Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Reds Complete Coates Deal

Liverpool have completed the signing of Uruguay international defender Sebastian Coates "on a long-term contract" from Nacional.

The 20-year-old Copa America winner has passed a medical and secured a work permit to complete a move which unites him with Uruguay team-mate Luis Suarez.

The tall centre-back, who made his senior international debut at this summer's tournament, arrives from Nacional in his homeland where he broke into the first team two years ago.

"Liverpool has confirmed the signing of Uruguay international Sebastian Coates on a long-term contract," the Reds said in a statement.

"The 20-year-old completed his transfer from Nacional after passing a medical and securing a work permit earlier today.

"Coates will now link up with his international team-mates ahead of their friendly in Kiev on Friday night."

Uruguay talisman Suarez earlier Tweeted: "I want to welcome Coates, partner in the Uruguayan team, friend and great player who just signed for Liverpool!"

Liverpool Eyeing Transfer Of Argentina Ace

Reports are circulating that Liverpool are trying to sign Argentine front man Mauro Zarate to bolster their attacking options.

The Reds spent big in January in acquiring Andy Carroll from Newcastle and Luis Suarez from Ajax for a combined total of £58m but manager Kenny Dalglish is not ready to rest on his laurels.

Currently only Dirk Kuyt remains at Anfield as recognised back up in that department with David Ngog destined for pastures new but with the Dutchman having excelled in wide positions rather than up front during his time on Merseyside, another striker is required.

Zarate is familiar to English football fans for the half season that he spent on loan at Brimingham City in 2008. Despite bringing some South American flair to St Andrews he was unable to stave off relegation and any prospect of a permanent move was dashed.

Arsenal showed interest in the 24-year-old at the time but were priced out of a move with Lazio taking him to Italy for £16m. Now Liverpool are considering a move for Zarate but will hope to negotiate the £20m asking price down to something more palatable.

Liverpool Plan To End Summer Spending With Double Tottenham Star Raid

Liverpool are reportedly considering a move to snap up Tottenham pair Vedran Corluka and Niko Kranjcar as Kenny Dalglish looks to continue his summer spending spree. Harry Redknapp is keen to bring in funds from the sale of squad players to help finance White Hart Lane additions and may consider offers from the Anfield side for the duo.

The Merseyside club may be helped in their pursuit by the fact that the club’s director of football Damien Comolli served in the same role at Tottenham and was involved in the capture of Croatian international Corluka.

The 25 year old defender can play at right back and in the centre of defence and it’s that adaptability that appeals to Dalglish who is keen to beef up his defensive options and feels that the experienced former Man City man can help provide cover in two positions and well as fight his first team regulars for their spots.

Kenny Dalglish is known to be an admirer of Niko Kranjcar and with it looking increasingly likely that Luka Modric will not be joining Chelsea, the former Portsmouth man is set for another season warming the Tottenham bench and the Liverpool boss sees the talented flair player as a player who could fit in on the right side of the midfield, a role that Dutch international Dirk Kuyt has manfully filled for a few seasons.

However Kuyt is seen very much as a makeshift solution and Dalglish is thought to be keen on bringing in a more natural option to add balance to his midfield.

Redknapp has been told by chairman Daniel Levy that any significant additions to his squad must be balanced with the sale of some of his expansive squad and thus far Tottenham have spent very little in the transfer market but have managed to offload Jamie O’Hara and Robbie Keane to Wolves and LA Galaxy respectively.

It is thought that the Croatian pair could be snapped up for a combined fee of around £15m and given that Liverpool’s owners have already pumped in over £100m in 2011 on new signings, shouldn’t be a problem funding such a bid.

Liverpool & Aston Villa Chasing Man City Star

Liverpool and Aston Villa are believed to be leading the chase for Manchester City's James Milner.

The midfielder has been put of favour since City's latest spending spree saw Sergio Aguero and Samir Nasri brought for a combined total of £62m and chances of first team football appear slim. With Adam Johnson, Gareth Barry, and Nigel De Jong also ahead of him in the pecking order, a move before the transfer window closes is highly likely.

Reports that Milner has left the England squad are wide of the mark, not least because the source for the sorry was a fake Twitter account under the name of Stewart Downing but that does not diminish the fact that both Premier League clubs are interested.

Former employers Aston Villa would happily welcome him back with the £35m received from the sale of Downing to Liverpool and Ashley Young to Manchester United still burning a hole in their pocket with Charles N'Zogbia being the only high profile arrival.

Liverpool have less need for another midfielder though his versatility is believed to appeal to manager Kenny Dalglish while his nationality would also mesh with the club's transfer policy since the Scot took the helm in January.

Villa To Make Cole Move understands Aston Villa is planning a late move for Liverpool's out-of-favour midfielder Joe Cole.

