Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Hodgson To Decide On Liverpool FC Euro Squad

Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson will not try to protect senior stars like Steven Gerrard when the club’s Europa League campaign gets under way this week.

The 62-year-old will decide today whether the England captain, and his international team-mates Jamie Carragher, Glen Johnson and Joe Cole, should be included against Rabotnicki in the third qualifying round tie.

Liverpool’s medical team have advised the Englishman it is too soon to use those players who were on World Cup duty after just over a week back in pre-season training.

Hodgson has to weigh up whether it is more risky to leave the task of getting through into the competition proper in the hands of a reserve side who have not scored a goal in two warm-up matches.

But if he does select the likes of Gerrard he will at least respect their stature in the game by naming them in the starting line-up rather than keeping them on the bench for an emergency.

“I don’t know what to do at this stage,” he said.

“I will have to liaise with them and (head of sports science) Peter Brukner and make a decision by Tuesday on what sort of team I can put out.

“It is going to be a difficult discussion between myself and Peter because his feeling is we shouldn’t use any of them and I am going to be tempted to say I want to use quite a few of them.

“The only players I will take will be the ones that I definitely think will play a valuable part in the game.

“If we are talking about senior players, it would be players prepared to start the game. I would not take Steven Gerrard there to play for the last 10 minutes as a substitute.”

Liverpool Defender Jamie Carragher Expects Steven Gerrard And Fernando Torres To Stay At Anfield

Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher believes star players Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres will stay at the club this summer.

The duo have been strongly linked with moves away from Anfield following the Reds’ poor form last season which saw them finish seventh in the Premier League, failing to qualify for the Champions League.

Torres has been attracting interest from Chelsea and Manchester City, whose manager Roberto Mancini has confirmed his interest in the striker, while Gerrard has been linked with Real Madrid.

Carragher says he is sure the duo will stay at Anfield and believes the club should be aiming to finish in the top four.

"There's been a lot of negativity and it's been like that for a while," he told ZOO magazine.

"I'm sure that Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres will still be involved at the club next season.

"If they are, then the aim for Liverpool must be to get back into the Champions League."

The 32-year-old admits Liverpool’s expectations have been lowered after their campaign last season and says winning the Premier League is not their aim.

"Liverpool aren't a club like Real Madrid, who can just throw £100 million at it if we don't win the title," he said.

"For clubs like Real Madrid and Inter Milan, it's a disaster if they don't win the league, so they go out and spend big money on new players.

"Liverpool can't do that - we have to build. Next season, rather than thinking too much about the title, we have to concentrate on getting back into the top four.

"It's a rebuilding process again and hopefully we can get ourselves right up there.''

Mascherano Set To Leave Liverpool After Talks

Javier Mascherano has been told he can leave Liverpool, according to ESPNsoccernet sources, having held talks with the Liverpool hierarchy on Monday.

Mascherano, who captained Argentina at the World Cup, spoke with manager Roy Hodgson after returning from holiday, having previously ignored the new manager's attempts to contact him.

A source close to Mascherano told Soccernet: "The talks were extremely amicable. It was all done in a very nice way. Javier made it clear that he wanted to leave a year ago when he had the chance to go to Barcelona.

"He was asked to stay on for one more year, he agreed, so now it is time for him to go. It was all very pleasant and it is now a question of the two clubs who are interested in him making an acceptable offer to Liverpool."

Hodgson held talks with skipper Steven Gerrard and convinced him to stay, but has failed to convince Mascherano, who now looks likely to rejoin former manager Rafael Benitez at Inter Milan or seal a move to Spanish champions Barcelona, who are looking to replace Yaya Toure after admitting defeat over Arsenal's Cesc Fabregas.

Milan Jovanovic Confident He Will Be A Success At Liverpool FC

Milan Jovanovic is confident he has the physical attributes to be a success with Liverpool in the Premier League.

The Serbian midfielder has enjoyed his first few weeks training with the club in pre-season and he has a track record of success when playing English clubs.

