Thursday, September 02, 2010

Liverpool Name Just 21 Players In 25-Man Premier League Squad

Liverpool have named just 21 senior players in their 25-man Premier League matchday squad.

The new regulations state that for the 2010-11 season, teams must register a maximum of 17 'non homegrown' and minimum of eight 'homegrown players'. The homegrown players - such as Steven Gerrard, Joe Cole and Jay Spearing - are those trained for three years by any English or Welsh club before the age of 21.

Once the list is named, no changes can be made until the close of the transfer window. Anyone outside the 25 over the age of 21 cannot be selected and would be forced to stay on the sidelines unless they repeat Craig Bellamy's loan to a Football League side.

Clubs can, however, use an unlimited number of players under the age of 21 regardless of nationality. This law allows manager Roy Hodgson to call on un-named youth products Peter Gulacsi, Martin Kelly, Daniel Wilson, Jonjo Shelvey, Daniel Pacheco, Nathan Eccleston and David Ngog.

Home grown players:

Jamie Carragher
Joe Cole
Stephen Darby
Steven Gerrard
Glen Johnson
Brad Jones
Paul Konchesky
Jay Spearing

Non home grown players:

Daniel Agger
Fabio Aurelio
Ryan Babel
Milan Jovanovic
Dirk Kuyt
Sotirios Kyrgiakos
Lucas Leiva
Raul Meireles
Christian Poulsen
Pepe Reina
Maxi Rodriguez
Martin Skrtel
Fernando Torres

Christian Poulsen Says Tough Schedule Will Help Liverpool FC

Christian Poulsen today claimed a hectic September schedule is exactly what the new-look Liverpool need to show their best form.

The Reds midfielder is currently with compatriot Daniel Agger in Copenhagen preparing for next Tuesday European Championship qualifier against Iceland.

However, he already has one eye on what lies in store for Liverpool during the course of the next four weeks and cannot wait to get started.

Aside from Premier League games against Birmingham, Manchester United and Sunderland, Liverpool has a Carling Cup tie against Northampton and two Europa League dates with Steaua Bucharest and FC Utrecht.

It means everyone in the 21-man squad Roy Hodgson submitted to the Premier League will get a chance to shine and Poulsen feels the more they play, the better they will become.

“We have a lot of games so with (Javier) Mascherano and (Alberto) Aquilani leaving we need quality players for the team because for the next six months we will have a game every four days,” said Poulsen.

“It is important for a club who wants to play at the top of the Premier League and fighting for the Europa League to have strong players. I hope after the international break we can come strong again and pick up a lot of points up in the coming months.

“When I came here I had not played since the World Cup so I feel I need some time to get into the rhythm but last Thursday (in the second leg against Trabzonspor) I did better than in the first game.

“I feel comfortable here. The match against West Brom was the first game with Fernando (Torres) and the captain (Steven Gerrard) so you have to learn how they want the ball.

“Fernando is a strong player and can do things at speed and can do things one against one. You also feel Steven and Fernando have a good eye for each other and you saw that against West Brom – I hope it will get even better.”

Though it might seem Liverpool will be light in terms of numbers they can call upon, the 21 names confirmed are also beefed up by the fact clubs can call on unlimited numbers of players under 21.

That means Peter Gulacsi, Martin Kelly, Daniel Wilson, Jonjo Shelvey, Daniel Pacheco, Nathan Eccleston and David Ngog are all eligible.

Liverpool Plan £12m Playmaker Bid

Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson is rumoured to be preparing a January bid for CSKA Moscow playmaker Keisuke Honda and has been promised funds to make such a move due to the sales of Javier Mascherano, Albert Riera and Yossi Benayoun during the recent transfer window.

Hodgson had hoped to secure a striker signing before the transfer deadline but failed in his attempts to sign Carlton Cole and Roman Pavlyuchenko but apparently the Anfield manager is also looking to add more creativity to his midfield and is hoping to bring in a player who can supply the ammunition for his threadbare front line.

Keisuke Honda had a successful World Cup and has promising start to his CSKA career but is reportedly considering his options and has expressed his interest in a move to the Premier League. The Russian League ends in the last week of November so the 24 year old playmaker will then be considering his options and whether he wishes to stay in Moscow.

Valued at around £12m Honda was a Liverpool target under Rafa Benitez whilst he the Japanese international was still in the Dutch Eredivisie with VVV Venlo. He has been a target for many of Europe’s elite and is admired for his good close control his range of passing and his set piece taking abilities.