The former Chelsea man is being tipped to leave Anfield and had been in talks over a move to French side Lille.

However, Villa could be willing to hijack the move, with the Ligue 1 champions struggling to afford the winger's wages.

Villa has brought in Charles N'Zogbia from Wigan, but are still short of creative options after losing Ashley Young and Stewart Downing.

Premier League rivals Tottenham and QPR are also interested in the 29-year-old, but it seems Alex McLeish is keen on his services.

Cole joined the Reds on a free transfer from Chelsea last summer, but has struggled to impress after making just 20 league appearances.

Liverpool Flop To Join Ligue 1 Newcomers Evian

Liverpool flop Christian Poulsen has joined Ligue 1 newcomers Evian TG, despite late interest from Espanyol.

Poulsen failed to make his mark at Anfield after signing for the club from Juventus last summer and will leave the club having started just nine Premier League games.

It has been reported that Spanish club Espanyol were keen on a late move and asked Liverpool if they could take the 31-year-old on loan for the season.

But now Ligue 2 champions Evian have completed the permanent signing of the Danish midfielder, although Liverpool have taken a hefty financial hit on the player.

The Reds paid Juventus £4.5m for Poulsen and handed him a three-year contract at the club - but it is understood Evian have agreed to pay Liverpool just £750,000 to seal his signature.

Liverpool Offer Flop To Aid Move For Eden Hazard

Liverpool midfielder Joe Cole is putting the finishing touches to a loan move to Lille to jump start his career.

The 29-year-old only moved to Merseyside 12 months ago from Chelsea but has failed to establish himself in the starting XI.

The England international has seen his standing fall even further this summer following the arrivals of Charlie Adam, Jordan Henderson and Stewart Downing.

The Reds are keen to offload Cole, who is on £90,000-a-week, to lower the club’s wage bill.

Lille is set to make a move for the playmaker after losing Gervinho to Arsenal and missing out on Monaco forward Park Chu-Young to the Gunners.

The signing of the South Korea captain has annoyed the Ligue 1 club so much they will now refuse to sell winger Eden Hazard to Arsene Wenger’s side.

Liverpool hopes to take advantage of the situation and have offered the French side Cole to build up a rapport.

Lille is unlikely to sell this summer, as they need Hazard for their Champions League campaign, but the Reds want to be at the front of the queue in 12 months time.

Stoke Turn Attention To Reds Striker

Liverpool striker David N'Gog's £4million move to Bolton Wanderers could be off after Stoke City emerged as late contenders for the player's signature according to the Daily Mirror.

The 22-year-old Frenchman's £40,000-a-week wages are believed to be the stumbling point of a deal taking him to the Reebok Stadium, and Potters boss Tony Pulis is ready to pounce.

Reds boss Kenny Dalglish has indicated N'Gog would be allowed to leave Anfield this transfer window, as Liverpool look to complete one final piece of business with the signing of a new striker to rival the likes of Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll.

Stoke are also rumoured to be preparing a bid for Tottenham's Peter Crouch, who has been told by Spurs boss Harry Redknapp he is free to leave White Hart Lane if he wishes, amid additional interest from Sunderland.

Reports this morning from Sky Sports News suggest that Nicklas Bendtner is at the Britannia Stadium, undergoing talks about a move to Stoke, which if completed will more than likely end interest in Liverpool's N'Gog.

Downing Surprised By Level Of Support At Liverpool

Liverpool’s Stewart Downing admits that he was surprised by the team’s support after joining the club this summer.

The 27-year-old winger, who has also played for Middlesbrough and Aston Villa, says he has not been at a club with such a huge fan base abroad before.

“Everywhere we go there seems to be a lot of fans," he told the club's official website.

"No disrespect, but I didn't have that at other clubs.

"We have fans all around the world. Especially games like Valerenga. I didn't realise we had so many fans based abroad. It shows you it's a big football club."

Despite a 1-1 draw with Sunderland in Liverpool’s opening game, the Reds have made a good start to this season’s campaign, beating Arsenal away and Bolton Wanderers at home.

Downing added: "I've met a lot of the fans and the people and can sense a buzz around the place. They ask about the players, about who is fit and the season. They're very nice people, very genuine.

"There's a buzz in Liverpool again. With the money the owners have spent and the way we've started, you can understand that. We've now got to carry it on and give them something to cheer about.

"It's absolutely brilliant playing at Anfield. When I played against Liverpool you always sensed the atmosphere. They don't half get behind their team."

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Joe Cole To Join French Champions On Loan

Liverpool is set to loan misfit midfielder Joe Cole to French champions Lille for the rest of the season.

Cole has struggled to establish himself at Anfield following a big-money Bosman move from Chelsea last summer and has seen the arrival of midfielders Charlie Adam, Stewart Downing and Jordan Henderson over the past couple of months further reduce his chances of regular action.

