Monday, August 02, 2010

Match report: Borussia Monchengladbach 1 - 0 Liverpool

Joe Cole's debut for Liverpool ended in defeat as the Reds went down 1-0 to Borussia Monchengladbach.

Roy Hodgson fielded a strong side including England's World Cup captain Steven Gerrard as well as Jamie Carragher and Glen Johnson while Fabio Aurelio was named on the bench after re-signing for the club on Saturday.

Monchengladbach had arranged the match as part of their 110th anniversary celebrations at Borussia Park and the hosts made an early breakthrough through Karim Matmour in the eighth minute.

The Algerian took advantage of some poor play by Daniel Ayala inside the area and the defender was duly punished as Matmour produced a powerful finish.

Matmour was proving a real irritant for the Anfield club and came close to doubling his side's lead with Liverpool having to wait until the 56th minute for their first real chance when Cole's low drive was parried, with the former Chelsea player withdrawn nine minutes later.

The hosts continued to threaten and, although David Amoo headed narrowly wide, Monchengladbach fully deserved their victory.

Reds Warned Over Torres

David Villa has admitted his surprise that Fernando Torres has not joined Chelsea and believes this season is Liverpool's 'last chance' to keep the striker.

Liverpool finished seventh in the Premier League last term and failed to qualify for the UEFA Champions League, leading many to suggest that Torres could soon be on his way out of the club.

Villa concedes that, having spoken to Torres at the World Cup, he expected his Spanish compatriot to link up with Chelsea.

Manchester City have also been linked with a move for Torres but nothing has yet materialized and it looks increasingly likely that he will stay at Anfield.

Villa now feels that Torres may leave next summer unless the Reds can turn their fortunes around over the coming campaign.

"I am actually a little surprised. It looks like Nando is staying," Villa, who joined Barcelona from Valencia before the World Cup, is quoted as saying by the Daily Star Sunday.

"After I spoke with him at the World Cup I thought he would sign for Chelsea.

"I think it must only be that Chelsea did not meet Liverpool's valuation. Because, if they had, I am sure he would have made the move."

He added: "This is Liverpool's last chance to keep him. They have to prove they are capable of challenging on all fronts this season, otherwise he will be gone.

"If Liverpool fail to win anything I am sure he will be at Chelsea next summer."

Cole Needs To 'Feel Loved'

Joe Cole admits he needs to 'feel loved' if he is to perform to his best on a regular basis.

The England international admits that it was that desire to feel appreciated which led to his exit from Chelsea this summer.

He grew tired of being hauled off at every opportunity by a succession of coaches, with a lack of playing time giving him little chance to impress.

Once it became apparent that he was not going to get the playing time he craved, he decided to let his contract run down and leave on a free transfer.

Having made that call, he has since linked up with Liverpool and is excited by the challenges which lie ahead at Anfield.

Cole believes Reds boss Roy Hodgson will be the man to get him firing on all cylinders once more and is confident he will be a hit on Merseyside.

"The fans at Chelsea loved me and I can't thank them enough for that but I need to feel loved when I am on the pitch," he said in the News of the World.

"The manager has to want me there. I don't so much need an arm around the shoulder as for managers to remember that in the positions I play you are going to lose the ball sometimes.

"You only need to do one thing right; one clever pass, one little bit of skill that can change a game but to do that you need to feel relaxed and calm."

Meanwhile, Cole is also delighted to have played a part in helping to persuade talismanic skipper Steven Gerrard to stay on at Anfield.

He had been linked with a summer switch to Real Madrid, but Liverpool's transfer activity has convinced him that they have ambitious plans for the future.

"I hope that I did play a part in making Stevie stay," added Cole.

"Stevie knows what I can do. We have played together for England for 10 years right the way through.

"I am looking forward to playing alongside him and our relationship is going to be important.

"I will play anywhere, though I hope it is central with him - with one of us going forward and the other pivoting.

