Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Liverpool Keen On £6m Roma Centre Back Philippe Mexes

Liverpool are hoping to beat other potential suitors to the signing of Roma’s unhappy centre back Philippe Mexes. The French international has lost his starting spot at the Stadio Olimpico and is reportedly ready to quit the club and has made remarks in the past about being interested in a move to the Premier League.

Roy Hodgson is looking to improve his defence and could well see the 28 year old as the ideal candidate to steady the Anfield back line and the vastly experienced former Auxerre man may well be keen on a new challenge after six years at the Serie A side.

Claudio Ranieri has already stated that Mexes will be used as cover and that has led many clubs to become interested in making a move for the powerfully built Toulouse born battler. The likes of Arsenal and Juventus has been linked with a move for his services.

Some sources feel that a move of as little as £6m may be enough to snap up Mexes and given the new owners on board at Liverpool this fee should be easily covered.

Liverpool Set Sights On Barcelona's Nolito

Premier League side Liverpool are interested in securing the services of Barcelona attacker Nolito, according to reports.

TalkSPORT claims that the English side is one of five clubs keeping tabs on the Barcelona B player, who has been in scintillating form so far this season in the Segunda division. Fiorentina, Monaco, Benfica, Panathinaikos and Spartak Moscow have also been linked with Nolito.

The 24-year-old’s current contract with Barcelona expires in the summer and he can start talking to clubs in January.

Nolito joined the Spanish champions in the summer of 2008 and made his debut for the first team on October 3 when he came on as a late substitute against Real Mallorca.

Chelsea Planning Fresh Move For Fernando Torres

Chelsea are believed to be keen on making a fresh move for Liverpool striker Fernando Torres.

The Blues had been heavily linked with a move for the Spaniard during the summer, with reports claiming that the Reds had even turned down a £25 million move for the World Cup winner.

But the 26-year-old reaffirmed his commitment to the club at the time, putting an end to any speculation concerning a move away from Merseyside.

However, the Reds have begun the season in a disastrous fashion, as they were eliminated from the League Cup by League Two strugglers Northampton Town.

Torres' form has also been brought into question as he has made seven appearances for the club this season, but has managed to score only one goal so far.

With the recent takeover saga having come to an end following Tom Hicks and George Gillett having to let go of their grip on the club, The Times claims that Chelsea are in line to test the resolve of the new top bosses by making a move for the hitman in January.

It is thought that Blues boss Carlo Ancelotti believes that the Anfield ace can forge a successful partnership with Didier Drogba before eventually going on to replace him at Stamford Bridge.

Manchester United Eye January Swoop For Fernando Torres

Manchester United are ready to test Liverpool's determination to retain Fernando Torres in January after being encouraged that the Spanish forward could be prised away from Anfield.

Real Madrid forwards Karim Benzema and Kaká are also on the Old Trafford club's radar with the club's owners, the Glazer family, acutely aware of the necessity to replace Wayne Rooney with another stellar name should the England forward leave.

Despite Sir Alex Ferguson's insistence that United will "leave the door open" for Rooney to reconsider his decision to leave, plans are already being drawn up to replace the former Everton striker if he is sold during the transfer window.

Although the prospect of enticing Torres from United's century-old rivals is likely to prompt acrimony and fury on the red half of Merseyside, the 26 year-old has emerged as a genuine target for Ferguson.

There is a growing perception within the game that the player is disenchanted at Liverpool and desperate to move elsewhere.

No player has moved directly between English football's two most successful clubs since the unheralded forward Phil Chisnall left Old Trafford for Anfield in 1964.

Paul Ince and Michael Owen have since represented both clubs, receiving condemnation from the supporters of their former employers in the wake of their moves, while Ferguson blocked Gabriel Heinze's attempts to leave United for Liverpool in 2007.

United are likely to face stiff competition from Chelsea and Manchester City should they pursue a move for Torres.

However, the impact and controversy generated by such a move is likely to be diminished should Rooney complete a potentially more explosive transfer from United to City.

Ferguson actively pursued Torres during the summers of 2006 and 2007 while the player was with Atletico Madrid, but with United moving for Carlos Tévez in 2007, Torres instead completed a £26.5 million transfer to Liverpool.

The complexities of United moving for Torres are rooted in the bitter rivalry between the two clubs, but the change of management and ownership at Liverpool in recent months has raised the prospect of a remarkable deal which would have been unthinkable during the management of Rafael Benítez.