The arrival of the England international would renew speculation about the future of Lille star Eden Hazard, who has been linked with Arsenal and, ironically, Liverpool.

Bolton Agree Deal For Liverpool Striker

Liverpool has agreed a £4million deal in principle with Bolton for David Ngog.

The outline of the move was done before Liverpool's 3-1 win over Wanderers at Anfield and it is now up to the striker to decide his future.

Ngog has already turned down Sunderland and Leicester this summer and Bolton boss Owen Coyle is determined to land the Frenchman.

Ngog's move to Sunderland fell through because Steve Bruce did not want to meet his £40,000-a-week wages demands and it remains to be seen if Coyle will have more success.

Kenny Dalglish is prepared to press ahead with Ngog's sale despite failing in his audacious bid for Craig Bellamy and he does not see the former Paris St Gemain hitman as part of his long-term plans.

Dalglish is working to trim the Anfield wage bill after this summer's major recruitment drive and he may also be able to get Christian Poulsen off the books.

Poulsen could not agree terms with FC Copenhagen and is now wanted by Espanyol.

Liverpool are also braced for a second bid for Raul Meireles.

They rejected Andre Villas-Boas' offer of £7million-plus Yossi Benayoun and would cash in on the Portuguese midfielder for around £12million cash.

Inter Milan Rival Liverpool For Zarate

Despite the arrival of Diego Forlan, Inter Milan coach Gian Piero Gasperini is demanding another striker signing.

Forlan will complete his move from Atletico Madrid today.

Corriere dello Sport says Inter have approached Lazio for Zarate and hope to take him on a 12-month loan.

Lazio president Claudio Lotito is demanding €4 million for the deal to happen.

Liverpool has also made contact with Zarate's camp in the last 24 hours.

Liverpool Want Daniel Sturridge As Part Of Meireles Bid

Liverpool is reportedly ready to discuss Chelsea’s bid for Raul Meireles – but they want Daniel Sturridge included in any deal.

The Reds have recently rejected the west Londoners offer of £8m plus Yossi Benayoun for the Portuguese midfielder, but will be tempted to negotiate if Sturridge was thrown into the equation.

Kenny Dalglish has enjoyed an extremely productive summer in the transfer market, but has been frustrated in his bid to bring in a striker to challenge Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez for a starting place.

He lost out to Sunderland in the race for Conor Wickham, and is still trying to flog David N’Gog, meaning there’s still potentially one space left to fill at Anfield this summer.

Sturridge therefore, would represent an attractive proposition for Dalglish, and the Blues may be tempted to give him up for Meireles, even though the 21-year-old impressed Andres Villas-Boas in pre-season.

The Chelsea boss knows it’s becoming increasingly unlikely he’ll be able to prize Luka Modric away from Tottenham, and with Fernando Torres, Didier Drogba, Nicolas Anelka, Salomon Kalou and new boy Romelu Lukaku all competing for a place up front – Sturridge may be the logical sacrifice to land Meireles.

Everton To Consider Selling £8m Star To Bitter Rivals Liverpool

Liverpool is plotting a shock bid for Everton star Seamus Coleman, after Toffees manager David Moyes refused to rule out player sales due to their financial position.

The Blues are currently unable to bring in new signings at Goodison Park as the Merseysiders have reached their overdraft limit and even if the club did sell some of their better players to raise funds then that cash would only go to paying off bank debts.

Moyes and the Everton board have grown increasingly anxious with financial situation and could give themselves room to breathe by offloading several stars before the transfer window shuts on Wednesday with bitter rivals Liverpool ready to take advantage of the situation.

While key duo Mikel Arteta and Phil Jagielka have been strongly linked with Arsenal, Kenny Dalglishs interest in Coleman comes as somewhat of a surprise.

But according to sources close to the Reds boss, the Scotsman rates the Republic of Ireland international very highly and is considering a £8m bid for the right-sided player, who can operate as a full-back or in more advanced attacking position.

Everton will be reluctant to sell the versatile 22-year-old, especially to their Merseyside neighbours, but the Blues may be forced to cash-in on the youngster if they cannot offload another one of his stars this week.

"Everybody's got a price - Fabregas, Ronaldo, you name it. If anyone bids big enough I'm sure we'd take it. I'm not daft," Moyes told Sky Sports.

Dalglish's monetary situation starkly contrasts, he is being encouraged to carry on spending by owners Fenway Sports Group - despite spending over £50m on transfers this summer.

Having signed Stewart Downing to operate on the left-side, Dalglish wants a similar potency on the opposite flank to provide wide-service to strikers Luiz Suarez and Andy Carroll.

Coleman certainly fits the Anfield club's policy of buying young talent with a potentially higher sell-on value, but a move between the Merseyside rivals will always be a controversial one.

