Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Roy Hodgson Counting Down Days Until New Owners Are Found

Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson wants to see an end to "the strange times" as the club awaits a takeover.

Owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks tried to sell up this summer but interested parties such as Kenny Huang failed to conclude a deal. With a debt of £351.4 million, the ex-Fulham supremo has had to operate with his hands tied behind his back in the transfer market while a fresh cash injection is awaited.

Speaking to the League Managers' Association's magazine 'The Manager', Hodgson bemoaned the current state of affairs.

He said: "The club is up for sale and nobody knows what direction it will take if and when new owners are found.

"A few years ago when the situation was far more stable, the money to buy new players was available.

"I hope the situation will change when the club is eventually sold and owners who are prepared to invest in the club come in.

"When that situation arises I'm pretty sure that it won't be difficult for us to start achieving things again but at the moment the task is really to hang on to the players we've got and make certain we don't have a situation where we have got a total rebuilding process."

Despite the prospect of falling into the hands of creditors the Royal Bank of Scotland in October, Hodgson insisted Liverpool's past achievements still make them competitive.

"The stature, traditions and ability of Liverpool to attract players certainly makes it an achievable task even though we are in strange times," the 63-year-old stated.

"You should never try and dampen people's enthusiasm and optimism.

"Furthermore every season we see teams not expected to win titles winning them.

"It doesn't always go to the favourite in any country.

"So we should never play down the Liverpool fans' incredible desire and passion to keep winning trophies - and the Barclays Premier League in particular - and keep their noses in front of Manchester United."

John Aldridge: Roy Hodgson Must Find A Cure To Liverpool FC’s Travel Sickness

One major challenge facing Roy Hodgson this season is improving Liverpool’s shocking away form.

We were so poor on our travels last season that at times it left me lost for words. There was a serious lack of belief and desire when we played away and when things went against us heads went down.

The fact that we only won five and only scored 18 goals in 19 away games speaks volumes. We were too negative and didn’t take the game to opposing teams.

If we’re going to achieve anything in the league this season that has to be put right – starting with Sunday’s difficult trip to Birmingham City.

We’ve slipped up there a couple of times in recent years and they are a decent side.

But we should be going to places like St Andrew’s looking to win rather than sneak a point.

The manager has to install some belief in the players that they’re capable of going to tough places and getting three points. We need to put that defeat away to Manchester City firmly behind us.

Victory in the Midlands would breed confidence ahead of the following weekend’s clash away to Manchester United.

I feel sorry for Hodgson this week because it’s tough preparing for a game when you’ve got so many of your players scattered across the world playing internationals.

But at least with us not playing until Sunday he has an extra 24 hours to work with them on their return.

It was good to see Fernando Torres score a couple of goals for Spain against Liechtenstein last Friday and Liverpool should benefit from that boost to his confidence.

I just hope Torres comes through Spain’s game in Argentina unscathed. Having a friendly in South America at this time of year is just crazy. After all his injury problems, Torres needs to be wrapped in cotton wool, not taken halfway around the world for a meaningless game.

Torres has to be nurtured very carefully and I’m sure Hodgson will be looking to take him out of the firing line for Carling Cup games and some of the matches in Europe.

It was a disappointment to me that we didn’t sign a striker before the window closed. As a result so much hinges on Torres being fit this season.

When Torres doesn’t play, I would have Dirk Kuyt up there. Kuyt was bought as a striker and has the qualities needed to lead the line. Hopefully he will recover from his shoulder injury quickly.

Dirk Kuyt Set For Several Weeks On The Sidelines

Netherlands head coach Bert van Marwijk has dealt Liverpool a blow after he declared Dirk Kuyt would be sidelined for several weeks with a shoulder injury.

Kuyt, 30, started Friday's 5-0 Euro 2012 qualifying thumping of San Marino but has been ruled out of Tuesday's clash against Finland. De Telegraaf has reported that he was sent to hospital for scans to determine the extent of the damage after he sprained a joint landing awkwardly after acrobatically trying to connect with a cross.

