Saturday, November 27, 2010

Roy Admits Transfer U-Turn

Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson insists he is now keen to keep the current squad intact ahead of the January transfer window.

The Reds chief has previously signalled his intent to bring new blood into the club after a disastrous start to the current campaign that left them marooned in the bottom three.

But Liverpool have returned to form of late and Hodgson is pleased with the current contingent in the Anfield camp.

The 63-year-old admits he has changed his opinion on players he inherited from predecessor Rafa Benitez ahead of the trip to Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.

"Basically I know what my best team is - the best team is more than 11 players," said the Reds boss, who accepts his view may have been tainted by poor results.

"I could have a best team and say one week it is with X and another week it is Y but it still would be my best team because the players are interchangeable.

"I have a very clear picture now of what we should and need to be doing and the squad is stronger and getting stronger.

"It was probably stronger than I realized at certain stages in the early part of the season when we were losing games.

"Hopefully that will mean we won't need to do too much in the January transfer window because it might be nice if we can keep all of these players fit and well and add the odd player or two who can help us.

"I have a lot of faith in the players who are playing at the moment because in the last two or three weeks we have put in some good performances."

Hodgson and his scouting team have been spotted at various matches on the continent in the last few weeks.

But his belief that things are improving, allied to an uncertainty of what transfer funds will be available, is likely to mean a limited amount of activity in January.

"I don't know what is going to happen in the transfer window," said Hodgson.

"We are doing a lot of work, covering a lot of matches and looking at a lot of players.

"We are trying to arm ourselves as much as possible with information.

"It is the work in progress which every club has to do - constantly monitoring players and what is out there, what might be useful for you because you never know what is around the corner.

"When push comes to shove in January none of us know as yet what transfer funds can be made available and we have no idea if there will be any guarantee the people we are watching will be available.

"I would like to continue with this squad of players until the end of the season because I have no ambitions or desires to move anyone.

"But on the other hand I can't give a stone certain guarantee that there won't be players moving in January, and if so we would need to know where to go for their replacements."

Liverpool Line-Up Shock Move For £10 Million New Torres Partner

In-form Bolton ace Johan Elmander has been linked with a number of Premier League clubs as his future at the Reebok hangs in the balance.

According to the Mirror, Liverpool, Newcastle and Stoke all have the talented Swede in their sights after it was revealed he could leave Bolton for nothing in the summer when his contract expires.

Elmander is Bolton's record-signing after joining the club from Toulouse for around £10 million in 2008, and the 29-year-old has been in magnificent goalscoring form of late.

His performances have led to Bolton launching a surprise assault on the Champions League places and have also reportedly caught the eye of Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson.

Hodgson has made no secret of his desire to add more potency to his Anfield attack after admitting that Liverpool rely too heavily on Kop heroes Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard.

And, with Torres' chequered injury history, Hodgson is keen to strengthen his striking ranks and is thought to be interested in bringing Elmander to Liverpool.

However, Bolton boss Owen Coyle has attempted to ease fears that the Sweden international would be moving to Anfield, but admitted that Elmander would be crazy not to consider joining a club the size of Liverpool.

Coyle said: “If players are playing well it is only natural bigger clubs will cast an eye on them. That is the nature of football and I am relaxed about it.

"Until those bids come in, it is all hypothetical. When they do we will give them respect and make a decision. I do not get caught up in it too much and beat myself up. Johan knows that.

"If it was a club of a similar size to Bolton I believe he would stay here. If an elite club came in Johan would be crazy not to think about it.

"I have no problems with that. Johan is well within his rights to do what is right for himself and his family. What I will do game by game is try to get the best out of him."

Coyle added: "Phil [Gartside] has had talks with Johan's representative and that will be on-going.

"Johan has been terrific from day one and if they decide they want it to run its course into January, then so be it."

Liverpool have also been linked with moves for out-of-favour Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema and Czech ace Tomas Necid as the Anfield club look to step up their pursuit of another goalscorer.

Liverpool Plot €14 Million Raid On Juventus Target

Liverpool are once again being linked with a move for French international Mamadou Sakho.

The PSG defender has been linked with a string of clubs in recent weeks, with Arsenal, AC Milan and Juventus all thought to be interested in the player. However, Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson is thought to be amongst the contenders for the player and is ready to make a move in January.

Sakho has spent his entire career in the French capital, making his debut as a teenager in 2007. He has gone on to become a stalwart at the Parc des Princes, and made his international debut for Les Bleus earlier in the month.

Hodgson was in the Wembley crowd to watch Sakho play in France's 2-1 win over England, and the Liverpool manager was thought to be impressed with the player's composure and tackling ability on the biggest stage.

New Reds owners NESV have pledged a transfer war chest thought to be in the region of £35 million, and the former Fulham boss is thought to be keen on adding at least 'five or six' players at Anfield in the opening month of 2011.

A foil for Fernando Torres is thought to be the priority at Liverpool, but the Merseyside outfit is keen to strengthen in a number of core positions, including the centre of defence.

Lille centre back Adil Rami has also been linked with a move to the Premier League, and both players are thought to be on the Liverpool wishlist heading into the transfer window.