The former Sligo Rovers may feel a move across the city would benefit his long term career plans by aiding his ambitions to one day play in the UEFA Champions League.

Liverpool On Verge Of Signing Sebastian Coates

Nacional starlet Sebastian Coates is expected to sign a contract with Liverpool in the next 24 hours, as representatives of the Uruguayan club make the trip across the Atlantic in order to put the finishing touches on a lucrative transfer.

EFE reports that directors Hector Olmos and Alex Saul left for England on Monday to continue negotiations with Kenny Dalglish's team. Nacional hope to seal a small raise in the already-agreed fee of £7.6 million, to compensate the side for bigger offers rejected by Coates due to his desire to join the English club.

The officials arrived in England on Monday evening, and it is estimated that a contract of undisclosed length will be signed between by Wednesday. It was hoped that the deal would be concreted earlier, but as Saul revealed a missed flight in Lisbon delayed their arrival.

"We are in Lisbon, en route to Manchester. We are going to arrive 10 hours late, about six in the afternoon in Uruguay [22:00 BST]. We should have been there a while ago, but the negotiations will be done tonight," the club's contracts director admitted in an interview with Radio 1010.

"I get the feeling that the normal paths of communication have not been maintained. We are going to negotiate and I believe that we are going to take a bit more money."

The young defender, a Copa America winner in July with Uruguay, arrived in the country on Friday, and on Saturday afternoon he could be seen in the Anfield directors' box witnessing Liverpool's 3-1 victory over Bolton.

Liverpool Are Right To Reject Chelsea's Interest In Raul Meireles

Liverpool's decision to turn down Chelsea's offer of £8 million plus Yossi Benayoun for midfielder Raul Meireles seems to indicate the Portuguese is finally the flavour of the month at Anfield.

Meireles's short Liverpool career has been a strange one.

He arrived at the beginning of last season from FC Porto for £11.5 million and played 43 games for the club yet never really seemed to win over a section of the Liverpool hierarchy and fanbase.

In fact, Meireles was widely believed to be available for transfer earlier this summer when it seemed obvious that Kenny Dalglish was attempting to rebuild the Liverpool midfield.

The arrivals of Jordan Henderson, Charlie Adam and Stewart Downing appeared to sound the death-knell for Meireles's Liverpool future.

That trio, along with Lucas and Jay Spearing plus the return of Steven Gerrard from injury meant it was hard to see how Meireles would be squeezed into the Liverpool line-up.

However, Liverpool has now rejected Chelsea's approach for Meireles which indicates that his worth is finally being appreciated.

Meireles missed last weekend's win over Bolton due to a collarbone injury but he has played influential cameos in both of the Premier League games he has featured in this season.

He was particularly important against Arsenal when he came off the bench with 19 minutes to go and helped change the game for the visitors.

Meireles has rarely had an off-day in a Liverpool shirt, he has always spoken off his delight at being at Anfield and seems determined to prove he can still be a hit in the Premier League.

And the very fact that Chelsea is interested in the player should be another reason to keep hold of him.

Stamford Bridge manager Andre Villas-Boas briefly got to know Meireles last season before he joined Liverpool and yet despite only having worked with him for a short while, he has seen enough to be convinced he is the player Chelsea require.

Villas-Boas has already shown he has an eye for a player and keeping him out of the clutches of a fellow Premier League rival should be an added incentive for Dalglish to hang on to him.

Of course, Liverpool may well just be playing hardball with Chelsea and may well let him go if they can squeeze another two or three million out of the London club.

But it seems wrong to consider letting such a quality player go.

And especially a quality player who has never agitated for a move or given anything less than 100 per cent.

Why Liverpool FC May Suffer As A Result Of Being Out Of Europe This Season

Guest writer David Bolt argues that failure to qualify for this season's Europa League could actually be a negative rather than a positive for Liverpool this season.

Last season, Liverpool failed to qualify for Europe for the first time in 12 years. The response from the majority of fans was an overwhelming ‘meh', with many fans actually pleased not to be involved in the competition. I wasn’t one of those fans - I think that not being in the Europa League this season may hurt us a bit more than most fans think.

Jamie Carragher was one of those who was indifferent to Liverpool being in the Europa League. He said:

“The main thing for us next season is getting back into the Champions League. Not being in Europe will give us a better chance of doing that. We want to get back in the top four and do well in the cups. Playing Thursdays and Sundays isn’t ideal.”

Harry Redknapp stated something along similar lines, saying:

“The Europa League takes an even bigger toll [on league form] than the Champions League. Playing on Thursdays and Sundays every week, it’s not ideal. It’s one of those competitions that teams get into and then they try to get out of. You look at the English teams, and they all seem to have played reserve teams.”

