Thursday, November 25, 2010

Phil Thompson: Liverpool FC Are Right To Return To Asia

It’s great news that Liverpool are heading back to Asia for a pre-season tour next summer.

I’ve seen for myself the amazing love people out there have for Liverpool Football Club.

It really is astonishing and we have millions of fans across that continent.

We should go to places like that as we retain a huge fan base that needs to be fed.

Details are still to be finalized but what I would say is that it’s got to be a maximum of three games as you don’t want to tire the players out.

It also has to be in July as you want to be back in plenty of time before the league starts.

The popularity of the club in Asia is why the 39th game is not as daft as everyone keeps making out.

It’s just how you actually manage it which will take some working out.

Liverpool Target Asian Sensation After Agent Confirms Interest

Liverpool have reportedly joined the race to sign Japanese international playmaker Keisuke Honda.

The versatile CSKA Moscow player, who is comfortable in wing or striking positions, is thought to be considering a Russian Premier League exit with Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson one of the managers thought to be keen.

After starting his career as a teenager at Grampus Eight, Honda moved to Dutch side VVV-Venlo in January 2008. After two years with the Eredivisie club, CSKA made their move for the player, securing his services for an undisclosed fee.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger was heavily linked with the player in the summer after a series of complimentary comments during the World Cup, but Liverpool have now joined the chase for the player.

Player agent Kees Ploegsma told "When a big club comes in he will want to leave but at the moment that has not happened.

"A lot of managers will be watching him after he played so well at the World Cup - now they can watch him more for CSKA and hopefully they will decide to try and do something in January."

CSKA are reportedly considering cashing in on the player, and Liverpool are set to challenge AC Milan and the Gunners for the player's signature.

The Reds are keen to strengthen their side during the transfer window, with new owners NESV promising the Liverpool boss a transfer war chest in the region of £35 million.

Hodgson is thought to have highlighted 'five or six' players as potential signings in the opening month of 2011, and Honda is thought to be on the Liverpool shortlist.

Liverpool On Alert After Joan Capdevila's Contract Talks With Villarreal Break Down

Liverpool are believed to be on alert after Joan Capdevila's contract talks with Villarreal broke down, according to reports from the English media.

The Mirror remarks that the Spain international is looking for a two-year contract extension, but the Primera Division outfit are hesitant to hand the 32-year-old a deal that lasts over 12 months.

Capdevila's contract expires next summer, and with the Yellow Submarines seemingly unwilling to meet his demands, it is thought that the World Cup winner could be in line to make a Bosman transfer to the Premier League.

Ther former Atletico Madrid and Deportivo full-back, who has missed just five matches in four years from the Madrigal club, is allegedly close friends with the Reds' goalkeeper and international colleague Pepe Reina, and it has been suggested that the defender could be tempted by an offer to head to Anfield for free.

Capdevila was also linked with a move to Serie A giants Juventus during the summer window, but opeted to remain in La Liga.

Liverpool Join Milan In Race For International Defender

Liverpool have reportedly joined the race to sign French defender Mamadou Sakho.

The Paris St Germain defender has a growing reputation after a string of fine Ligue 1 performances led to an international cap against England, and Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson is thought to be one of the managers monitoring the player.

AC Milan, Arsenal and Juventus are also thought to be keen on the player, and the Reds are the latest club to consider a January move for the player according to Italian reports.

Tutto Mercato claim that Liverpool are looking for a solid centre back following an unconvincing start to the season, and with new owners NESV set to provide the manager with a transfer war chest in January it appears that Sakho is a viable option at Anfield.

A striker is thought to be the priority on Merseyside, with Liverpool keen to find a foil for Fernando Torres at the first opportunity.

However, the former Fulham boss is thought to have shortlisted 'five or six' players for potential moves, and Liverpool are set to be busy in the opening month of 2011.

With experience at both international and the top level of European club football, Sakho would provide Liverpool with quality and his signature would resemble a coup for the club.

Liverpool FC To Launch International Academies

Liverpool FC has announced plans to launch International Football Academies across the world.

The groundbreaking move will give football-mad youngsters the chance to learn more about the game under the watchful eye of qualified coaches.

Plans are already in place for the first three academies to open in Northern Ireland, Norway and Greece in early 2011, with the aim being to give budding young stars the best environment in which to hone and develop their skills in fun but carefully structured coaching sessions.

Liverpool Commercial Director Ian Ayre said: “What’s most important is that anywhere you go in the world, whether you’re in Hong Kong, the US or elsewhere, if you’re a kid and you’re attending one of our soccer schools, you should get exactly the same experience wherever you go. It should be consistent, it should be something that’s fitting with spending a day - or several days - with Liverpool Football Club.

"So whether you’re attending our actual Academy here in Liverpool or whether you’re attending one of our soccer Academies on the road, then you should get the same experience. That’s ultimately what we’re trying to aim for and it’s all about professionalism, quality and consistency.”

Soccer Schools Ambassador Ian Rush said: “I am very excited about the International Football Academies and can’t wait for them to get started. We want to do something different to other soccer schools because I believe Liverpool Football Club is something different and something special.

“When you put on the kit, you’re putting on Liverpool Football Club’s kit and although it’s not the same as playing, it’s one of the next best things. When you put your kit on, you feel tall and proud that you’re representing the club. The kids will be getting the sort of coaching they’d get at the Academy. We are one big family club and that’s the way we have to look at it. We’ve always been known as a family club and we share everything we have - and now we’re going to be sharing football skills all over the world.”

Liverpool Confirm Defender Daniel Agger Could Return To Action In Three Weeks

Liverpool defender Daniel Agger could be back in action in less than a month, according to the club’s Head of Sports Science Dr. Peter Brukner.

Agger has been sidelined since suffering a calf injury whilst on international duty with Denmark a month ago, and hasn’t played for Roy Hodgson’s side since the 2-2 draw with Sunderland in September.

However, Brukner believes that the defender is making good progress in his recovery and expects the 25-year-old to be back in action for the vital Christmas fixtures.

"Daniel's injury is an unusual one," said Brukner to the club's official website.

"In the international game a month ago, he got a kick on the calf, and sometimes when that happens you get some calcification in the blood clot that forms there, and unfortunately that has happened in Daniel's case.

"It's just taken a lot longer than you would expect for something like that. The calcification, once it appears, takes about a month to dissolve and fully recover.

"Daniel has probably got another three weeks before he is back playing. It's a very disappointing and frustrating situation but there's not a lot we can do about it.

"Only time heals this sort of injury, so we just have to be patient with Daniel. But he'll definitely be back before Christmas."

Pacheco Faces Anfield Exit After Missed Opportunity

Liverpool are ready to reduce their wage bill in January with Daniel Pacheco, the 19-year-old Spaniard considered one of the Barcelona academy's rising stars when he signed three years ago, among those manager Roy Hodgson may be prepared to lose.

The failure to maintain academy players' development between 16 and 19 has been a recurrent theme at Liverpool in recent years and Pacheco has remained inconsistent.

There is considerable interest in him from Spain – including Malaga and Espanyol – and Hodgson has made it clear that the striker missed a major opportunity to impress in Liverpool's Carling Cup defeat to Northampton Town in September.

Hodgson said: "He featured in that unfortunate Northampton game and it's a fact of life that it was a great opportunity for those outside the first 13 or 14 to really show me, 'You should be thinking of me'."