Ferguson has already been told by the Glazers that Rooney's future is in his hands.

Similarly, any funds raised from his sale will be ploughed directly back into luring another A-list player to the club.

Kaká's failure to justify his £56 million transfer fee at Real has led to the Spanish club making it known that they would be open to offers for the Brazilian forward.

Rooney's reluctance to move to Spain would scupper United's hopes of a player trade, but Ferguson is a long-term admirer of the former AC Milan forward who, despite being 28, would be viewed as an immediate replacement for Rooney and a player capable of matching the England international's global appeal.

Kaká famously rejected a move to Manchester City in Jan 2009, opting instead to leave the San Siro for Real, but the player's struggles in Spain would now make him more receptive to a move to England.

Ferguson failed to thwart Real's move for Benzema last season, when the forward left Lyon for the Bernabeu following United's refusal to meet the French club's £35 million valuation.

The United manager made further inquiries as to Benzema's availability this summer, but the 22 year-old opted instead to remain in Spain.

Torres would tick several boxes for United should Ferguson be successful in his attempt to lure him from Anfield.

His signing would solve the goalscoring conundrum caused by the Rooney saga, but it would also signal a much-needed charisma boost for United at a time when the club and their owners require an emphatic response to the impending loss of their best player.

Eccleston Brace Earns Point

Nathan Eccleston blasted home a double as Liverpool Reserves claimed a 3-3 draw in an enthralling encounter at Blackburn on Tuesday night.

The Reds started brightly and got off to a flyer when Danny Wilson and Eccleston (penalty) put them in the driving seat inside 25 minutes.

However, Josh Morris reduced the arrears with a stunning free-kick before two goals in three second-half minutes from Junior Hoilett and Matty Pearson turned the game on its head.

With time running out, John McMahon's men poured forward and deservedly snatched a share of the spoils when Eccleston steered home Wilson's clipped cross at the far post.

It capped a pulsating 90 minutes of football and brought an end to the second-string's run of two straight defeats.

Ahead of the clash, the Reds boss had urged his youngsters to add a ruthless streak to the inventive approach play that has earned them so many admirers so far this season.

Indeed, just five goals from their first five matches suggested the Reds needed to be more clinical in front of goal but their cause was aided by the return to the line-up of Spanish whizz kid, Suso.

The youngster has made a fine impression since coming to the fore during the summer and he made an immediate impact in Lancashire, setting up the opener on six minutes.

The diminutive No.10 sent an inviting right wing corner to the far post where Wilson ghosted in to power a header in off the crossbar.

It was the perfect start for the visitors and, after surviving a spell of intense Rovers pressure, they should have doubled their lead on the quarter of an hour mark.

A lightning break saw Suso play a sublime outside of the foot ball into the path of Tom Ince, allowing the left winger the time to size up the opportunity and crash a shot against the crossbar, with Mark Bunn well beaten.

The home side were clearly struggling to cope with Liverpool's pace on the counter attack and on 25 minutes the Reds put together a piece of play that led to their second goal of the match.

A flowing move down the left saw Ince test Bunn with a fierce volley on the turn and as Eccleston chased down the rebound he was brought tumbling to the ground by Gavin Gunning.

The referee pointed to the spot allowing the No.9 to step up and outfox the Rovers stopper with a composed finish that followed an 'Aldo shuffle'.

At this point the hosts would have felt hard done by given their dominance in the early exchanges, but they dug deep and pulled a goal back just two minutes later.

A free-kick was awarded on the left edge of the visitors' penalty area, providing Morris with the opportunity to fizz a stunning 25 yard effort beyond the despairing dive of Martin Hansen.

The goal revitalised the home side and, although Eccleston should have restored the two-goal cushion when he lobbed wide when sent clear, Rovers began the second period in the ascendancy.

Some good work on the right side of the penalty area by Hoilett saw the forward tee up Michael Potts but the midfielder's low shot cannoned back off the near post via the knee of Hansen.

The chance merely served to increase the pressure on the Reds' young defence and on 51 minutes the hosts drew level. Hansen misjudged Jackson Ramm's run into the area, allowing the substitute to square the ball across the six yard box for Hoilett to gleefully sweep it into an unguarded net.

