Wednesday, November 03, 2010

John W. Henry Dreams Of Liverpool Winning Premier League Title

Liverpool owner John W. Henry has revealed that he dreams of the club winning the Premier League title.

The American insists that he wakes up "thinking about what we can do to improve our chances of winning a championship".

The Reds have only recently been subject to a takeover by NESV after enduring a storm under the care of former owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett, and have not won the league title in the past 20 years.

"We are focused on getting the club positioned to win trophies within the Financial Fair Play rules that are being imposed next year," Henry said, according to the Liverpool Echo.

"That means off the field we are intent on increasing LFC revenues worldwide.

"On the field we have to be smarter.

"Arsenal and Man U have depth that is young and capable. We do not. We have a lot of work to do there. A lot of work. And we will, but we have to be smart about it. We are here for the long term.

"Everything we do is for the long term. Our biggest responsibility is to bring in the right people to the club on and off the field.”

Henry added: "We are an organization filled with people who are driven to compete at the highest level.

"There certainly are better investments than sports clubs, but we know that everything we do has meaning to large numbers of people – and what we do has meaning for us.

"It’s incredibly interesting."

Roy Hodgson Reveals Right-Back Glen Johnson Could Return Against Napoli

Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson has revealed that right-back Glen Johnson could return from injury in the Europa League clash with Napoli on Thursday night – but Dirk Kuyt, Daniel Agger and Joe Cole are all out.

Johnson has missed the past four games with a muscle injury but, after training on Tuesday, he is likely to be involved at some stage on Thursday. Cole, meanwhile, could yet make a surprise return to face his former club Chelsea on Sunday.

“Johnson trained today,” Hodgson revealed to the club's official website.

“If nothing happens tomorrow then he can play on Thursday.

“Dirk Kuyt is making extraordinary progress and with any luck he’ll train with the team on Friday.

“For the weekend [match against Chelsea] he’s a possibility if all goes well with the training sessions on Friday and Saturday.

“With Cole it’s not as bad as feared. It shouldn’t keep him out for that long. I would say it’s a week to 10-day injury.

“The scan was positive in that it’s a very minor tear he has, but you can’t really put a definite date on how long that tear is going to take to repair, but the physical people are very optimistic.

“It’s a question of how quickly he can recover and what progress he can make. At the moment he’s not even ruled out for the Chelsea game, but we’ll see how he goes later in the week.”

Agger, meanwhile, is still expected to be out for some time, having not featured since September 25 due to a calf problem.

“Daniel Agger has quite a serious problem with his calf,” Hodgson explained.

“It’s a question of time and there’s not much more the physios and medical staff can do. We have to be patient.”

While Agger has been out, Sotirios Kyrgiakos has impressed in the centre of defence.

The 31-year-old also missed half of Tuesday’s training session as a precaution, however.

“Kyrgiakos is feeling his groin slightly,” Hodgson revealed. “As a matter of caution we took him out of today’s training session half way through to give him a bit of a rest.”

Liverpool Plot £10 Million Move For Former Arsenal Star

Liverpool are the latest Premier League club to be linked with a move for Real Madrid midfielder Lassana Diarra.

The 24-year-old defensive midfielder has English football experience during his time with Chelsea, Arsenal and Portsmouth, and Reds boss Roy Hodgson is keen to strengthen with experience in the January transfer window.

Diarra has reportedly fallen out of favour at Madrid, the club he joined in January 2009 for £20 million from Pompey. Under Jose Mourinho, chances at the Santiago Bernabeu appear to be at a premium, and the 'special one' is willing to listed to offers for the player.

Liverpool were originally linked with 'Lass' in August, when UK reported that the Anfield club had made an enquiry about the player's availability.

TalkSPORT now reports that Tottenham Hotspur, Everton and Aston Villa have all joined the chase for the player since, leaving Liverpool with a fight on their hands if they want to secure the player's signing in 2011.

Former Fulham boss Hodgson has been promised money to spend by new Liverpool owners NESV, and the Merseyside outfit has been linked with a string of attacking players as they search for a foil for Fernando Torres.

