Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Liverpool Line Up Dutch Legend For Shock Anfield Move

Frank Rijkaard is the bookies favourite to replace under-fire Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson.

The former Fulham boss is under increased scrutiny at Anfield following the weekend defeat to Stoke, and the odds have dramatically shortened on Rijkaard becoming the new man at the Liverpool helm.

Martin O’Neill and Guus Hiddink are also thought to be in contention, while Liverpool fans’ favourite Kenny Dalglish is a 12/1 shot with SkyBet.

New Reds owner John W. Henry has given his backing to the current Anfield management teaming, stating that Liverpool do not need a quick fix to resolve the current problems on Merseyside.

However, with financial investment in the squad set to be made during the January transfer window, speculation is rife that NESV could make a change at Anfield’s top position.

Bookmakers slashed their odds on a predecessor to Hodgson following the defeat in the Potteries, and the former Barcelona manager making his Premier League entrance at Liverpool appears to be a distinct possibility.

Sammy Lee Calls For Liverpool FC Consistency

Sammy Lee has promised no stone will be left unturned as Liverpool bid to find the consistency that will get them climbing the table once more.

The Reds have slipped up in the last two games against Stoke City and Wigan Athletic, having given the impression they had turned the corner with a four-match unbeaten run that culminated with a 2-0 win over Chelsea.

Liverpool are currently 11th in the Premier League standings but the volatile nature of the division means teams can easily climb the table if they happen to string a decent run of results together in a short space of time.

A glance at Liverpool’s fixtures over the coming six weeks suggests there is an opportunity to make ground if Roy Hodgson’s men can discover the right blend and Lee hopes they will put things right in style.

“I can understand the euphoria after our win over Chelsea but we have always said that we take nothing for granted,” said the assistant manager. “We got a great result against Chelsea and then followed it up with two indifferent results.

“We are all asking that question about consistency, none more so the players. These players want to improve, get better and be more consistent.

“We are all in it together and are all trying to find how we can get back to a more consistent vein of form. Even after the win against Chelsea we were still complaining and analyzing things that we need to improve on. I can promise everyone that we are still working hard and trying to put things right.”

Liverpool look to have the perfect opportunity to get back on track this weekend when they welcome the Premier League’s bottom side to Anfield but, as always, Lee is respectful of West Ham United’s merits.

What’s more, he has warned that if Liverpool perform as they did against Stoke, they are likely to encounter even more problems

“Every game is difficult in this league and we have got to take each one as it comes,” Lee said. “Stoke were aggressive and physical against us and we should have resisted it. Unfortunately we didn’t do enough of that – but we’ve got to forget about that now.

“I don’t look at the league table until the end of the season because there are no easy games and each one has it’s own degree of difficulty. We will be looking for maximum effort against West Ham in our next game from everybody.

“Hopefully our quality can prevail but it won’t be easy. They will come here and try to shut up shop and try and prevent us from playing our game plan, but we need to make sure our game plan is better than West Ham’s on the day.”

Liverpool Left-Back Fabio Aurelio Says He's Ready To Face West Ham

Liverpool left-back Fabio Aurelio says he's ready to play against West Ham United on Saturday after recovering from Achilles and groin problems.

The Brazilian, who has not played for the first team since the Europa League win in Trabzonspor on August 26 featured for the reserves on Tuesday against Blackpool.

"I feel good after the 75 minutes for the reserves and I'm ready for Saturday if the manager needs me," Aurelio told

"I have been training well and I was in the squad for the Stoke game but didn't make the bench. Hopefully I can play on Saturday.

"It was good to get some minutes against Blackpool and I enjoyed being back. Hopefully I can start a run of games for the first team now.

"It has been frustrating not to play but I have been working hard and kept my confidence up.

"I had an Achilles problem and then after I played for the reserves in a friendly at Huddersfield I suffered a small groin problem, but now I feel good and I'm ready to work hard for the manager.

"The more you play the more confidence you have. I'm feeling good and just want to play again."

Liverpool Prepare £7m Bid For Exciting Winger Antoine Griezmann

Liverpool are reportedly prepared to spend £7million on Real Sociedad winger Antoine Griezmann.

The Anfield club has been linked with the 19-year-old before, but the Daily Mail claims that Liverpool's director of football strategy Damien Comolli has previously had contact with the player while at St Etienne and is now keen to sign him for Liverpool.

Griezmann is a goal-scoring winger with great technique, strength and pace, somewhat reminiscent of Cristiano Ronaldo. The Frenchman can also play as a striker. Despite being left-footed, Griezmann can also unleash a powerful shot and provide great passes with his right. He is also a free-kick specialist and takes corner kicks regularly.

Griezmann is a highly talented player who enjoyed his first professional season last term in which he was instrumental in leading Real Sociedad back to the top flight. He has also started this season in good form, scoring three goals in ten games so far.

Given his growing reputation, Liverpool are unlikely to be the only club interested in signing Griezmann.

Liverpool Renew Interest In Former Tottenham Man Reto Ziegler

Liverpool have renewed their interest in Sampdoria's Reto Ziegler , according to German and Italian reports.

The former Tottenham man's contract with Sampdoria expires at the end of the season, and negotiations about an extension appear to have stalled.