If that was a moment to forget for the Reds stopper, then it got even worse just three minutes later when Pearson prodded home from close range after he had completely missed his punch following a right wing corner.

The attacking verve that had caused Rovers so many problems in the first 45 was now conspicuous by its absence, but just when it looked like a third defeat on the spin was on the cards for McMahon's men, they put together a move that dragged them level on 80 minutes.

A left-wing free-kick was only partially cleared by the Blackburn defence, giving Wilson the chance to pull wide on the right side of the box and send in a superb cross for Eccleston to steer home at the far post.

With time running out the Reds pushed for what would surely be a winner and, although Steven Irwin and Pacheco both went close, they could not find the finish to claim a famous victory.

Rovers Extend Gulacsi Loan

Tranmere have extended Liverpool goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi's emergency loan stay at the club by one month.

On-loan Manchester City stopper Gunnar Nielsen remains unavailable due to a shoulder injury, so Gulacsi, 20, will stay at Prenton Park.

Rovers boss Les Parry said: "Peter is a quality goalkeeper so I'm pleased to be able to keep him at the club for another month while Gunnar is injured.

"He has done well for us since he has come back, has a great attitude and is a good professional.

"I'd like to thank Liverpool Football Club for allowing Peter to spend another month with us."

Rijkaard On The Brink At Gala understands Frank Rijkaard is on the brink of quitting Galatasaray.

The Turkish club are believed to have held an emergency board meeting on Monday to discuss Rijkaard's future after a disappointing start to the season.

Galatasaray are currently languishing in ninth spot in the Turkish Super Lig and the pressure has intensified on Rijkaard following the weekend defeat to Ankaragucu.

Rijkaard is believed to be ready to leave and is ready for a new challenge after a disappointing spell in Turkey.

The news is sure to fuel speculation that Rijkaard could be a contender for the Liverpool job, should Roy Hodgson lose his role at Anfield.

Former Barcelona coach Rijkaard was a contender prior to Hodgson's appointment.

And he is thought to be keen on the switch if the Reds' new owners end up losing patience with Hodgson with the club just one place off the bottom of the Premier League.

Liverpool Council Seeks Meeting With Liverpool FC Executives Over Stadium Plans

City council officials hope to meet with Liverpool FC bosses within a fortnight to discuss their stadium plans.

New owners New England Sports Ventures have yet to decide whether to build the proposed new stadium in Stanley Park or redevelop Anfield.

When NESV took over the Boston Red Sox, it invested in the baseball club’s existing Fenway Park home instead of building a new stadium.

Last night Liverpool council leader Joe Anderson said his preferred option was for the club to build a new stadium, as it would act as a catalyst for further regeneration of the area.

A new stadium was also part of the city’s bid to be a World Cup venue in the event England’s 2018 bid is successful.

Anfield was included in the bid, but it was made clear at the time that this was seen very much as a back-up plan.

Council bosses had been due to meet the club in the past couple of weeks, but the meeting was cancelled while the future of the club was thrashed out. Planning permission for the new stadium runs out next year, although it could be extended fairly easily.
Cllr Anderson said: “We are committed to work with LFC on the future way forward.

“Our preference is for the club to build a new stadium as this would not only lead to a fantastic new venue, but would assist in regenerating the wider Anfield area.

“I hope to meet with the club within the next two weeks to explore all the options moving forward.”

Merseyside MPs gave a cautious welcome to the new owners after meeting with NESV principal investors John W Henry and Tom Werner on Monday.

Liverpool fan and Walton MP Steve Rotheram said: “They listened a lot more intently than the last two characters and were far more open to suggestions that they should look at the full regeneration of Anfield, not just the ground itself.

“He said the new owners were clearly looking at ways of using the stadium outside matchdays to create new income streams.

“My first impression was very positive. Although they are the same nationality as the last two owners, they are very different people.

“Their plans are to take the club forward in a positive manner.”

Wirral South MP Alison McGovern, also an LFC fan, said it was clear Henry wanted to listen and learn.

“We shared our concerns. The relationship with the fans has been really damaged and we need to take steps to put it back together. Although they were not going to commit to anything, they seemed genuinely keen to listen.

“We will all be obviously cautious, you can only take people by what they do and what they say.

“Ultimately it is going to be actions not words that we judge them on.”

She added: “The priority is putting the club on a solid financial footing so the same thing never happens again.”