I completely disagree. Okay, the Europa League isn’t nearly as prestigious as the Champions League, there’s no point pretending otherwise, but that doesn’t mean it has no merit. Liverpool is renowned for winning trophies, and has 3 UEFA Cup/ Europa League wins on its honours list. Would those fans who believe the Europa League is worthless like to see those removed?

I think it’s a shame that the club hasn’t got the chance to add another European trophy to the cabinet. I also disagree with Carra that being in the Europa league would have jeopardised our chances of making the top 4. Manchester City competed in the Europa League last season and managed both a cup win and a 3rd place finish in the league. I see no reason why Liverpool wouldn’t be able to do something similar, especially with the improvements made to the squad this summer and the positive start to the season.

I don’t accept the notion that the Europa League is a competition for lesser teams. There are plenty of good teams providing tough opposition. Look at the winners over the last ten years: Feyenoord, Porto (twice), Valencia, Sevilla (twice), CSKA Moscow, Zenit St Petersburg, Shakhtar Donetsk and Atletico Madrid. None of those teams would look out of place in the knockout stages of the Champions League, and all have been consistently strong in their domestic leagues (except Feyenoord, but they’re historically one of the Netherlands’ best teams).

As for being a competition solely for reserve players, look at the starting XI for the FC Braga game that put Liverpool out of the competition: Reina, Johnson, Carragher, Skrtel, Wilson (the only fit left sided defender at the time), Meireles, Maxi, Cole, Lucas, Kuyt and Carroll. Hardly a reserve team is it?

Instead of being solely reserves, Liverpool’s teams in last season’s Europa League were a mix of first-teamers, squad players and some youth, and that’s the right way to go. Liverpool have reaped the benefits of blooding young players like Martin Kelly, Jay Spearing and Jonjo Shelvey in the competition, meaning that when those players were needed in the league, they were ready.

By not playing in the Europa League this season, Liverpool will be limited in the opportunities they can give to some of the up-and-coming young players to try and gauge whether or not they are ready or good enough to play in the Premier League, which may hinder their development.

Of course, for all of his managerial experience and know-how, Kenny Dalglish doesn’t have much experience of managing in Europe. His experience of managing Liverpool in Europe runs to the 4 dismal games against Sparta Prague and Braga in last season’s Europa League. Other than that, he managed Blackburn in the UEFA Cup, getting knocked out first round against Swedish side Trelleborgs, and later managed Newcastle in the Champions League where they beat Barcelona but got knocked out in the group stages, and that’s it.

Whilst I have every confidence that Dalglish can take us a long way in the Champions League, I think it would’ve been invaluable for him to have gained more experience of managing in Europe against a variety of different tactic before entering into Europe’s premier competition next season.

Of course, there are also financial consequences to not qualifying for Europe. Last season, Liverpool made €6,131,224 from their Europa League run. Okay, that’s a drop in the ocean compared to the riches that teams playing in the Champions League get, but it’s still an amount of money that, when gate receipts and other matchday incomes are included, could be used to bring one more player into the squad. Also, with the Financial Fair Play regulations coming into play soon, any potential revenue stream should not to be dismissed lightly.

It’s saddening that so many fans think that the Europa League is beneath our club. It is not. I believe that there were many potential benefits and learning experiences that could have been gained from Europa League participation, which would have been valuable for the club as we look towards mounting a serious challenge in the Champions League next season.

Emmanuel Frimpong and Martin Kelly Withdraw From England Under 21 Squad

Arsenal’s Emmanuel Frimpong and Liverpool’s Martin Kelly have withdraw from the England Under 21 squad after picking up injuries over the weekend.

Stewart Pearce was already down on numbers ahead of the matches against Azerbaijan and Israel with Manchester United duo Phil Jones and Tom Cleverley having received call-ups to the senior side ahead of their Euro 2012 qualifiers against Bulgaria and Wales.

Kelly was substituted during Liverpool’s 3-1 victory over Bolton on Saturday, while Frimpong was suspended for Arsenal’s 8-2 defeat to Manchester United at Old Trafford, but has picked up an injury in training according to the FA.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Dalglish Struggling To Fit Carroll Into Reds' Blueprint

Three games, three shades of red. Kenny Dalglish enters the international break with the first skirmishes of the season behind him and with much to ponder.

That he does so with a revitalized Liverpool breathing hot on the necks of the Premier League's leaders means a club used to contemplating the existential can consider issues rather more aesthetic.

The biggest of those issues, metaphorically and physically, spent 77 minutes seated behind Dalglish on the Anfield bench. The Scot must work out how to solve the Andy Carroll quandary.

The striker, all £35m of him, had started both Liverpool's draw with Sunderland and the victory at Arsenal, first alongside Luis Suarez and then alongside Dirk Kuyt. Here, it was his turn to miss out. Of all three combinations, it is hard not to argue that Suarez and Kuyt worked best.

