Thursday, November 18, 2010

Reds Fume At Gerrard Injury

England and Liverpool have both confirmed that an agreement was broken over the amount of time Steven Gerrard would spend on the pitch against France.

After talks between the Merseyside club and England, it was agreed that Fabio Capello would play Gerrard for no more than an hour.

However, Gerrard ended up playing until just six minutes from time when he was forced off with a hamstring injury.

Capello's decision saw Liverpool's head of fitness and conditioning Darren Burgess post a tweet slamming England's behaviour as 'disgraceful'

In his tweet, which was removed 55 minutes after going up on Twitter, Burgess said: "Unbelievable from all associated with England and English FA with regard to Steven Gerrard's injury. Completely ignored agreement and past history.

"Completely amateurish and now we pay for their incompetence. Absolutely disgraceful."

Capello admitted that an injury to Gareth Barry meant he had to stay on beyond the previously agreed schedule.

However, Capello insisted that any club cannot dictate to a national team how long somebody should play.

"We spoke with Steve and he said he would play one hour, but after Barry's injury we had some problems," admitted Capello.

"That was the reason he stayed on the pitch. If it's possible, the players will play the time we agreed with the club.

"But Barry was really injured so we needed someone senior on the pitch because it was a really young team. He said he was good.

"They [Liverpool] asked that he can play one hour if it's possible. They can't decide how long a player plays with the national team.

"If it's possible, he'd have played an hour. I understand why they're upset and I'm also upset.

"The problem is that, when you play this game on Wednesday after a lot of Premier League, Europa League or Champions League games, it's possible there might be an injury for a player. The Premier League, every time, is a tough league for the players."

"We're upset about what happened to Steve, of course."

Roy Hodgson Targets FC Copenhagen Left-Back Oscar Wendt

Liverpool are interested in signing FC Copenhagen's Swedish left-back Oscar Wendt, according to club scout Jakob Friis-Hansen.

Twenty-five-year-old Wendt has been at the Danish club since 2006 and has indicated that he plans to leave when his contract runs out at the end of the Danish season.

Tottenham Hotspur and AS Roma have been linked with the player in the past and Friis-Hansen had revealed that Liverpool are particularly keen to bring the player to Anfield to bolster Roy Hodgson’s squad.

''We are keeping a good eye on Oscar," Friis-Hansen told The Expressen.

"He does a great job, but he must play at a high level every week. In Denmark, there are just a few high-quality games.’’

Friis-Hansen says FC Basel left-back Behrang Safari, another Sweden international, is also being monitored by the club, who already have summer signing Paul Konchesky and Fabio Aurelio on their books, with Emiliano Insua, another left-back, on loan at Galatasaray for the season.

Liverpool Challenge Arsenal And Chelsea In Race For European Wonderkid

Liverpool are the latest high-profile club to be linked with a move for Belgian starlet Romelu Lukaku.

The 17-year-old Anderlecht striker has been on the radar of Europe's elite for a few seasons now, and Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson is the latest Premier League manager to apparently run-the-rule over the player.

Heavily linked with Chelsea in the past, Didier Drogba is thought to have previously spoken to the player in a bid to entice him to Stamford Bridge.

Lukaku, dubbed 'the new Drogba' himself, has also been linked with Real Madrid, Inter Milan, Spurs and Arsenal during his relatively short career.

A prodigy in his current club's youth academy, the striker made his debut in 2009 and has scored 22 goals in 48 Belgian Pro League matches. At international level, a brace in last night's friendly win against Russia provided a hint of Lukaku's quality, with seven caps to his name already.

Liverpool will undoubtedly face competition for the player's signature should they make a move in January, although Irish website place the Anfield club in pole position to land the player.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is renowned for bringing the best out of young talent at the Emirates, and he too could consider a move for the player as the Gunners look to challenge on several fronts this season.

Chelsea will also be monitoring the situation, with Carlo Ancelotti keen to continue strengthening the current champions.

It is the Reds who are possibly most in need of the player's services though, with Hodgson thought to be searching for a new attacking foil for Fernando Torres at Liverpool. Lukaku could fit the bill nicely.

Griezmann Agent Denies Offer

Antoine Griezmann's agent has denied that there has been any offer for the Real Sociedad winger, despite reported interest from Liverpool.

The 19-year-old French starlet is thought to have caught the eye of the Reds after bursting onto the scene for the Spanish club.

Griezmann was a revelation for Sociedad as they won promotion to La Liga last season and has continued his impressive form this term.

Liverpool director of football Damien Comolli is thought to be an admirer of the attacker, but his agent John Williams denies an offer is on the table.

