Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Roy Hodgson Calls For Patience In Rebuilding Squad

Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson has called on supporters to have patience with him during a time in which he is trying to rebuild the Merseysiders’ squad, although he has condeded it may be more of a long-term project.

Hodgson has been linked with January moves for Bolton pair Gary Cahill and Johan Elmander, as well as Aston Villa midfielder Ashley Young, but the former Fulham boss admits it may take more than one transfer window to resurrect the club.

“I would plead for patience really," he told reporters. "Of course we want Liverpool to be the Liverpool of old. We want to be up there every year competing in the Champions League.

“But we might have to accept that it will take us longer than a few months. That would be a small price to pay if you get it right. You only have to look at teams who have tried to stay in the league or get into the top four.

“Clubs have virtually been destroyed by people making bad decisions. It’s not because they owners haven’t given money or supported the manager. It’s just that they have brought in the wrong people.”

Liverpool Ready To Swoop For £10 Million Next Anfield Hero

Birmingham is reportedly bracing themselves for a £10 million bid from Liverpool from Scott Dann.

According to the Daily Mirror, the Merseysiders have been closely monitoring the 23-year-old who intends to consider his options should an offer be tabled by a serious bidder.

The chance to join the Reds could prove too good to refuse for the defender who is a Liverpool native and supposedly once had an Anfield season ticket.

There has been growing speculation in recent months that Dann could be on his way to Liverpool after a string of imperious displays at the heart of the defence - and the former Walsall man has admitted to being humbled by the interest in his signature.

"Obviously the speculation linking me with some top clubs in the Premier League is flattering," Dann told

"Ultimately it is my ambition to play at the highest level with a major club like it is for any player, but for the time being I am happy playing at Birmingham and I am focused on doing my best for the club."

Whether a move for Dann comes to fruition remains to be seen, but Liverpool are thought to be in the market for defensive reinforcements next month.

Liverpool have had their fair share of defensive woes of late after were hit with the news that Anfield stalwart Jamie Carragher would be out of action for three months after dislocating his shoulder against Spurs last month.

Injury to Daniel Agger has also been a headache for Roy Hodgson as the Liverpool boss has struggled to nail down a regular pair of starting centre-backs during his first season at Anfield.

Hodgson is expected to be backed with upwards of £20 million by new Liverpool owners NESV to solve his mini-crisis come January - with a new striker also high on the list of his priorities.

Liverpool Receive Boost In Ronaldinho Chase

AC Milan have moved a step closer to losing Brazilian Ronaldinho after president Silvio Berlusconi criticising him for not ‘training as well as he can’.

It emerged last week Liverpool and Manchester City were interested in bringing him to the Barclays Premier League but Brazilian Serie A side Gremio revealed they have spoken to his representatives.

Ronaldinho, who was linked with a move to Manchester United before he landed at Barcelona, has just half a year to run on his contract at the San Siro and therefore can speak to other teams after January.

Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson is looking into attacking signings to complement Fernando Torres at Anfield and the 30-year-old is one of the options.

Milan today announced they have agreed to sign another Liverpool target, Antonio Cassano, and it looks likely Ronaldinho will be allowed to leave.

However, one sticking point for Liverpool will be wages because new Anfield owners NESV are unwilling to commit to big numbers for over 30s.

Manchester City, though, will have no such qualms as his current earnings of around £120,000 per week are the norm at Eastlands.

Berlusconi, after revealing his club’s new signing, said: “It is a shame for Ronaldinho. At the moment, he has not been playing well or training as well as he can.”

Avram Grant To Move For Liverpool Flop Christian Poulsen

West Ham will make a January move for Liverpool flop Christian Poulsen if Avram Grant hangs on to his job at Upton Park, UK can reveal.

The Hammers have made the Danish midfielder a target as they look to toughen up a squad that sits rock bottom in the Premier League at the halfway point of the season. UK revealed in November that Liverpool are prepared to sell Poulsen in the January transfer window after he failure to make an impact at Anfield following his £4.5 million summer switch from Italian giants Juventus.

West Ham believes they will be able to sign Poulsen for a cut-price £3m as they desperately seek to avoid relegation. The 30-year-old has found himself out of favour under Reds manager Roy Hodgson after falling behind Raul Meireles and Lucas in the pecking order.

But the deal hinges on the future of Hammers boss Grant, who has to win one of the Londoners' next two games in order to save his job.

West Ham co-owners David Gold and David Sullivan have lined up Sam Allardyce following his dismissal from Blackburn last week and it is uncertain whether he would press ahead with the Israeli's plans to swoop for Poulsen.

Liverpool would like to line up a replacement before allowing Poulsen to leave Merseyside because of their small squad but UK understands West Ham would not even countenance a deal involving Scott Parker going the other way.