The Uruguayan and Dutchman provide endless intensity, affording a side built to Dalglish's energetic, pressing specifications the sharpest of edges.

Both were involved in Jordan Henderson's opener, Suarez playing the most sumptuous pass of the season thus far, Kuyt scrapping and scrabbling to tee up the midfielder.

Suarez won the corner which led to their second, from Martin Skrtel, while the pair's running dragged Bolton's defence apart to grant Charlie Adam the chance to kill the game off.

Both, indeed, might have scored themselves: Suarez had three gilt-edged opportunities -- the best of them a chip which landed on the roof of the Anfield Road end net -- and the industrious Kuyt one.

The contrast with Owen Coyle's side's last visit, when only a late Joe Cole winner -- "an offside winner" to quote the Bolton manager -- salvaged a victory, granting the doomed Roy Hodgson the most temporary of reprieves, was stark.

"If you want to compare Liverpool today with back then, they look a very good side," said Coyle, Ivan Klasnic's late strike offering little consolation. "They can score goals. Having said that, if you gave me £110m I am sure I would have a team that look dangerous every time they walk on the park."

Coyle may soon have money -- he insists he "will not buckle" on his valuation of Gary Cahill, a target for Arsenal -- but he knows there is more to building teams than finance.

There is philosophy and thought and vision. Dalglish's is not a revolution so much as a restoration and it seems Suarez and Kuyt are at the vanguard, in more ways than one.

As the Uruguayan was replaced by Carroll, Dalglish's old No 7 shirt granted its now customary deafening ovation, the Scot must have wondered, and feared, that he had hit upon his winning formula.

Kuyt and Suarez certainly seem most suited to what he is trying to achieve; that much was clear even last season. They offer the movement, the versatility and the remorselessness Dalglish demands.

"The way he wants us to play is pass and move and with a high tempo," said Daniel Agger, no less a spectator than the 45,000 inside Anfield for vast swathes of the game. "It is not just one thing, it is a combination -- a strong squad, a good manager, good coaches around him.

"You saw that there was some quality passing in the team now, we are playing it on the ground, and that is what people like to see.

"Results are the most important thing but if you can get them playing like this, that is a bonus."

The issue for Dalglish, of course, is that such a style seems to flow more naturally with Suarez and Kuyt on the pitch and Carroll on the bench.

It is a problem Dalglish will welcome -- being forced to find a way to accommodate an England international is the sort of issue managers generally enjoy -- but it is one that will offer him no little trouble too.

The issue is not with Carroll himself, but more his consequences. The 22-year-old's presence inspires Liverpool to adopt a more agrarian philosophy, one they are ill-suited to and one which does not, in truth, elicit the best from the striker.

Against Sunderland and Arsenal, Carroll has appeared isolated, instructed to challenge for aerial balls with little cohesive support for his knock-downs and lay-offs.

That is the challenge facing Dalglish. His outlay on Carroll now totals £66m, such has been the cost of the striker himself, Stewart Downing and Jose Enrique to provide the requisite width and Adam to create the space.

This is a side built for Carroll. The irony is that it does not appear to need him in it.

Liverpool Look To Vargas

Fiorentina could still release Juan Manuel Vargas this summer, as Liverpool and Bayern Munich are showing interest.

The winger had been a long-term target for Juventus over the past year, but that move did not go through.

It is now reported that Liverpool is looking to bring Vargas to the Premier League and the Reds have enquired after him.

There is also interest from the Bundesliga, as Bayern Munich is considering the Peruvian international.

Dalglish Mum On Coates Transfer

Kenny Dalglish refused to discuss the imminent arrival of Sebastian Coates at Liverpool after watching his side return to the top of the Premier League table for the first time in over two years.

Uruguay international defender Coates was at Anfield on Saturday to witness an easy 3-1 win over Bolton which maintained the Merseyside club's unbeaten start to the campaign.

The 20-year-old is set to complete a £7 million (7.9m euros) move from Nacional before Wednesday's transfer deadline, and his arrival will take Dalglish's spending to £115 million since he returned to take charge of Liverpool last January.

Dalglish, however, was reluctant to talk about the transfer until it is completed.

"When we have something to say then we'll tell everyone at the same time," said Dalglish after goals by Jordan Henderson, Martin Skrtel and Charlie Adam earned Liverpool a second straight league win that sent to the top on goal difference for the first time since May 2009.

"It's early days but it's better than being bottom of the table. It's a well deserved win. I think we were fantastic," added the Liverpool manager.

"It doesn't surprise me on how well the new players have gelled. This club is a friendly place and a fantastic place to play. We've got a really good squad and that's very important."

Craig Bellamy Ready To Snub Liverpool Transfer And Join Spurs

Craig Bellamy is ready to turn his back on the chance to return to Liverpool in order to sign for Spurs.

