Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Dirk Kuyt Hoping For 'Four Good Results In A Row' During Christmas Period

Dirk Kuyt is hoping that Liverpool can muster up four consecutive victories during the Christmas period.

The Reds' recent home game against Fulham was cancelled due to bad weather, but the Dutchman is now targeting the game against Blackpool on Boxing Day to start a winning streak.

Wolves, Bolton Wanderers and Blackburn Rovers are set to follow within a span of 10 days, and the 30-year-old is looking ahead to taking maximum points from these fixtures.

"This period is one of the most important of the season," Kuyt said, according to the Liverpool Echo.

"If we can produce a good run I'm sure we will be up near the top four.

"I’m sure a lot of the top teams will drop some points this month. If we could get four good results in a row, then who knows? Certainly the gap will be closer."

Kuyt added: "December is always a special month in the Premier League and one I always look forward to.

"It's hard work with four games in 10 days but that's what you want. I love to play games and always want to play as many as I can.

"Hopefully at the beginning of the New Year we can look back and say it was a great time for us and we climbed the table."

Seasiders Clash In Doubt

Blackpool's home tie with Liverpool scheduled for Boxing Day is already in danger of being postponed because of the adverse weather conditions.

The Premier League calendar was decimated at the weekend following the big freeze which has swept across the country, with Liverpool's clash with Fulham and Blackpool's game against Tottenham falling victim.

The pair are due to face each other on Sunday but with the weather showing no signs of abating, Tangerines acting chief executive Karl Oyston is in talks with the league regarding the game at Bloomfield Road.

"We can almost certainly guarantee the pitch will be playable but it is the prevailing conditions once the covers have been removed and whether the pitch will freeze before the end of the game taking place," Oyston told Sky Sports News.

"That is one we are talking to the Premier League about to see what their standpoint and inspection protocol will be."

Blackpool has already had games against Spurs and Manchester United called off because they do not have undersoil heating.

Meanwhile, the Premier League is confident the postponements at the weekend will not lead to a serious pile-up of games at the end of the season.

A spokesman said: "Our football department will already have contingency dates in mind and will work closely with the affected clubs to get new dates agreed as quickly as possible."

Blackpool versus United has been rearranged to the last week in January and other matches can take place if and when clubs are knocked out of the FA Cup.

There is also the possibility for some ties to be played in weeks usually reserved for European games.

Liverpool FC Set To Capture Highly-Rated Sweden Striker

Liverpool are set to secure the services of rising Swedish starlet Kristoffer Peterson.

Promising Millwall goalkeeper Yousef Mercin became the latest prodigy to join the Reds' ranks last night following the capture of Raheem Sterling and fellow England starlet Jonjo Shelvey, who has featured for the club in this season's Europa League, earlier this year

And he is set to be joined by Savedalens IF striker Kristoffer, 16, after he spent a successful three-week trial at Liverpool's centre of excellence in Kirkby in April.

"I am no longer just toying with the dream," he told a Swedish newspaper at the time.

"It feels like the club really wants to give me a chance."

Liverpool Line Up Move For Inter Milan Youngster

Liverpool are hoping to sign Inter Milan youngster Davide Santon as Roy Hodgson looks to bring in more youthful talent to help build for the future.

The talented teenage Italian international has been told he can leave the San Siro and a host of clubs are looking to secure his signature and given the much publicized reports of a falling out between Hodgson and England international Glen Johnson the reports of interest in another right back are no surprise.

Santon has spent the past two seasons trying valiantly to fight for his place with the Serie A giants but is now looking for a new challenge and has been strongly linked with a move to the Premier League with the likes of Tottenham and Chelsea reportedly interested in the attack minded wide man who can also operate in an advanced right wing role.

Ironically Liverpool’s hopes of signing the £8m rated Inter Milan starlet may be helped if Rafa Benitez, as widely reported, is sacked as the former Anfield boss may not be so keen to sell to a club who gave him the axe.

Liverpool Set To Join Pursuit Of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

If the Reds hope to land Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, they better prepare for a fight.

Liverpool is reportedly in pursuit of the 17-year-old midfielder, but they're far from the only team interested in him, according to Goal.com UK.

"A lot of the big clubs are watching Alex, but it will take serious money to get him," a source told the website.
That "serious money" is expected to be as much as $15 million (10 million pounds).

Oxlade-Chamberlain currently plays for Southampton, where he's started 13 matches and scored five goals.

