Sunday, December 19, 2010

Konchesky - Get Behind Roy

Liverpool defender Paul Konchesky has urged fans to get behind manager Roy Hodgson after a tricky start to his reign.

The Reds have struggled this season under the former Fulham boss and certain sections of fans have called for Hodgson's head even at this early stage of his tenure.

Left-back Konchesky, who followed Hodgson to Anfield from Craven Cottage, insists the experienced coach can succeed on Merseyside and believes he has the right formula on the pitch.

"I know right now the fans obviously want a different style of football, but I think his style will work here," said Konchesky in the Daily Express.

"The supporters need to get behind him a bit more.

"He wants to be at the top. He isn't happy about us being eighth and ninth. I knew coming to Liverpool that the expectations would be different to Fulham, but I didn't fully understand by how much until I got here.

"Every single person in Liverpool wants their team to be back in the top four. The pressure is high, but it's also good because you have to show people what you are about.

"The league is funny this season. It's not just Liverpool not winning matches. It gives us a chance of getting back up there, especially if we do well over Christmas when we'll have players coming back from injury."

Konchesky has also come in for criticism since his switch to Liverpool with certain quarters saying he is not good enough for the club.

"I've seen and heard that said, but people would have to tell me what a Liverpool player is to them," he added.

"At first my form struggled and I was injured, but lately I've got myself fit and have done all right. I want to do better but, in a way, I think it's easy for people to say things about me.

"I haven't been here before and I am one of the manager's signings.

"People have an opinion of me now. After a few months, if we finish fourth or fifth, would their opinion of me be different? I will get on with it, get over it and prove them all wrong."

Hodgson's Challenge To Duo

Roy Hodgson has spoken of his delight after two of his most promising talents Martin Kelly and Daniel Pacheco recently signed new contracts that will keep them at Anfield until 2014.

The boss said it was a reward for their work in training and he has now challenged the pair to show they can break into the first-team on a regular basis.

"I'm very pleased with the news," Hodgson told

"I'm also pleased for both the players they've done well with the chances they've been given and they are both working very hard in training.

"When you have got young quality players like them who you have invested time and money in then it's important to keep them at the club - otherwise someone else gets the benefit of the investment you've put in - not only money but terms of your coaching of the players.

"I'm pleased they are staying and it's up to them to really push hard whenever they get a chance and make sure they get into the first team as quickly as possible."

Manchester City Back In For Liverpool Star Fernando Torres

Manchester City could be prepared to table a bid of £50 million to bring Liverpool’s star striker Fernando Torres to Eastlands in the January transfer window.

City are desperate to fill the boots of Carlos Tevez after it emerged recently that he wants out of the Manchester club, according to The News of the World.

Torres could be the player whom City manager Roberto Mancini brings in should his Argentine striker leave for pastures new.

An exit clause in the Spanish striker’s contract could force Liverpool to sell if a bid of £50m is tabled.

It is understood that Torres would still prefer a move to Chelsea ahead of City, and that the forward would prefer to wait for the summer, when he would have more time to consider his options.

Though Mancini will be able to out-bid any transfer rivals, with a reported £250,000-a-week package being considered, it is trophies, not financial rewards, that Torres is craving.

The prospect of playing Champions League football is looking ever more doubtful for Liverpool, who have struggled so far this season, and a move away from the Merseyside club could be necessary if the striker wants to play in Europe’s top competition.

City have been pursuing Torres for two years now, seeing a £60m bid for the star rejected 18 months ago.

City’s position in the world of football has strengthened since then and as a result he could be tempted to sign for the club.

Elsewhere in the Premier League, Roman Abramovich would have to table a bid reminiscent of his early days at Chelsea should he want to bring the player to Stamford Bridge.

Liverpool’s official line is that Torres is not for sale, though given the striker’s recent form and the club’s current position in the table, a big enough bid could see a parting of the ways that is profitable for all concerned.

Both City and Chelsea could, though, face competition from Barcelona, as it is also reported that the Catalan giants, financially re-invigorated following a lucrative shirt sponsorship deal, are contemplating an £85m summer swoop for both Torres and their long-time target, Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas.

Comolli Rules Out French Raid

Liverpool director of football strategy Damien Comolli has ruled out a raid on former employers St Etienne.

Having linked up with the Reds, one of Comolli's duties at Anfield is to unearth potential new recruits.

He has plenty of prior experience in that field, having previously taken in spells at the likes of Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur.

His last post before arriving on Merseyside was at Ligue 1 outfit St Etienne, who have a reputation for youth development.

Having helped maintain that fine work, it was expected that Comolli would be tempted to return to his homeland and cherry pick the best talent.

He has, however, assured St Etienne that he has no plans to return to the club with a Liverpool chequebook, while he has also lifted the lid on the reasons behind his decision to take on a new challenge in England.

"I feel like a new person at Liverpool," Comolli told L'Equipe.