"I can't talk about tactics but the manager knows what I can do on the left and the right. But it will be nice to be close to him.

"At Liverpool this year is about consolidating and moving on. There are players here who will get into any team in the world.

"I had conversations with Stevie and 'Carra' and everything they said about Liverpool impressed me. We are a part of a club that can do something special. If you win a trophy here, one of the big ones, it will be immense."

Is Syrian Bid For Liverpool Serious?

Former Syrian international footballer Yahya Kirdi has once again emerged as a bidder for Liverpool. He was reported to be engaged in talks to acquire the club in April in discussions that were brokered by Andy Lynch, a Celtic footballer in the 1970s. These discussions came to nothing, but now he is reported to be George Gillett's preferred bidder and engaged in serious talks.

The big question mark is whether he can afford to buy the club which will cost at least £400m even before one adds in the cost of the new stadium in Stanley Park. Once again he claims to be fronting up a consortium of Arab investors and is thought to have links in the United Arab Emirates where there are certainly some seriously rich people. However, some of these Arab consortiums turn out to be little more than desert mirages.

What it may do is energize the Rhone Group which is thought to be considering resurrecting its bid. The New York-based investment group came close at one stage to buying a 40 per cent stake in Liverpool. Liverpool fans may think they have had enough of Americans, but these are quality investors.

The parent company, Kop Football Holdings, made record losses of £55m last year of which £40m were accounted for by interest payments. Total debts were £473m. The team's failure to qualify for the Champions League is estimated to have cost it £40m.

Carra: Stevie News A Huge Lift

Jamie Carragher has revealed that Steven Gerrard's decision to reaffirm his commitment to Liverpool has given everyone at the club a massive lift.

The Reds vice-captain believes there is a real feel-good factor reverberating around Anfield at the moment and feels things are falling into place just in time to ensure they head into the new season in buoyant mood.

"Well, he's our best player. For me he's probably the best player in the history of the club, alongside Kenny, so it's obviously going to give everyone a massive lift," Carragher told

"Hopefully Fernando will do the same and we can bring one or two more in so that we head into the season with a real feel good factor."

Carragher was speaking after the Reds' pre-season defeat to Borussia Moenchengladbach, a clash that saw Joe Cole make his Liverpool debut.

The defender reckons the former Chelsea man has already settled into life on Merseyside and is confident the fans will take a shine to the club's new No.10.

"He's not taken too long to settle in and he knows quite a lot of the lads from England," he said.

"He's a good lad too and he's staying right in the centre of Liverpool, so a lot of the fans have seen him around.

"He loves playing here and being at Liverpool. You like people to get involved with the city and he's doing that from an early stage."

The match at Borussia Park also saw Carra make his first appearance under Roy Hodgson.

He admits the ex-Fulham boss has helped to breathe new life into Melwood and is now targeting a starting berth in the forthcoming clashes with FK Rabotnicki and Arsenal.

"It was good to get the new kit on and play under the new manager," he said. "Everything feels fresh and it's nice to be involved. Hopefully I'll be involved in the next European game now before Arsenal.

"We've only been training 10 days, but it's always nice to get back out there on the pitch."

Reds Confirm Aurelio Return

Liverpool has confirmed they have re-signed Fabio Aurelio on a two-year deal.

As exclusively revealed by earlier on Saturday, Liverpool have decided to bring Aurelio back to Anfield just two months after he left the club.

The Brazilian full-back left Liverpool at the end of May following the expiration of his contract.

It was believed Aurelio rejected the offer of a pay-as-you-play deal to stay at Anfield after an injury-ravaged campaign last season.

However, with new Reds boss Roy Hodgson yet to secure a replacement for Aurelio he has decided to bring the 30-year-old back to the club after being impressed by his fitness.

"I asked the club to find out whether Fabio had found a new club," Hodgson told the club's official website.