Van Marwijk has now confirmed the attacker has flown back to Liverpool for further treatment.

He was quoted as saying by Voetbal Primeur: "Dirk always does a rainbow kick, but this time it didn't went well.

"He will be out for probably a few week. He stepped on an airplane to Liverpool at 4pm."

"It's not possible to play a very tough season without any punishment. These guys play in tough competition, they proceed in the Champions League, after that they immediately went on to the preparations of the World Cup and then they had a very tough tournament," the ex-Borussia Dortmund boss added.

"These players need four, five, maybe even six weeks of vacation. The pressure gets bigger and bigger, not just physically but also mentally.

"A lot of them will not go without injuries in the coming months."

In a costly session for the Dutch, Kuyt could be joined on the sidelines by VFB Stuttgart and former Chelsea defender Khalid Boulahrouz after he fell victim to a groin strain.

Van der Vaart Snubbed Reds

Rafael van der Vaart has revealed that he chose to join Tottenham ahead of Liverpool this summer.

The Holland international made a dramatic deadline day switch to White Hart Lane after seeing Harry Redknapp move late for his services.

It had appeared that the playmaker was all set to remain at Spanish giants Real Madrid, with no agreement in place to take him away from the Bernabeu.

However, Spurs snapped him up, with the move among the more intriguing to be completed during the summer transfer window.

Redknapp claimed at the time that he pounced for Van der Vaart after seeing Bayern Munich come up short in their efforts to do a deal.

However, the 27-year-old insists it was not the German giants who had made a late bid for his services.

Instead, he claims that Liverpool were the other side hoping to push through a deal, forcing him to choose between two Premier League heavyweights.

Van der Vaart told Sky Sports News: "Liverpool were interested. Bayern were not interested.

"In the end you have to have a good feeling, and with this manager I got a good feeling. I am happy and I am going to Spurs.

"I am going to give it my best and hopefully I will play a lot of games and be important for the team. I hope to get a lot of goals and have a lot of fun."

Van der Vaart is also looking forward to adding to the strong Dutch contingent already plying their trade in the English top flight.

Having been urged to move to the Premier League by his international colleagues for some time, the former Ajax and Hamburg ace is keen to see what all the fuss is about.

"They were always telling me, 'You have to come to England'," he added.

"Now it's happened and I am really looking forward to playing against Dirk (Kuyt), against Nigel (De Jong), against (John) Heitinga."

Bayern Munich Blocked My Deadline Day Loan Move To Liverpool - Mario Gomez

Mario Gomez has claimed that Bayern Munich blocked a deadline day loan move to Liverpool.

The Germany international made a move to the Bavarian club from Stuttgart last year, for a fee believed to be in the region of £26.3 million.

But the forward was unable to hold down a regular starting role following his switch, and had been linked with moves to a clutch of clubs this summer.

The Reds have been on the lookout for a striker to bolster their attack, as they have been heavily reliant on Fernando Torres in the recent past.

And the 25-year-old maintains that a move to Merseyside was on the cards, only for Bayern to use their veto power and keep him at the Allianz Arena.

"I have said that if I leave Bayern I will go abroad," Gomez told Bild.

"Then came this interesting offer from Liverpool. I took the loan offer seriously and discussed it with my family and girlfriend because I just want to play.

"But Bayern gave me the impression that they see a future for me. And therefore a change was not an issue anymore."

Jamie Carragher Gives Seal Of Approval To Roy Hodgson's Transfer Dealings

Liverpool veteran Jamie Carragher has given the thumbs up to manager Roy Hdogson's transfer dealings.

Hodgson, 63, arrived at Anfield this summer and immediately tried to reshape the squad under serious financial constraints.