"It makes a nice change to have some clarity from the shareholders. On a daily basis my work has become a lot easier.

"I would like to point out, though, that I told coach Christophe Galtier that I will not destabilize his changing room. I have made no contact with any St Etienne player.

"Why did I resign? Because I didn't feel on the same wavelength as the club anymore.

"I reached a point where there was no project left. Until the end of the summer market everyone let me work on my own and they were pleased with my efforts.

"Then, the relationship deteriorated. We promised to stay together until the end of the season, but I couldn't stand it anymore."

Liverpool Target Former City Striker As Next Anfield Hero

Liverpool are being linked with a January loan move for England U21 international Daniel Sturridge.

The Chelsea forward is thought to be considering his options after failing to earn a regular starting place in the Blues line-up, and the club is reportedly aware of Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson's interest.

Reds chief Hodgson is thought to be in the market for an attacking foil for Fernando Torres, and Sturridge is the latest in a long line of players linked with a January move to Anfield.

Mario Gomez, Emmanuel Adebayor and Ola Toivonen are other names thought to be in the frame for a Liverpool switch, and Hodgson reportedly has a list of 'five or six' players to move for at the first opportunity.

The Sunday People claim that Sturridge is one of the players being targeted by the Merseysiders, with a January loan switch planned before a permanent £5 million move to Liverpool takes place in the summer.

A product of the Manchester City academy, Sturridge left the Citizens in 2009 after a contract dispute with the Eastlands club.

Despite moving on a free, Chelsea were forced to pay Manchester City a £3.5 million fee following a tribunal hearing, with additional add-ons if Sturridgle plays a certain amount of games for the Stamford Bridge outfit.

Manchester City will also be entitled to 15% of any potential future sale, which could come in to the equation here if Liverpool made a permanent move in June, July or August.

The English national paper also claims that Hodgson is set to open talks with the current champions in the coming weeks, and that the Liverpool boss knows the player well and will hope to use the relationship in any potential negotiations.

An original loan move is thought to appeal to all parties involved, and has potential as the Blues no longer consider Liverpool title rivals this season.

Qatar Cash Injection To Fuel Barcelona Bids For Fernando Torres

Barcelona's shirt sponsorship deal with the Qatar Foundation will reportedly allow the Catalans to launch fresh bids next summer for Liverpool striker Fernando Torres.
Barcelona's coffers have been running dry, but the Spanish giants have just agreed to a shirt sponsorship deal for the first time in the club's history, coming to a £125million agreement with the Qatar Foundation.

The Sunday Mirror reports that the fresh injection of cash means that Barcelona will look to sign Liverpool's Fernando Torres over the summer.

Torres has experienced a difficult few months. He endured a personally disappointing World Cup and has had an indifferent season so far, showing his quality in flashes such as his double strike for Liverpool against Chelsea.

'El Nino' is thought to have questioned the ambition of the Anfield club in the past and the prospect of honours at the Nou Camp could prove tempting.

Eden Hazard Open To Liverpool FC Move

Eden Hazard has revealed that he would be open to a move to Liverpool after snubbing a summer switch to Chelsea.

Arsenal is currently in the hunt for the highly-rated Belgian winger, 19, as are Real Madrid following recommendations from club legend Zinedine Zidane.

But a move to the Bernabeu looks to be off the cards after Hazard admitted that he would not leave Lille for a club where his development would be hindered by a lack of opportunities.

Roy Hodgson saw Hazard in action on a recent scouting trip to France and he admits that he would not oppose a move to Anfield despite the Emirates being his preferred choice due to the increased opportunities for players to make their mark at senior level.

"I could have gone [to Chelsea] last June, but I was not ready to make that big leap," said Hazard.

"Recently, the press has been writing about interest from Liverpool, and it is nice to hear your name being mentioned everywhere, especially with the best teams in the world.

"If I do leave at the end of the season, I don't want to go somewhere I will be on the bench, and it will be difficult to break through in a team like Real, where Ronaldo and Kaka will be my competitors.

"But there are teams like Arsenal, where youngsters can grow more easily into the first team and make their mark.

"I will not leave for another French club because, with 100 matches under my belt for Lille, I don't think I have to prove my qualities for a team in the same league."

Liverpool lost out to Arsenal in their pursuit of former Bordeaux striker Marouane Chamakh, who signed for Arsene Wenger on a free transfer at the end of last season.

Defender Injury Update

Andre Wisdom’s dream of featuring for Liverpool’s first-team this season is still on course after it was revealed he will return from injury early in the New Year.

The 17-year-old defender produced a string of imperious displays at the heart of the reserves' defence earlier this term but saw his hopes of earning a call-up to Roy Hodgson's squad curtailed by a serious knee injury sustained while on international duty.

However, his rehabilitation is going well and he is now on the comeback trail.

Reserve team boss John McMahon told us: "Andre is progressing nicely. He starts jogging in January so his target will be the end of February really."