Liverpool Set To Tie Down Another Youngster To Long-Term Deal

Jay Spearing is set to be signed by Liverpool on a long-term contract as new Liverpool recruitment supremo Damien Comolli steps up his youth policy.

Comolli, 38, arrived at Anfield last month as director of football strategy following the club’s takeover by New England Sports Ventures.

He has been busy scouting for new players as well as tying down the future of the club’s brightest prospects.

Already since Comolli arrived, youngsters Daniel Pacheco and Martin Kelly have committed themselves to Liverpool until 2014.

Spanish forward Pacheco, 19, has signed a two-year contract extension and full-back Kelly, 20, has signed a three-year extension.

And now Mirrorsport understands Liverpool officials are close to getting midfielder Spearing, 22, to pen a new contract too.

Spearing, who has made 14 appearances for the club, still has 18 months to run on his deal at Anfield.

But Comolli wants the club’s brightest prospects nailed down to Liverpool.

And negotiations with Spearing have started about giving the starlet a new three-and-a-half-year deal.

Paul Konchesky Determined To Prove Doubters Wrong

Liverpool defender Paul Konchesky is ready to prove the critics wrong after a disappointing start to his career at Anfield.

The left-back by his own accord has not produced his best form since leaving Fulham in August, but this will not have been helped after his mother Carol became embroiled in an argument on Facebook with Liverpool supporters.

This has further intensified the scrutiny on him and his manager Roy Hodgson as their side are languishing in mid-table and struggling to reach the European spots.

But Konchesky seems convinced that they can turn around the fortunes of the club.

"I know right now the fans obviously want a different style of football, but I think his style will work here," the defender told the Liverpool Daily Post.

"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."

Liverpool sit in ninth position having only took 22 points from 17 games and are only a couple of games from being caught up in a relegation battle.

With a fixture pile up over the festive period - four games in 11 days - starting with a trip to Blackpool on Boxing Day, the same side that beat them 2-1 at Anfield earlier on the campaign, Konchesky realizes the importance of the up and coming fixtures.
"Every single person in Liverpool wants their team to be back in the top four," he added.

"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."

Segura Keen To Find More Starlets

Liverpool's academy technical manager Josep Segura is determined to find more young talent for the first team.

Promotion through the ranks has become increasingly difficult at most Premier League clubs because of the need for instant results.

At Anfield former reserve-team defender Martin Kelly has established himself in Roy Hodgson's senior squad this season, starting five Europa League matches and making three Premier League appearances.

But the path from the club's academy in Kirkby to the first team is not a well-trodden one, although former reserves captain Jay Spearing - currently recovering from an ankle injury - Dani Pacheco and Nathan Eccleston have made infrequent appearances in the current campaign.

Segura knows their main task at the academy is to provide better quality players who can cut it at the highest level.

"The most important thing for Liverpool is that these players aged 16, 17 and 18 years old go on to become professionals with this club," said the Spaniard, formerly an academy and B team coach at Barcelona.

"This is our target. It is clear that we must strive to produce great players to play for Liverpool for years to come and hopefully they can help us to win many trophies at first-team level.

"It is not an easy challenge for us but it is one that we must work hard to make a reality with every passing day."

Segura added on liverpoolfc.tv: "When I was at Barcelona we won the equivalent of the youth cup at under-18 level.

"Everyone was delighted and it is a great memory, but only five players went on to become professionals with the first team.

"I feel we have made good progress since I arrived here in the summer of 2009, the academy is growing and the level of our players is growing too.

"I said when I made the move here that the opportunity to work for such a great club was one I could not turn down.

"The aim is now to ensure that this great club is blessed with some of the best homegrown players of the future."

Hodgson has benefited from the progress some of the younger players have made, utilizing them extensively as the club reached the last 32 of the Europa League.

He too knows there is a vast difference from making it into the first team squad and developing into an established member.

But their presence this season has allowed him to rest the likes of Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres for almost every Europa League match so far.

"It is a different kettle of fish having the courage and ability to go out and play at Anfield in front of 40,000 very expectant and optimistic fans," the Reds boss said.

"The happiest thing for me is we have done it (qualify for the knockout stage) and achieved results without bashing our more recognised players.

"Torres played in Utrecht - the only game he has played - and Gerrard played against Rabotnicki and a half against Napoli, but Raul Meireles, Maxi Rodriguez, Paul Konchesky and Glen Johnson have hardly played."