"When we ascertained that he hadn't, we invited him back to Melwood so both myself and my staff, and the medical team could properly assess the player.

"We were both very impressed and I am delighted we were able to re-sign Fabio."

Aurelio has spoken of his delight at rejoining the club and he hopes he can play his part under the new regime at Anfield

"I feel very pleased and proud," said Aurelio. "It feels like I am signing for the first time - everything has changed so it is like a new beginning for me with new confidence and a new boss.

"Hopefully I can do well this season.

"My aim is to help the team do better than last season. Everything is going really well, so I think we can progress a lot.

"We have made some good additions to the team and we can be very confident."

Manchester City Back In For £50 Million Fernando Torres

Manchester City will make a stunning 50 million pounds move for Liverpool's Fernando Torres but want an answer from him fast.

And if they cannot persuade the Spanish superstar to join Roberto Mancini's Eastlands revolution they will try to snare Diego Forlan with a 20 million pounds swoop. Megabucks City knows they face an uphill task trying to take Torres to a club that is not playing Champions League football next season.

So they will move on quickly if their bid for Torres fails, confident they can do a deal with Atletico Madrid for Forlan at around 20 million pounds.

City wants two new front men, with Inter Milan's Mario Balotelli the other target, to give them a formidable strikeforce and the chance of a title chase.

Torres is their No.1 choice and they know Liverpool will take their money.

But although the Anfield star is looking to move despite boss Roy Hodgson's claims he will have to be convinced to join City.

Chelsea are waiting to make an offer for Torres but want to avoid an auction.

Both clubs are also wary Manchester United could also come in and beat them to the Spaniard.

Because of those fears City has sounded out the Forlan camp and the ex-United hero is willing to come back to England.

While Tottenham could not afford his wages, personal terms are no problem to City.

Liverpool also sees Forlan as a potential replacement for Torres.

Citys move covers them against the possibility of losing Carlos Tevez who is a 40 million pounds target for Jose Mourinho's Real Madrid.

Liverpool To Make Shock Parker Swoop

Liverpool are set to make an £8million bid for Scott Parker.

Anfield boss Roy Hodgson has pinpointed the West Ham midfielder as the man to replace Javier Mascherano, who is set to join Inter Milan in a £20m deal.

The Hammers hierarchy has insisted that Parker is the one player they will not sell this summer.

“Not at any price,” said chairman David Sullivan.

That has not stopped Tottenham declaring their interest.

And just as Liverpool allowed Spurs and Arsenal to make the running in the ­pursuit of Joe Cole, before stealing their thunder, they are poised to strike again with Parker. The key issue is whether West Ham will relax their tough stance.

The Upton Park club has been boosted by the news that Robert Green wants to stay and they are likely to start talks soon with Matthew Upson about a new contract.

Upson’s current deal expires at the end of this season and he would qualify for a free transfer but West Ham wants to avoid that scenario.

Meanwhile, Hodgson’s attempts to land Christian Poulsen have been given a boost after the Juventus midfielder’s agent said it was an “honour” to be linked with Liverpool.

Joern Bonnesen, his agent, said: “There has not been any contact and there is not much more that can be said until there has been, but we know there’s an interest from them.”

Hodgson Ready To Launch £5m Figueroa Bid

Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson is preparing a £5million bid for Wigan’s Honduras star Maynor Figueroa.

Hodgson will make a renewed effort to raid the Latics for Figueroa after his snub from Luke Young.

Figueora appeared in all three of Honduras’ games at the World Cup and Wigan boss Roberto Martinez faces a fight to keep him.

Stoke have also registered their interest for the 27-year-old left-back, who shot to Premier League stardom with his stunning 60-yard goal against the Potters last season.

Hodgson said: “I don’t think I’ve ever said the squad is in need of a major overhaul.

“We need to add one or two players to the team.

“It is important we keep the nucleus from last season and a nucleus of players who are maybe just behind the first team.”