Parker is seen as absolutely crucial to West Ham's chances of avoiding relegation this season and Poulsen has been identified as a player who can support the former Newcastle and Chelsea man, rather than replace him.

Grant is also lining up a move for Aston Villa midfielder Steve Sidwell as he desperately tries to add a more combative edge to the spine of his side.

Poulsen was widely criticised earlier in the season for his poor performances in Liverpool's dreadful start to the season as he failed to live up to his billing as a replacement for Javier Mascherano following the Argentine's £21m summer switch to Barcelona.

Liverpool Sign Young Millwall Goalkeeper Yusuf Mersin

Young Millwall goalkeeper Yusuf Mersin has agreed a move to Liverpool for an undisclosed fee.

Mersin, 16, who has represented Turkey at under-17 level, will officially sign for the Premier League side in January.

Lions boss Kenny Jackett told the club's official website: "We will do everything in our power to keep our best young players.

"However, in a case such as this, it is impossible to stop a boy leaving when a club such as Liverpool makes an offer."

Jackett added: "We have secured financial compensation which will enable us to nurture and bring through other promising players for Millwall."

Mersin will go straight into Liverpool's academy under former Barcelona coach Josep Segura.

The Spaniard said: "The most important thing for Liverpool is that players aged 16, 17 and 18 go on to become professionals with the club."

Mersin follows in the footsteps of David Amoo, who joined Liverpool from Millwall in 2007.

Hull City Hoping To Extend The Loan Of Daniel Ayala

Hull City is hoping to extend the loan deal of defender Daniel Ayala who is set to return to Liverpool in January.

Ayala joined the Tigers in September and has been an influential figure in the side, making 12 appearances and scoring once, and Hull manager Nigel Pearson has admitted that he is now looking to extend the loan of the 20 year-old.

Speaking to BBC Radio Humberside, Pearson confessed he is optimistic that Ayala will stay with Hull beyond January — although the decision ultimately lies with Liverpool.

"We're hopeful, but a lot will depend on circumstances at his own club," Pearson said.

"They may want him back but we'll try and do something to secure him."

Pearson believes that Ayala has already proven his ability since arriving on loan and has he would love the chance to keep hold of the Spaniard until the end of the season.

"Daniel has done well since he has been here and we would love to extend his loan," he added.

Hull are also said to be looking to extend the loans of Arsenal keeper Vito Mannone and Manchester United winger Cameron Stewart, who have both impressed since arriving at the KC Stadium.

Jay Spearing Pleased To Be Given Chances To Prove Worth By Roy Hodgson

Liverpool midfielder Jay Spearing is enjoying life under the management of Roy Hodgson, as he has made seven senior appearances for the club this season.

The 22-year-old struggled to break into the first-team under former boss Rafael Benitez, but the new boss has given him opportunities - largely in the Europa League - to prove his mettle and shine for the Reds.

Now the midfielder hopes to repay the faith that the former Fulham boss has shown in him.

"With the new boss coming in, Roy Hodgson, it was a clean slate for everyone - especially for me, now that I'm 22 - to try and break in on a regular basis," Spearing told

"It was a clean slate for everyone, and I needed to show him what I was capable of, that I wanted to stay at this club and I was willing to fight for a place and be involved throughout the year and break into the side, a side I have always wanted to play for since I was a young lad. My aim this year is to start a new year and get more games.

"Since he's [Hodgson] come in, he stated his claim straight away. He's come in and showed everyone what he wants and how he wants to play. He's brought in a few players he wanted to bring in during the summer transfer window, and I think if he can, he will bring in a few more during the January transfer window, but we'll have to wait and see.

"He's come off very determined, and he wants to take this club to higher places and win trophies. That's what this club is all about.

"From my point of view, he's given me a lot more games to play, and I'm very appreciative of that. Hopefully, I think I've proven to him I'm capable of stepping in whenever he needs me. I have to say thanks to him for giving me the chance as well."

Carragher On Fast-Track To Be England Boss

Jamie Carragher has been earmarked as an England manager of the future after being offered a fast track route into the coaching set-up.

Liverpool veteran Carragher is seen by the Football Association as someone with outstanding potential after taking his coaching badges.

The FA have seen big names such as Alan Shearer, Jamie Redknapp and Gareth Southgate swap football and management careers for the TV studio.

But Sir Trevor Brooking, the FA’s director of football development, is determined to keep more talented players within the game and sees Carragher as having the potential.

Carragher will initially be offered the chance to work with one of England’s youth teams, such as the Under-16s, and then be given the chance to work his way up through the ranks.