In 2008/09 he scored against Everton in the Europa League and last season he found the net against Arsenal in the Champions League.

Jovanovic exclusively told LFC Weekly: “I scored against Arsenal last season. We lost the game 2-3 but that and my goal against Everton shows that I have done well against English teams so I hope this will continue!”

On World Cup duty with Serbia, Jovanovic had the opportunity to quiz international team-mates like Nemanja Vidic and Branislav Ivanovic about the Premier League.

The 29-year-old doesn’t think it will take long for him to adapt to English football.

“I did speak to some of my team-mates in the national team. I know that physically it is a demanding league but when I thought about this characteristic, I thought: ‘this is me.’

“I think I can do everything I need to play at the top level here. It is a long season and if you count games with the national team as well, you can be looking at 60 or 70 games but I feel okay and of course I am really looking forward to it.”

Jansen Committed To Hamburg

Germany full-back Marcell Jansen is committed to Hamburg despite interest from Liverpool, according to his agent.

The 24-year-old joined the Bundesliga club after an unsuccessful stint at rivals Bayern Munich for £7million in 2008 and was part of Germany's World Cup squad that finished in third place.

Jansen scored the opener in the Germans' 3-2 win over Uruguay and has reportedly caught the eye of Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson following his performances for Hamburg.

The Reds are looking for a left-back after selling Emiliano Insua to Fiorentina and releasing Fabio Aurelio, meaning they have no senior cover for the position.

Hodgson has been linked with moves for Paul Konchesky, Maynor Figueroa and Carlos Salcido, but so far none have come to fruition.

Jansen's ability to play as a left winger could be a reason behind a possible bid, but agent Gerd vom Bruch stated that the player was committed to his current club.

"The interest in him is a credit to Marcell," he told the Hamburger Morgenpost newspaper.

"But he is under contract with Hamburger SV and will be respecting this."

Real Sociedad Tracking Liverpool Starlet Dani Pacheco

Young Liverpool attacker Dani Pacheco has attracted the interest of Primera Division outfit Real Sociedad with his excellent performances for Spain at the under-19 European Championships, if a report in Marca is to be believed.

The newly promoted outfit is looking to add some more firepower to their ranks ahead of the start of the new season and head coach Martin Lasarte supposedly considers Pacheco to be the perfect addition to his attack.

The 19-year-old attacker came through the ranks of the Barcelona youth academy, but left the Catalan side for an English adventure at Liverpool in the summer of 2007. He made his official debut for the Reds in the Champions League match against Fiorentina in December 2009.

However, Pacheco has failed to secure regular first team action at Liverpool so far and could therefore be farmed out on loan in order to gain valuable first team experience.

Liverpool In Chase For Ipswich Town Starlet Connor Wickham

Liverpool are prepared to go toe-to-toe with Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur to land England youth international Connor Wickham, according to The People.

The 17-year old is rated as one of the best young strikers outside the Premier League and Ipswich Town are rumoured to have already knocked back a £8 million bid from Spurs this summer. With Arsene Wenger also a fan, Wickham was expected to be playing his football in north London in the immediate future.

Reds manager Roy Hodgson is determined to beat those clubs to the target man's signature and has requested his board submit an £8.5 million to Roy Keane's side.

The former Fulham boss plans to use Liverpool's status to buy the centre forward, after being knocked back when he tried to snap him up last season.

Pacheco Lands Accolade

Dani Pacheco's irrepressible form for Spain at the U19 European Championships has seen him crowned's World Player of the Week.

The Reds' No. 47 has struck three times in his country's march to a semi-final showdown with England and the football website has been quick to acknowledge his impact for La Rojita. wrote: "Central to Spain's cause has been Liverpool attacker Dani Pacheco.

"The former Barcelona cantera prodigy scored a brace to overturn Portugal and followed that up with an impressive showing against Italy on Saturday.

"Pacheco scored to send the Spaniards towards a semi-final showdown against England."