The German 4-4-2 Web site says Juventus, Liverpool and Werder Bremen are chasing the 24-year-old Swiss international, while Tutto Mercato says the Reds and Valencia CF are after his services.

Ziegler is quite a quick and talented left back/left midfielder who has great technical ability and sends in nice crosses.

His neat football impressed Tottenham fans in the 2006⁄2007 season, before the youngster was sold to Sampdoria.

Due to his contract ending in June, he is valued at €2.5M-5M.

Milan Jovanovic & Ryan Babel To Be Used As Bait For Lucas Barrios

Liverpool are ready to table a bid for Dortmund striker Lucas Barrios, offering either Ryan Babel or Milan Jovanovic as well as cash as part of a deal in the January transfer window, according to reports.

The Paraguayan international is reported to have a £10 million price tag, and he is also attracting the interest of Italian giants AC Milan, according to talkSPORT.

The 26-year-old has scored seven goals for Dortmund in the Bundesliga this season, and the Paraguayan has reportedly been on Liverpool’s radar for a while, as former Reds manager Rafael Benitez seemingly hoped to bring him to Anfield during his managerial stint.

Martin Skrtel Withdraws From Slovakia Squad For Bosnia-Herzegovina Friendly

Slovakia coach Vladimir Weiss will have to make do without the services of highly rated Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel when his men take on Bosnia-Herzegovina in Wednesday's international friendly.

The towering centre-back sustained an injury in his side's 2-0 league loss against Stoke City last weekend and will be sidelined for a few days as a result.

"I've had problems with my knee and ankle since the Stoke game. Before half-time, one of the opposing players kicked me in the knee from behind and I had to finish the game under pain-killers," Skrtel was quoted as saying by Sky Sports.

"Besides that, I also twisted my ankle, which has been haunting me since a friendly game against Costa Rice in June. Right after the game, I called the Slovakia coach and explained my situation to him. I'm glad he understood and gave me free time.

"It would make no sense to travel to Slovakia and be there for two days when it is uncertain whether I would play or not. If it was a qualifier I would surely travel, but this way we have agreed it's better for me to stay in Liverpool and try to recover."

Liverpool FC Academy Must Focus On British Youngsters, Says Damien Comolli

Liverpool FC's director of football strategy Damien Comolli admits increased competition to sign young players means the club must prioritise British-born talent in their search for the next generation of Anfield academy stars.

In his first interview since joining Liverpool following New England Sports Ventures’ takeover, Comolli set down his blueprint for taking the club forward under the new American owners, with the development of the club’s youth programmes paramount in his plans.

With Premier League clubs casting their nets ever wider in the search for up-and-coming stars, the academy education that once was the preserve of British youngsters has been extended to overseas talent.

Comolli admits Liverpool will still employ a global scouting network, but said the club’s priority will be to retain a core element of English talent, typified in the current squad by the likes of Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher.

"We really want to concentrate on getting young English or British kids. I think that’s very important if we want to keep an identity to get those kids into the football club," Comolli said.

"Usually the big European clubs don’t come into England to get players so there will be massive competition in England with all the other big clubs, and then if we need to go abroad or decide to bring in a young kid from a foreign country because we think he’s a top talent then there will be competition with other clubs.

"There are two things. You need to spot them, identify them, make sure they’ve got the right attitude, the right mentality, the right spirit that you want them around on a day-to-day basis.

"The second thing is convincing them to come. That requires a lot of time, it requires a skill set from the scouts, or from myself."

Comolli revealed he expects former Liverpool player and manager Kenny Dalglish to have a big role to play in the recruitment of young players in his role as academy ambassador.

"I’m sure Kenny can have a massive impact if he meets the kid or his parents," Comolli continued.

"That’s almost the most difficult part. Spotting a fantastic player is not that difficult, convincing them to come to us, that comes back to competition and that can be more difficult.

"We will have to be very, very good at it."

He added: "The academy comes under my remit and I’m really looking forward to helping the guys continue to develop. I think for the last 12 or 15 months they have worked very well.

"I had time to look at the coaching programmes and what they are trying to do. They are very eager, motivated, they want to develop players, they want to get the best for the club, they want to be one of the leading academies in Europe."

McMahon Rues Missed Chances

John McMahon felt missed opportunities cost his side dear as the reserves were held to a 1-1 draw with Blackpool at the Academy on Tuesday afternoon.

Nathan Eccleston had given the Reds the lead with a superbly crafted goal, but Ishmel Demontagnac equalised for the away side with a shot that looped over Brad Jones and found the net.

"I thought we played some football but it's all about end product and we didn't have that today," McMahon told

"We started well and Nathan scored a good goal but it was a pity we didn't have more of that inventiveness and clever play around the box.

"The general play and organisation was good but it's just disappointing we couldn't finish them off because when you don't do that there is always the chance you can concede.

"I can't be too disappointed because we played against some experienced players out there and for our young lads that's great for their development."

Fabio Aurelio made a welcome return to action when he played for 75 minutes and McMahon reported it was a successful comeback.

"It was always planned to give Fabio 75 minutes and he showed what quality he does have on the ball.

"He is fine and he helps the other lads out.

"He is a fantastic professional. He always does things right and it is a pleasure to have him with the group."