Strengthening key defensive areas is another priority, and Liverpool could do that with a move for a French international midfielder with the quality of Diarra. Due to interest from other clubs, it will cost the Anfield outfit in the region of £10 million.

Liverpool Face Fight For Brazilian Wing Wizard

Liverpool are being challenged in a potential race to sign Brazilian winger Renato Augusto.

The Bayer Leverkusen winger started his career at homeland Flamengo, joining the club's youth system in 2001 and making his senior debut in 2005. After three years and 89 appearances for Mengo, the Bundesliga club would pay an undisclosed fee in the region of €10 for Augusto's services.

Former Reds boss Rafa Benitez was heavily linked with a move for the player in January 2009, and Augusto has continued to produce solid performances at the BayArena.

Manchester City are now thought to be interested in the player, with German paper Express reporting that the Citizens are willing to spend in the region of €20 million for the player.

The news could reignite Liverpool's interest in the player, with new boss Roy Hodgson promised funds to spend by new owners NESV.

John W. Henry and his company are thought to have given the Liverpool manager in the region of £35 million for January, and although a striker is the main priority the Anfield club could look to strengthen in other positions too.

Hodgson has recently hinted that he could look to bring 'five or six' player into the club in the first month of 2011, and Liverpool are one of the clubs with the financial power to bring the player to the Premier League.

"We have a good team here in Leverkusen. However, we cannot compete financially with the big European clubs," Rudi Voller told Express.

Stoke To Revive £4m Lucas Bid In The New Year

Tony Pulis has launched a £4m bid to sign Liverpool midfielder Lucas in the New Year.

Stoke boss Pulis is ready to move for the Brazil international and offer him a fresh start at the Britannia Stadium.

Lucas nearly joined the Potters in the summer on transfer deadline day but Roy Hodgson scrapped the deal hours before 6pm.

But Pulis will step up his attempts to land the 23-year-old in January as he bids to boost his midfield.

Lucas has played the last six games for Liverpool but could be allowed to leave if Hodgson needs to raise funds.

Ancelotti: No Torres Bid

Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti has revealed that he has no plans to bid for struggling Liverpool striker Fernando Torres.

The Blues, who have been long linked with a move for the Spaniard, have already scored 27 league goals this season and are five points ahead of their nearest rivals at the top of the table.

With Torres struggling with form netting only two during the Reds horrendous campaign, Ancelotti has dismissed reports of a bid for the 26-year-old.

Ancelotti said: "In this moment, we don't really need to have a striker, a fantastic striker, like Torres.

"We can be competitive in all competitions with this squad. The most important thing is to avoid injury."

Reds' manager Roy Hodgson had fueled speculation by admitting that the Merseyside club would have to fend off approaches for the Spain international when asked about the possibility of a Manchester United approach.

But Ancelotti has revealed that he planning to promote players from within when the time would come to replace his ageing forwards Nicolas Anelka and Didier Drogba.

"I always said that Torres is not our aim for the future because we have trust in a lot of young players," stated the Italian.

"We also have fantastic strikers in Didier Drogba, Nicolas Anelka and Salomon Kalou and fantastic young players like Daniel Sturridge and Gael Kakuta."

Reserves Win After Own-Goal Double

Liverpool Reserves remain top of the league after two own-goals helped them earn a superb 2-1 victory over Sunderland on Tuesday night.

Home defenders twice had their heads in their hands in the early moments amid torrential rain.

The Black Cats then struck back with a Dan Madden header just after the restart but John McMahon's side - who were without several influential names due to Europa League call-ups - did more than enough to earn their first away win of 2010-11.

The second stringers now have nine points from seven games and lead their five-team section of the Barclays Premier Reserve League.

It took the Reds just seven minutes to make their mark on the scoresheet after Sunderland goalkeeper scythed David Amoo near the corner flag. Suso took the resulting free-kick and saw it nodded back across goal by Victor Palsson before Michael Ngoo's toe-poke was diverted in by Robbie Weir.