Paul Konchesky Looking To Achieve Big Things With Roy Hodgson At Liverpool

Liverpool new boy Paul Konchesky has revealed that he felt that the chance to move to Anfield from Fulham was too good to turn down.

The left-back signed a four-year deal for the Reds on transfer deadline day, moving for a reported £4 million from Craven Cottage.

Now he is targeting trophies as he looks forward to linking up with his former gaffer once again.

"I'm very excited to be here. I can't wait to get started and I'm really looking forward to the challenge," the 29-year-old told his new club's official website.

"I know what the manager is about and he knows what I am about. I had a great time with him at Fulham for two-and-a-half years. He did really well for Fulham and hopefully we can have great success at Liverpool and we can achieve bigger and better things.
"I want to win silverware. I believe this club is capable of doing that and hopefully we can start this year."

Konchesky also revealed that once the Reds had come calling it was not a difficult decision to make to join them.

"No, not when a club like Liverpool comes in for you," he said.

"You look at the background and history they have got and they are one of the most famous names in football.

"It also helped me with the manager being here who I know well. When Liverpool came in for me it was an easy choice."

The former England international knows all about Liverpool's history and tradition and is looking forward to following in the footsteps of some of the club's true greats.

"Yes of course and I know they have had some fantastic players over the years like Kenny Dalglish and John Barnes," he added.

"I played with John at Charlton when I was a kid so I know a lot about the club from him. He used to talk about Liverpool and he spoke to the young players at Charlton about the history and background of the club. He has a lot of respect for this club and he was a big player here.

"I have played against Liverpool at Anfield and the crowd are always fantastic towards their team and give them great support. I am looking forward to playing in front of them for Liverpool."

Meanwhile, Konchesky also revealed that he could make his debut in a red shirt as early as this weekend, when a Liverpool XI take on an Everton XI in Jamie Carragher's testimonial.

"I am looking forward to playing in Jamie's testimonial and it will be a great day for him," he stated.

"It will be nice to play in front of the Kop as a Liverpool player for the first time and it will help me get used to it and I can just go out and enjoy it.

"I've got a lot of respect for Jamie and what he's achieved at this club.

"He has been at Liverpool for a long while. For someone to do that, especially at this great club, you've got to have something about you.

"He's a great character and he is also someone you can look up to.

"If ever you need someone to look to and get advice then you should look up to Jamie. He's a great professional and he does everything how it should be done."

Asamoah Gyan: I Was Right To Reject Liverpool For Sunderland

Ghana striker Asamoah Gyan has said he is "pleased" to be at Sunderland after making a transfer deadline day move, despite rumours Liverpool attempted to scupper the bid at the last minute.

Reds boss Roy Hodgson is known to have asked around about several strikers on deadline day - including West Ham's Carlton Cole and Fulham's Bobby Zamora.

And sources close to the Gyan deal suggest the former Cottagers boss even looked into the possibility of gazumping the Black Cats during the slow-moving talks with Rennes on Tuesday afternoon.

However, speaking after confirming his move to Sunderland for a reported club-record fee of £13million, Gyan said Steve Bruce's persistence had persuaded him to pick Sunderland.

"The Sunderland coach has faith in me because he has been following me for two years now," he said.

"My family is in England already and I am happy this is the right place for me.

"I am pleased I have the opportunity to come to the Premier League."

Hodgson's search for a second striker to play alongside Fernando Torres proved fruitless, meaning the Reds will need to rely on Dirk Kuyt, Ryan Babel, and David Ngog to provide support to the injury-prone Spaniard.

Javier Mascherano Promises To Reveal Truth Behind Liverpool Departure

Javier Mascherano has warned Roy Hodgson that he will reveal the truth behind the "lies" that surrounded his departure from Anfield – and admitted his £17m move to Barcelona was a year overdue. He also insisted there was never an offer on the table for him to join Rafa Benítez at Internazionale.

Mascherano was reported to have refused to play against Manchester City as he sought to force through a move to Spain, with Hodgson accusing him of being "selfish". But at his Barça unveiling, he said: "Roy Hodgson knows the truth. This is a happy moment for me so now is not the time to say it, but a lot of lies has been told about me and I will respond to them.

"Last year Liverpool would not let me leave. There was no way they would sell me. They had Xabi Alonso and me, and they would only let Xabi leave," said the 26‑year‑old.