Manchester City's forgotten striker was reported to be on his way to Anfield on a free transfer, after Reds boss Kenny Dalglish indicated he could be the right man to provide cover for Luis Suarez.

But it seems the Welshman has decided against having a second spell at Liverpool, as he would prefer to challenge for a starting role at Spurs.

Bellamy has now told Tottenham officials he is happy to move to White Hart Lane and the deal should be completed in the next few days, reports the Mail on Sunday.

The 32-year-old could find himself linking up with another City outcast in London, as Emmanuel Adebayor recently joined Spurs on a season-long loan.

The two formed an unlikely friendship at Eastlands - mainly in response to their similar treatment at the hands of Roberto Mancini, who refused to select either for extended periods of time last season.

Chelsea Set To Offload Yossi Benayoun To Liverpool Or Lille

Yossi Benayoun may make a surprise return to Liverpool with Chelsea set to sell him to his former club or the French champions, Lille. A decision could be made this afternoon on which club has succeeded in acquiring the Israeli international.

If Benayoun returns to Anfield then it might pave the way for Raul Meireles to leave Liverpool. It’s understood the Portuguese international, currently out injured, wants to quit Merseyside because he believes his first-team opportunities will be limited by Kenny Dalglish’s summer signings.

Chelsea has expressed an interest in acquiring Meireles and it’s understood the two clubs are discussing the possibility of Benayoun being included in a player-plus-cash exchange.

However Liverpool would prefer Meireles, if he is to leave, to move abroad and not remain in the Premier League. With the midfield signings made by Dalglish, Meireles has lost his place in the starting XI for now. He was injured in the Carling Cup last week.

Meireles is thought to be available for around £11m – although Liverpool may demand more from Chelsea – and is admired by Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas who worked with him briefly at Porto.

Benayoun has indicated on his Twitter site for the past couple of weeks that he is likely to leave Chelsea, who he signed for last summer, and recently gave up his number 10 shirt to new arrival Juan Mata.

Espanyol In For Reds Wantaway

Liverpool expects Christian Poulsen to bring an end to his Anfield nightmare by completing a move to Espanyol this week.

The Danish international joined the Reds last summer when Roy Hodgson was in charge but failed to impress under the former manager and found himself out in the cold once Kenny Dalglish took over.

With Liverpool having a plentiful supply of central midfielders following the arrivals of Charlie Adam and Jordan Henderson this summer Dalglish is keen to get rid of Poulsen.

Spanish side Espanyol are now thought to have made an offer to take the 31-year-old on loan for the rest of the season, with a view to a permanent move.

However, the only sticking point could be Poulsen's £40,000-a-week wages, with Espanyol reluctant to cough up for his whole pay package and Liverpool unwilling to subsidize.

Agger Happy With Life Under Dalglish

Liverpool defender Daniel Agger is enjoying a new lease of life under Kenny Dalglish.

Agger, 26, has been blighted by fitness problems in recent seasons but has started all three Premier League games this term and is showing good form.

The Denmark international is not only happy to be back in the side but has been energized by Dalglish's approach, his new signings and an unbeaten start to the season.

Agger said: ''It is enjoyable, I think everybody will say the same. When you play good football and when things are going the right way, everyone enjoys themselves more.

''For a team like Liverpool, that wants to go forward all the time, it has been so good this year that so many quality players have come in. To make the team stronger we need players like that, we need them all the time. It has been really good and it is a joy to go into Melwood every day to train.''

Agger joined Liverpool in 2006 and feels the football they have played this term has been as good as anything he has experienced. The Reds impressed on Saturday as they swept Bolton aside 3-1 at Anfield.

Agger said: ''That is the way we want to play - ever since I joined this club that is the way we want to play. It is not always like that, but if we can keep playing like this I think we can get some points.''

After his own fitness problems of the past, Agger feels he is starting to get back towards his best.

He said: ''I am getting there but I still think I have a lot more to give. You learn to enjoy every single game when you have been out so long and I am definitely doing that now. I love playing football and I want to show that, but I know I have a lot more to give.''

Skrtel: Anyone Can Play Now

Martin Skrtel believes Liverpool finally has a squad capable of competing at the top end of the Barclays Premier League.

The Reds have collected seven points from their opening three games and temporarily went top of the league this weekend.

Their latest victory against Bolton on Saturday was secured with record signing Andy Carroll on the bench, while a week ago Kenny Dalglish left Luis Suarez out of his starting XI for our trip to Arsenal.

For Skrtel this is an illustration of the strength within the squad.

"For this season we signed a few new players and we have a really strong squad now," the Slovakian told

"It doesn't matter who is playing now. We have maybe 22 players and everyone can play in a game. That's very good and we can compare to the best teams in the Premier League.