He said: "I have received many questions about Antoine but now there are no offers on the table."

Griezmann has represented France at youth level and is believed to command a fee in the €7million (£6m) region.

He has a contract in San Sebastian that runs until the summer of 2015 and Sociedad are keen to retain the talented youngster.

Liverpool Fans Haven't Seen The True Me Yet - Christian Poulsen

Christian Poulsen insists that there is still a lot more to come from him at Liverpool.

The Danish midfielder arrived in a £4.5 million deal with Juventus during the summer, but has since been unable to create a significant impact in the squad.

Even manager Roy Hodgson has admitted that the 30-year-old has had a bad start to his career on Merseyside, as the former Sevilla man is yet to win over the fans.

"I don’t think the Liverpool fans have seen the true me yet," Poulsen said, according to The Mirror.

"We have a new coach, new backroom staff, new players and now new owners. It has taken time for us to find ourselves as a team.

"We have had some victories and I hope we can move further up the table. I really want to play a big part here."

Poulsen also maintained that he has no regrets about making the switch to join the Reds during the summer, despite the criticism he has taken in recent times.

"Juventus was a good experience and I feel positive about my time there," he said. "But I understand it was also time for me to move on and when Liverpool approached me, I wasn’t going to say no. Every day when I drive through the gates at Melwood, I realise this is the biggest club I’ve played for.

"I knew I was coming to a big, big club and that competition for places in the team would be very tough.

"There has been a lot of pressure because the start of the season hasn’t been so good. But I’m happy to be here. Everything is in place for me to try and get back into the team and make an impact on Liverpool’s season."

Alberto Aquilani Wants Glen Johnson To Join Him At Juventus

Juventus are considering a bid to keep Alberto Aquilani permanently – as the midfielder claims he wants Glen Johnson to join him in Turin.

The Italian international moved to Juve on loan in August after a disappointing spell with Liverpool last season.

He has subsequently recaptured his form, scoring once in 10 appearances and seemingly enjoying being back in the more sedate arena of Serie A

Giuseppe Marotta – Juve’s Sporting Director – said: “From our side there is complete resolve.

“He’s doing better than expected. We have until June next year to do the deal.”

Aquilani never settled on Merseyside but he did strike up a friendship with right-back Johnson and he said: “What former Liverpool team-mate would I bring to Juventus? I would take Glen Johnson.

“I hope to convince the directors of Juventus to buy me from Liverpool,” added Aquilani.

At Juve I would like to open a new era with the team. Sixteen million euros is a lot, but they can negotiate.

“Juve was a huge opportunity for me, I could not lose it.

“Leaving Italy was not easy, I faced many life changes. It also depends on me but if they (Juventus) want me then I will remain.”

Ngog Aims To Be 'Complete'

Liverpool striker David Ngog wants to improve every attribute in his attacking arsenal.

The 21-year-old Frenchman remains second choice to Fernando Torres at Anfield, but amid his club's struggles he has shown clear signs of development in his form and conditioning this season.

Ngog has scored seven goals in all competitions and his hold-up play in a lone role has advanced in the last 12 months.

The former Paris St Germain forward wants to continue to progress under new manager Roy Hodgson, who has shown faith in the youngster, and he is not afraid of hard graft.

"I did a lot of work in the gym last season and have continued that this year," Ngog told LFC Weekly magazine.

"As a team we have also been doing more strength work since the new fitness coaches arrived. I think all that work has made a difference to my game.

"With working in the gym, time and experience you learn to use your body in a better way.

"I think year after year I will get better at that. You pick up more tricks and different ways to hold the ball up. You are more prepared for physical opponents.

"I work on my all-round game all the time, not just being stronger. I want to be involved in different areas of the pitch, not just in the box.

"I want to have lots of different qualities, to be the complete striker. Obviously it's important for a striker to score goals. But you have to be able to do a lot of other things too."

Juve Want Aquilani Permanently

Juventus are keen to tie down Liverpool loanee Alberto Aquilani on a permanent deal, according to sporting director Giuseppe Marotta.

Italy midfielder Aquilani, who arrived at Anfield from Roma in August 2009, is currently on a season-long loan with the Serie A club.

The 26-year-old has impressed for the Bianconeri so far this term, helping them climb to fourth in the standings, and Marotta confirmed Juventus are eager to retain his services.

When questioned on the possibility of signing the Italian on a permanent contract, he said: "From our side there is the complete resolve to do this. He's doing better than expected.

"(But) we have time, until June next year to do this."

Marotta admitted Juve are looking at bolstering their resources when the transfer window opens in January.

He added: "In January we will try to strengthen the team, always in the context of our business plan."