Sunderland almost struck back with a lethal ball into the box by Liam Noble, but none of his teammates could make a connection.

A Nathan Luscombe drive down the right might have paid off after John Flanagan was beaten, but Dean Bouzanis made a smart save to keep his sheet blank.

Seconds later the 20-year-old was called into action again to stop a point-blank header from Jordan Cook.

Instead it was Liverpool who scored next on 19 minutes when a Palsson header ricocheted off Madden and into the net.

Substitute Nathan Wilson attempted to pull one back on 35 minutes with a side-footed effort which followed a slick move from the hosts. Bouzanis was again equal to it, though, with a superb diving save.

Shortly after that, the impressive Ngoo found himself some space 30 yards from goal before smashing a fierce effort narrowly over the bar. His tall physique, married to a classy touch, could undoubtedly earn him senior recognition in the coming years.

It was Sunderland who mustered the final chance of the first period when Luscombe forced another fine save from Liverpool's Australian goalkeeper with a smack from the edge of the area.

By the time the second half got under way, the North-East rain had abated, and it was the hosts who took advantage of the improved conditions.

Bouzanis was required to make another superb save from Wilson before Liam Noble nearly made a name for himself with a beautifully taken volley from outside the area. Steven Irwin deflected it wide only for Madden to power home with his head from the resulting corner on 50 minutes.

The visitors had yet to stamp their authority on the second period the way they did the first, though Suso - whose balls into the box created both Liverpool goals - fell narrowly shy of getting one himself with a curling free-kick on 63 minutes.

As the half went on, Liverpool again began to exert their authority, with Suso getting a lot of the ball in midfield and Ngoo perennially dangerous whenever possession came his way. At the back, Flanagan, Palsson, Jack Robinson and Chris Mavinga were all impressing, while Bouzanis showed why many of those who follow the reserves rate him highly.

The only slight slip from Bouzanis came with just over 10 minutes to go when he parried a cross into the path of David Healy, but he was smart in his reactions and the Northern Irishman was denied. Seconds later Mavinga stood firm with a brave block to help keep his side in front.

Matthew Fletcher and Healy both wasted great opportunities with time running out and Liverpool hung on for the win.

Football Game At Sky Vegas

Most people will already know that Sky broadcasts many live football matches and covers football news on its Sky Sports TV channels, but recently the football theme has turned up in a somewhat less obvious location as part of Sky’s various enterprises. Sky Vegas is an online casino site run by Sky Betting and Gaming, a subsidiary of the main Sky company. One of the games currently featured on the online casino website is based around the concept of star football legends. It is a digital version of the popular card game Top Trumps, in which cards bear certain statistics, and higher values beat the lower ones.

With football Top Trumps at Sky Vegas, the aim is to choose the value on your current card that you think will definitely be higher than the corresponding statistic on your opponent’s. Each card represents a football player, such as Wayne Rooney or Johan Cruyff. The six statistics included on every card are year of birth, international caps, international goals, number of clubs, honours and the hall of fame value. For example, if you had a particularly young player, you might choose to play his year of birth because it will be a higher value than an older player.

That’s how the basics of the game work, but you also have to factor in the betting element. After your card of the round has been revealed but before you choose your statistic, you must set how high a stake you want to play. You can increase the value in pounds, starting at a minimum of £1.

Sky Vegas also includes odds in the Top Trumps games, so that when you are choosing your statistic you can see the odds of your win beside it. This means you can make decisions based on how likely you are to choose a winning statistic, and how much of a payout you will receive if you do.

Football Top Trumps is just one of the many games on offer at the Sky Vegas online casino. It’s a popular choice due to its football theme and the simplicity of the game play, as you can quickly collect a small stash of money if you play your cards right. Sky Vegas also has a corresponding channel on Sky TV, which can be purchased as part of the Sky Variety Entertainment Package. You can play some of the best Sky Vegas games on your television if you add this channel to your subscription. Sky Vegas also has a sister site, Sky Poker, which also has a channel on Sky TV.