lads are being given a chance earlier than expected and unfortunately they are being given a chance all together.

"What you hope for when you get your chance is that all the big-hitters are around you and they make it a bit easier for you. Here we are throwing them all in together."

Steven Gerrard Delighted To Be Staying With Liverpool FC

Steven Gerrard is itching to lead Liverpool into the new Premier League campaign after reaffirming his commitment to the club.

Liverpool's captain effectively ended all talk about his future yesterday morning when he declared that he was very impressed by Roy Hodgson's plans for the club.

The story, which attracted a huge amount of hits on the ECHO'S website when it was published, increased the feelgood factor among fans, who have been buoyed by the arrival of Joe Cole.

Gerrard can't wait to link-up with his England teammate and believes Cole will give Liverpool's attack an extra dimension.

“It's a great signing for us,” Gerrard enthused.

“I know Joe well through the England set-up and have seen first hand just how good a player he is. He's proved his ability over many years in the Premier League, sometimes against us – so it will be fantastic to play alongside him in a red shirt for Liverpool.”

Fears had been mounting that Gerrard would seek pastures new this summer and Real Madrid were strongly linked with a £30m move for him.

Worries were increased when the respected Spanish newspaper Marca published a three-page feature on Gerrard on June 2 and used mocked up images on him in Real's famous all white kit.

When Marca run a story like that – the translated headline was ‘Gerrard: Hot! Hot!’ – it is usually a sign that Real expect to land their man but, following the signing of Germany international Sami Khedira, the trail went cold.

For his part, it is important to stress that never at any stage did Gerrard insist he was actively seeking a move away from Anfield – he simply stated before going to South Africa with England that he might have to consider his options. But once the World Cup finals were out of the way, Gerrard took the opportunity to clear his mind and enjoy a break with his wife, Alex, and their children in the Mediterranean.

Prior to that, he had a long and frank discussion with Roy Hodgson on the day he was unveiled as Liverpool's new manager and his plans for the future and those talks tipped the balance.

“I made it clear that I simply needed to concentrate on the World Cup and then have a decent holiday with my family,” said Gerrard, who has made 532 appearances for Liverpool.

“I wanted the chance to meet Roy Hodgson privately and having done so I'm very impressed with his plans for the future of the team. I've only returned to training today at Melwood with some of the other World Cup players, but I can't wait for the new season to start.”

Liverpool Manager Roy Hodgson Delighted By Skipper Steven Gerrard's Commitment To The Club

Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson is delighted captain Steven Gerrard has ended speculation about a move to Real Madrid and committed his future to the club.

Gerrard, 30, had been linked with a switch to the Spanish capital after the Reds missed out on Champions League football for next season. After the announcement that former Chelsea midfielder Joe Cole has agreed a switch to Anfield, Gerrard's decision to stay on has given the ex-Fulham boss another boost.

Speaking to the club's official website while on tour in Switzerland, Hodgson was convinced every Liverpool fan will be rightly delighted with the news from the skipper.

"It's a great piece of news. There won't be anyone in Liverpool today who isn't delighted to hear that," Hodgson said.

"I'm really pleased about it because I've got great respect for Steven Gerrard.

"He's a player who I was really looking forward to working with when I came to Liverpool. It seems now with that commitment that this will happen.

"It gives everyone a boost without question.

"It will be a tough season, with a lot of matches and the disappointment of last season is going to take a while to dissipate, but it is very good that our best player is still going to be playing at this club.

"Hopefully with the signing of Joe Cole - and if we are lucky one or two others, to boost the squad - we will be going into this season's competition, maybe stronger on paper than we were last season."

Reds Close In On Wilson

Sky Sports News understands that Liverpool is on the brink of signing defender Danny Wilson from Rangers.

Ibrox manager Walter Smith revealed to Sky Sports News reporter David Tanner that the two clubs are in advanced stages of discussions and have only the transfer fee left to agree on.

Smith also said the move could be sealed as soon as Tuesday evening, which would leave 18-year-old Wilson free to link up with the Reds at their Switzerland training camp.

Centre-back Wilson came through the youth ranks at the Ibrox club before penning his first professional contract there three years ago.

He will not join the Rangers squad that will fly out to Australia for their pre-season tour on Tuesday night due to a slight hamstring injury.

Rangers assistant manager Ally McCoist is unsurprised by the interest Liverpool have shown in Wilson following the stopper's impressive campaign last season.

"I think the first thing they (Liverpool) would have to accept is that they're signing potential," McCoist told Sky Sports News.

"But it's a whole load of potential because he came in last season for us and played an awful lot of games, certainly a lot more games than, to be fair, we probably thought he would.

"A lot of that was probably down to him not being one hundred per cent fit a lot of the time.

"But he came in and he handled himself really superbly well. We obviously had very high hopes for Danny and Danny has high hopes for Danny and obviously Liverpool can see the potential there.

"If the deal is a done deal then certainly we would wish Danny all the best. I think there is a little bit of work to be done before it's a done deal, but they'll certainly be signing a player with outstanding potential."

Liverpool Demand £6m For N'Gog

Liverpool want £6 million for French fringe striker David N'Gog as they try to raise funds for new players.

N'Gog can go at the right price - quoted to several clubs in the Premier League and round Europe - although he may have to play in the Europa League qualifiers before going.

The Kop squad man is wanted by West Brom on loan, while Newcastle and Bolton have made inquiries about his availability - but the valuation is way too high.

Liverpool are still hopeful of a big pay day on N'Gog, with Nice's Loic Remy on their hit list but valued at around £14.3 million.

Liverpool Leave Loic In Limbo As Roy Hodgson Refuses To Meet £12.5m Asking Price

Loic Remy's hopes of joining Liverpool are in limbo as the Reds refuse to match West Ham's £12.5million bid for the France striker.