Portugal star Raul Meireles, Fulham's Paul Konchesky, ex-Chelsea midfielder Joe Cole, Middlesbrough's Brad Jones, ex-Standard Liege attacker Milan Jovanovic, Juventus' Christian Poulsen and Rangers centre-back Danny Wilson were all brought in this summer, with Fabio Aurelio also being re-signed.

Carragher believes the players are of the right calibre to make the club competitive for a Champions League qualifying spot.

He said: "I think he has done very well but time will tell. You have to judge signings after Christmas - good or bad.

"We've started quite nicely and hopefully the couple of players we have brought in [late on] will help.

"Everyone realized we needed a left-back so Konchesky came in and Raul Meireles coming in is something we can all look forward to.

"Maybe he can replace the Xabi Alonso/Aquilani-type of player so I think it is looking okay."

I Have Fought Back From My Lows With Liverpool, Reveals Steven Gerrard

By last night Steven Gerrard had not ventured into the territory of personal turmoil with Wayne Rooney.

“Who am I to talk about things like that with Wayne Rooney? He's his own man,” he said.

But journeying through the elegant streets here brought the cold chill of recollection for the England captain about how it feels to be assailed by troubles back home and to attempt to put them aside when the football starts.

It was in Basle's St Jakob-Park Stadium that England's captain experienced what he remembered last night as one of his worst moments in football: Liverpool's arrival to face the local side in the 2002/3 Champions League group stage.

His parents, Paul and Julie, were in the throes of the divorce which devastated him and his form was painful to behold.

Liverpool were 3-0 down by half-time and Gerrard, utterly ineffectual, was subjected to a rocket by Gerrard Houllier and not even sent out for the second half during which he saw Liverpool eliminated, despite levelling the tie 3-3.

Houllier declared late that night that we were witnessing a case of a young star allowing his publicity to run away with him.

“I hope he doesn't believe everything that is written in the press about him, but he seems to be a good reader,” the then Liverpool manager said of Gerrard.

Gerrard's last moments out on the pitch here before his re-acquaintance with it in an energetic training session last night came on the disconsolate, track-suited walk he took to the Liverpool fans whose Champions League hopes were dead for another year, though the message for Rooney is that personal calamity can sometimes form a part of the journey in sport.

“You learn from things like that that happen to you, throughout your career,” Gerrard said. “Highs and lows? That was certainly a low in my career.

“I was sitting in the dressing room on my own having been taken off in one of my first Champions League games.

“The players go back out 3-0 down and you've put in a bad performance.

“It's a low point, let me tell you — probably one of the worst performances I've put in. I totally deserved to be whipped off at half-time.

Mark Lawrenson Hails Liverpool Defender Jamie Carragher As A 'Genuinely Good Person'

Former Liverpool defender Mark Lawrenson has showered praise on Jamie Carragher, proclaiming the 32-year-old as a "genuinely good person".

The defender's testimonial saw past and present Reds players take on an Everton XI at the weekend, in a game that also saw the Merseyside-born player fulfil his dream of scoring for Everton against Liverpool.

And the 53-year-old former Red believes that current Anfield favourite deserves all the praise that he gets, particularly in light of the recent events that have tarnished the image of football stars - John Terry, Ashley Cole and Peter Crouch have been in the tabloids for all the wrong reasons, while Wayne Rooney has joined the pack for an alleged extra-marital affair.

"He is a genuine human being and a great ambassador," Lawrenson said in a column for the Liverpool Daily Post.

"I know testimonials don’t mean as much to players these days, but when someone can do so much for charity it proves their influence.

"It’s proven by the fact that Steven Gerrard did whatever it took to take a break from international duty and make an appearance for his pal.

"And by the fact that Michael Owen was more concerned with helping Jamie than worrying about what abuse he might get by going back to Anfield. You have to applaud those guys and everyone else who turned up – but it’s Carragher who deserves the real plaudits.

"At a time when footballers are being called into question more than ever for their behaviour and attitude, it was great to see a genuinely good person in the headlines."