"I was disappointed not to be able to sign last season. When the best club in the world calls you, then it is something that you want to happen. I have signed for the only club who really wanted me. In no moment did I ever think that Inter was a possibility. Rafa valued me and perhaps that is why people started saying that I could go there but this is the only club that pushed to sign me."

But Mascherano was keen too to rebuild bridges with fans at Liverpool, with whom he spent three seasons. "I hope they get back into the Champions League as soon as possible. I still have a lot of affection for the fans of the club and I always will."

Boss Looks For Improvement

John McMahon reflected on his reserve team’s opening goalless draw with Wigan Athletic and admitted it was a frustrating performance in many ways.

With chances at a premium in the first Barclays Premier Reserve League North game of the season, the likes of Daniel Pacheco, Jay Spearing, David Amoo and Nathan Eccleston all featured, but on a hot day at the Kirkby Academy they just couldn't make the breakthrough.

"It was a tough game for us and we just didn't have enough quality on the day in the final third," McMahon told

"Every time we play Wigan it is always a tough game. They had a lot of Scousers in their team with some ex-Liverpool and Everton players so they feel as though they have something to prove.

"We had some decent spells of possession and were comfortable on the ball but we didn't have enough threat going forward so we are disappointed in that respect.

"We had some players in the side who haven't played a full game for a while and I think it showed. They need match practice.

"You can do all the work you want on the training field but the only way the players will be at their best is when they are match fit."

Liverpool suffered an injury scare when Danish youth international Nikola Saric was stretchered off after a late challenge.

"The initial assessment is it's not as bad as we thought but we'll have to wait and see what the medical team say," he added.

"We are just keeping our fingers crossed for Saric."

The reserves are back in action next Tuesday when they make the trip to the North-East to take on Newcastle United and McMahon is hoping his side will put in an improved performance.

"It's an exciting league for us this season and we will have some good games," he added.

"Newcastle will be a tough game and they might have some experienced players in their side so we will go up there and try to give a good account of ourselves."

Reserves Held In Season Opener

Liverpool Reserves were held to a goalless draw by Wigan in their first Barclays Premier Reserve League North outing of 2010-11 on Wednesday afternoon.

The game - which was switched from an evening kick-off at Prenton Park to an afternoon clash at the Academy - turned out to be a low-key affair.

McMahon had to start the season without the likes of Andre Wisdom, Jonjo Shelvey and Michael Ngoo, who are all away with various England youth teams.

The injured Tom Ince and Daniel Ayala were also absent, as well as the talented young Spaniard Suso, who hasn't yet got international clearance to play in the league.

The team that did take to the perfect Academy pitch included Jay Spearing and Dani Pacheco as part of a new policy intended to give fringe first-team players more minutes for the second string.

The early exchanges saw Spearing and skipper Steven Irwin spraying balls forward to Nathan Eccleston without too much success.

Instead it was from a corner that Liverpool created their first serious opportunity, European U19 Championship winner Chris Mavinga heading wide from Pacheco's corner.

Another Pacheco delivery caused havoc on 14 minutes as three Reds players attacked the ball. It was David Amoo who ultimately connected but his header floated harmlessly over.

The home side was dominating possession without really threatening the experienced Mike Pollitt in goal, though Pacheco did have a curling free-kick saved.

The first scare at the other end came midway through the half when Callum McManaman shot after finding a yard in the box. Goalkeeper Martin Hansen spilled, allowing a follow up effort which Irwin did brilliantly to clear off the line.

McMahon's hopes of starting 2010-11 with a win were dented on 43 minutes when Nikola Saric left the field on a stretcher after a strong but not malicious tackle from former Liverpool youngster Jordan Mustoe.

And things almost went from bad to worse on the brink of half-time when Wigan full-back Adam Buxton rattled the crossbar with a neatly taken free-kick from the 18-yard line.

It was Wigan who attacked first in the second period when Scouser Jordan Rugg nodded an inviting delivery wide on 51 minutes.

Liverpool countered with a superb dribble from Pacheco, whose cross was diverted behind for a corner just before Amoo could pounce.

Substitute Alex Cooper lashed well over the bar on 66 minutes after good work from Jack Robinson, as once again Liverpool failed to convert possession into goals.

The final chance fell to Emmanuel Mendy but his injury-time blast never bothered Pollitt.