Roma Ponder Swapping Philippe Mexes For Liverpool's Dirk Kuyt

Roma want Dirk Kuyt, but a transfer fund is in short supply, and thus they will offer Liverpool Philippe Mexes as part of a swap deal in January.

Kuyt is seen as a versatile player at Trigoria. His adaptability to play on the wings or interchange as a striker appeals.

He is reportedly valued at €12 million - cash Roma don't have. But Il Corriere dello Sport reports Mexes could be used to tempt Liverpool.

The French defender is liked at Anfield, but Roma are waiting for the club to changed ownership before reaching out.

Kuyt has also been linked with Inter. In the summer Rafael Benitez wanted him to join his club, but the move never took off.

Roy Rejects Pacheco Exit Talk

Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson has rejected rumours linking Daniel Pacheco with a move away from the club.

Reports have suggested that Pacheco was seeking to quit the club in January after growing increasingly frustrated with his lack of first-team opportunities.

Highly-rated forward Pacheco has not played for the first team since the shock Carling Cup exit to Northampton at the end of September fuelling rumours over his long-term future at Anfield.

However, Hodgson has dismissed rumours the Spaniard could be offloaded and insists the 19-year-old remains part of his plans.

"He's been doing quite well. He had a little down period which I suppose coincided with the unfortunate Northampton game, when every one of the young players was thrown in together," Hodgson told the club's official website.

"He stuck at his task and in training he's been doing very well. In the last couple of reserve games he's played very well too. It's nice to know he's still very much a part of the Liverpool future.

"He's unlucky in the position he plays, just behind the striker or in a wide role. That's probably where we have most competition at the club right now. For a young player it's not easy to knock the likes of Joe Cole, Dirk Kuyt and Maxi Rodriguez off their perch.

"Having said that, we still believe in him. We think he's a good player and he's got a very bright future.

"Of course there'll be lots of other clubs out there who want to take him but if he really wants to be at the top level he might be well advised to keep learning his trade with these sorts of people around him, rather than to become a bigger fish at a smaller club.

"I'm sure he'll be in the squad for the Europa League next week. I can't guarantee he will start but that's certainly not beyond the bounds of possibility because he has done well enough recently to force his way back to our attention."

Roy Hodgson Rules Out Alberto Aquilani Return In January

Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson has dismissed reports suggesting that he will recall midfielder Alberto Aquilani from Juventus in January.

The 26-year-old midfielder is currently on loan at the Italian giants until the end of the season and has been in sensational form in Turin. Aquilani's rejuvenation has sparked rumours that Liverpool would cut short his loan deal and bring him back to Anfield, but Hodgson insists that they have no such plans.

"No, I don't think there is any chance of doing that," the Liverpool manager is quoted as saying by Sky Sports. "The loan spell is quite clear.

"He's loaned out until the end of the season, so we won't be able to bring him back until the end of the season."

Aquilani was signed by Liverpool from Roma at the start of the 2009-10 campaign but after failing to impress under Rafael Benitez was shipped out on loan to Juventus in the summer.

The Bianconeri also have the option of signing Aquilani to a permanent deal when his loan deal expires.

Liverpool FC Will Always Be Indebted To Martin Broughton

When Martin Broughton arrived at Anfield back in April many supporters were sceptical.

After all a lifelong Chelsea fan had been handed the daunting task of trying to put a club in chaos back on track.

Seven months on and Broughton will leave on Tuesday with the thanks of Liverpool supporters ringing in his ears.

Broughton – together with Christian Purslow and Ian Ayre – guided the Reds through the most turbulent spell in the club’s history.

It was their tireless efforts which helped ensure Tom Hicks and George Gillett were booted out of Anfield for good.

The statement released by Hicks and Gillett when Broughton was appointed in April proved to be about the only thing they got right during their ill fated reign.

“Martin is a distinguished business leader of excellent judgement and with a great reputation,” they said.

“He is a genuine football supporter and will seek to oversee the sales process in the best interests of the club and its supporters.”

Broughton did and, gloriously, it left Hicks and Gillett with nothing.

The British Airways chairman, who is being succeeded by NESV’s Tom Werner, described his reign as “one of the most memorable experiences of my working life” and admitted “I've grown to love the club”.

Liverpool will always be indebted to him.

Coady Nominated For BBC Award

Academy youngster Conor Coady has been nominated for BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year after captaining England U17s to European Championship glory this summer.

The 17-year-old - who can play at centre-back or in midfield - wore the armband as the Three Lions claimed their first men's trophy for 18 years.

As a result he will now battle it out against the likes of Olympic diver Tom Daley and tennis player Laura Robson for the prestigious prize, with the winner announced on December 19.

The 10 nominees are: Conor Coady, Tom Daley, Laura Robson, Jade Jones (taekwondo), Dan Lucker (athletics), Sam Oldham (gymnastics), Liam Pitchford (table tennis), Emma Saunders (swimming), Zoe Smith (weightlifting) and Jodie Williams (athletics).

The top three nominees will be invited to the live event in December. Previous winners include Theo Walcott, Andy Murray and Wayne Rooney.