The Hammers own bid has been knocked back unless they stump up £7.5m up front rather than splitting payments over four years.

The 23-year-old would prefer to be part of Roy Hodgson's new-look Liverpool side, but respected French newspaper L'Equipe reports that an expected meeting between the Merseysiders and Nice has failed to materialise amid the Reds' reluctance to offer much more than £10m.

Nice have already been rebuffed interest at that level from Lyon and Remy has joined up with his current club's training camp at Megeve.

Arsenal has also tracked Remy and is considering whether to recruit another forward to replace Shakhtar Donetsk-bound Eduardo.

Remy's agent Frederic Guerra told 'A major club from the Premier League has contacted me about Loic. I have a meeting with the club on Wednesday and we will see what happens.

'Whatever happens Loic will be leaving Nice this summer and he has his heart set on England.'

Hodgson - Degen Can Leave

Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson has informed full-back Philipp Degen that he is free to leave Anfield.

The Switzerland international arrived in England from Borussia Dortmund in July 2008, but he failed to earn a regular place in the plans of former boss Rafa Benitez after a succession of injuries and disappointing performances.

Hodgson, who took over as Liverpool boss this summer, also decided that Degen will not feature in his first team and held discussions with the 27-year-old before telling him that he can leave the club.

"We have had an amicable conversation with Philipp and he wants to play football," Hodgson told Liverpool's official website.

"We won't stand in his way and he is free to look for another club."

McMahon Welcomes Changes

Liverpool Reserves boss John McMahon has welcomed a more competitive Barclays Premier Reserve League North in 2010-11.

After discussions during the summer, the Reds second string will come up against the likes of Arsenal and Chelsea in the new campaign.

Fresh from agreeing a new 12 month deal, McMahon will once again take sole charge of the reserve team and he believes the new look league will be of great benefit to the young players at the club.

A McMahon managed Liverpool XI will be in action tonight when they face Wrexham at the Racecourse Ground, with the match kicking-off at 7.45pm.

"It is very positive the changes that have been made and we look forward to playing the likes of Chelsea and Arsenal," McMahon told

"It's a more competitive league now and if you are going to push players through to the first team squad they need to be playing against good quality opposition.

"We have got some really good games to look forward to and it's always nice to play against different teams and test yourselves against quality opposition like Arsenal and Chelsea.

"Aston Villa have been in the national final for three years in a row so they are very strong at reserve team level, so it's going to be very competitive that's for sure."

It's also change off the pitch for the reserves as they will now be based full-time at the Academy in Kirkby.

"We were always planning to move the reserves squad to the Academy for a couple of reasons really," he added.

"One is the limited space down at Melwood and two is it's nice for the reserve squad to have a good base and then they can aspire to get to work with the first team at Melwood which is the ultimate aim.

"The transition has been an easy one and it's good because when we want to use younger players from the U18 team to come and train with us we can."

McMahon also spoke about meeting Roy Hodgson for the first time and added: "It was good to meet the boss and we all met as a staff and discussed the way forward in terms of what we are looking for ahead of the new season.

"I'm looking forward to taking the reserve team again and it's another good challenge. We will be a young squad again and we will be looking to continue their development.

"I will be in constant conversations with the manager and Sammy Lee about the progress of the young players and give them my opinions about their progress."

A number of players from McMahon's reserve team could feature for Hodgson's first team when they take on Grasshoppers in Switzerland - a match you can watch exclusively live on

McMahon believes the experience the young lads will get from taking part in the Swiss training camp will be invaluable for their future development.

"It's an exciting time for those lads like Steven Irwin, Daniel Ayala, David Amoo, Lauri Dalla Valle, Victor Palsson and the younger ones like Tom Ince and Jack Robinson," he added.

"It is a great experience for them and hopefully they can learn and improve and it will make them better players."

Chairman Martin Broughton Determined To Restore Liverpool's Status As 'Icon' Of Football

Liverpool chairman Martin Broughton has revealed that he took on the job at Anfield because he wants to see the club restored to its former glories.

Broughton, a lifelong Chelsea fan and current chairman of British Airways, was hired by the Reds with the aim of finding a new buyer for the club.

His motivations for doing so are purely about football, he insists, and hints that money has been wasted over the last few seasons at Anfield.

"I've taken the role on because Liverpool represents one of two, three or four footballing icons in the league," Broughton told Director magazine.

"Putting them back in their rightful position is in the interests of British football and the league. Seventh [where the club finished in the Premier League last season] is not their rightful position, and neither is administration.

"Remember, over the past five years, LFC is second only to Chelsea in terms of gross and net player spend. The question is whether the money has been spent wisely."

Broughton sees Liverpool as "a trophy asset worth a lot of money" and maintains that a buyer will be found for the Merseyside club.

"As long as we get sensible offers, we can do a deal," he added.

"We are out there to find someone wealthy. But it's important that they can win popular support."

The chairman does see similarities between his BA job and his role at Anfield, with media management an ongoing issue.

"In terms of intensity it's not very different to BA, where every little detail seems to fascinate the press," he explained.

"The level of misreporting is about the same, but the level of fabrication is higher. Football is a unique business.

"In any M&A [merger and acquisition] there are various stakeholders but supporters and their passion bring a new dimension."

Former Liverpool owner Peter Moores wrote an angry letter to The Times at the end of last season urging the current owners of the club, Tom Hicks and George Gillett, to sell as soon as possible.

Broughton though dismisses the letter as a largely irrelevant gesture.

"No, I just found it sad," he asserted.

"An old man trying to justify what he himself saw as a mistake by blaming everyone except himself. Who chose to sell? He just went for the most money."