It is separate from the young English coach the FA want to work with Fabio Capello, although that appointment was first mooted after the World Cup and still no-one has been installed.

Carragher would not be on the bench with Capello, as David Beckham was during the World Cup, but it is clear Liverpool’s former England international is highly regarded at the FA.

Brooking said: ‘We want good young coaches with something to offer to stay in the game, to work with good young players and help them to develop.

‘It’s important that coaches with something to offer stay with us and it’s also important we can show that good young English coaches will get an opportunity at all levels.’

England Under-21 boss Stuart Pearce could also be set to take charge of the Olympic team in 2012.

The FA and British Olympic Association have yet to finalize the make up of the team - whether it will be British or separate home nations - but that will be decided early next year.

Pearce’s contract expires after next summer’s Under-21 Championship in Denmark, and Brooking revealed his future role will now be looked at.

Brooking said: ‘The Olympic job is a big job and I’d be surprised if someone like Stuart didn’t ask about it - at least pose the question.

‘He has worked with a lot of the players, helped them develop and I don’t think you can underestimate how big the Olympics will be.

‘We, as hosts, should be there and we’ll see how things develop in the first quarter of next year.’

Brooking was yesterday outlining his vision before a full review of the FA youth set-up is presented.

It comes just months after England’s failure at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and perhaps Brooking’s biggest challenge and goal will be to ensure the release of Premier League youngsters for future Under-17, Under-19, Under-20 and Under-21 tournaments.

The FA have already written to every club advising them of next summer’s dates for tournaments, with England already qualified for the Under-21 Championship in Denmark.

But that may cause more club versus rows similar to what happened 18 months ago when Arsenal star Theo Walcott - who is still eligible for next summer - was called up for the Under-21s having also played for the seniors regularly.

That upset Walcott's Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger, yet the same may happen again next summer as the Gunners' Jack Wilshere has been capped at full level but has made it clear he wants to play in the Under-21 tournament.

Brooking yesterday made it plain that world champions Spain enforce FIFA rules for the release of players and the FA doing the same is discussed in the forthcoming review.

Ex-England World Cup star Brooking also outlined why the FA are prepared to get tough to ensure players get enough experience, as Spain are the glowing example of playing their best youngsters at every level.

Brooking said: ‘We’ve found this with the seniors, that tournament football is really different.

‘Some players adapt well, others are not good travellers, and it’s vital they get experience and get a tournament mindset in every aspect.

‘The more players and coaches sample that the better. The more clubs release players the better.

‘We want to be able to call up our best players for tournaments within their age groups. That’s important for the players, the coaches and to encourage them to play the right way.

‘You can see that at every level with Spain. They develop players, keep them playing the right way all the way through to the seniors.

‘Spain enforces it and that’s something we could look at but we’ve often relied on the clubs and their understanding so it’s something now for the review.’

Reds Spread Festive Cheer

Liverpool players and staff took time out of their preparations for the hectic Festive fixture schedule to spread some Christmas cheer around the wards of Alder Hey children's hospital today.

The Reds donned their Santa hats to make their annual visit to the local hospital and spend time with children who are likely to remain on the wards throughout the Christmas period and beyond.

After being spilt into groups, the entire first-team squad and management staff set off around the various wards of the hospital to ensure as many kids as possible got the chance to meet their heroes.

And as well as chatting, posing for photographs and signing autographs for excited patients and their delighted family members, the squad also took the opportunity to play Father Christmas for the afternoon as they delivered a wide range of LFC presents to the children.

Speaking to, boss Roy Hodgson admitted he was thrilled for the club to be able to give something back ahead of the holiday period.

"I think it's a very good tradition that the club have kept up for many years now," he said.

"It's great we have the opportunity to come in and give Christmas presents to the children and spend time with them and their families.

"You see so many children who have just had operations or are not in a very good condition, so it's important if we can do anything at all just by being here then it's fantastic.

"It's great for us that we've done something worthwhile for the children by offering something so very little in giving up a bit of our time and spending time talking to them.

"If our visit can do any good then fantastic."

Skipper Steven Gerrard added: "It's a difficult time, so the least we can do is come and give up a couple of hours of our time, bring the children some presents and try to lift their spirits for Christmas.

"There are a lot of Liverpool fans in hospital, which is not nice to see, but if we can put a smile on their face and try to cheer them up a bit then we've done our job."

It was certainly a poignant afternoon for the Liverpool stars - and the mood of the squad was summed up by Lucas Leiva.

The Brazilian wrote on social networking site Twitter: "You leave the hospital and realize how good your life is. I could see a lot of children fighting to be alive."

Our photographer was with the players to snap the Liverpool stars bringing Christmas cheer to the hospital wards.