"I can say we are playing in one of the best periods since I came to the club.

"We had a target at the start of the season. Now we'll just try to win every single game, get as many points as possible and qualify for the Champions League."

Skrtel scored his fourth goal for the Reds in Saturday's 3-1 win having previously netted against Tottenham, West Brom and Man City.

This after replacing the injured Martin Kelly to operate in an unfamiliar role on the right of a back four.

"I'm delighted because it's only my fourth goal for LFC, so I'm happy," he added.

"Right-back is not my position but if the manager needs me there, I'm happy to play there. It's quite different from playing in the middle but I'll be happy if I play every single game for the club - it doesn't matter which position! I will always try to do my best for the club."

Skrtel now departs for international duty hoping to collect his 50th cap versus the Republic of Ireland before a game against Armenia.

'We Just Watched The Suarez Show'

Jamie Redknapp cannot wait to see Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez on the same pitch.

Both Redknapp and the injured Gerrard were at Anfield on Saturday as Liverpool swept aside Owen Coyle's resilient Bolton.

Several home players could have claimed the match champagne afterwards, but it was Suarez who had our former midfielder purring.

"I could pass a bit as a player and I love to see a playmaker open a defence with a pass," explained Redknapp. "Luis Suarez can do it too.

"The most difficult pass to execute is with the outside of the foot, because it's harder to establish the correct contact and weight. When Suarez bent a drifting, right-footed in-swinger from the left to Stewart Downing that inspired the first goal, it was stunning.

"I bumped into Steven Gerrard on Saturday as I was leaving Anfield and, while he hasn't played this season after a miserable run of injuries, he was in very good spirits.

"Like me, he'd just been watching the Luis Suarez show and Stevie will be excited about the prospect of playing alongside Liverpool's new star again.

"I can't wait to see the two of them together, either. They will be on the same wavelength."

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Match Report: Liverpool 3 - 1 Bolton

Jordan Henderson and Charlie Adam scored their first Liverpool goals as the Reds crushed Bolton to move top of the Barclays Premier League tonight.

The summer signings struck either side of a powerful Martin Skrtel header as the hosts, inspired by the outstanding Luis Suarez, produced an electrifying performance at Anfield.

Bolton struck late on through Ivan Klasnic but generally offered little as Liverpool, backed by a raucous crowd, displayed further evidence of their rejuvenation under Kenny Dalglish.

The home team maintained a ferocious tempo from the kick-off with Suarez, preferred to Andy Carroll up front, at the heart of almost all their attacking play.

With another new player in Stewart Downing also influential, Liverpool looked a different proposition from the Roy Hodgson side which started the last campaign so sluggishly.

For Bolton defeat was a reality check after a promising start to the season.

It may also have been their last game with Gary Cahill as Arsenal consider whether to make another bid for the inspirational defender before Wednesday's transfer deadline.

Bolton struggled to cope with the pace of Liverpool and was fortunate to survive when Downing lost control in the area after a quick counter-attack.

It came as little surprise when the Reds claimed the lead after more good work in the 15th minute.

Suarez brilliantly crossed into the box with the outside of his left boot and Jussi Jaaskelainen reacted quickly to keep out Downing's volley.

Dirk Kuyt was first to the loose ball and fed Henderson who, after his first effort was blocked by Nigel Reo-Coker, fired firmly into the top corner.

Bolton almost grabbed a spectacular equalizer moments later when Chris Eagles crossed for Martin Petrov but Jose Reina parried the Bulgarian's tight-angled volley.

Liverpool upped the tempo with Suarez driving forward and Kuyt almost diverting in a low cross in from close range.

Suarez then broke clear and coolly lobbed Jaaskelainen but the ball dropped just over the bar.

Both sides were forced to reorganize midway through the first half.

Bolton sent on Mark Davies after Fabrice Muamba went off before Liverpool right-back Martin Kelly, who missed the closing months of last season, left the action to be replaced by Skrtel.

Suarez delivered another dangerous cross but Kuyt volleyed straight at Jaaskelainen from a Downing flick-on.

Kuyt then went close from long range before the Reds appealed for a penalty when Gretar Steinsson handled as Downing tried to flick the ball past him.

Replays, however, backed referee Lee Probert's decision to give a free-kick just outside the box and Henderson's cross was cleared.

Liverpool maintained the pressure after the break and within moments of the restart Suarez was clear again.

The Uruguayan broke into the box but his fall after an attempted challenge by Zat Knight seemed rather theatrical.

Suarez, with countryman and prospective new signing Sebastian Coates watching in the main stand, was then involved in the action again on the edge of the area.

He was bundled off the ball but Adam picked up possession and had a shot deflected wide.

The Scot took the resulting corner himself and delivered an inviting cross for Skrtel to double the lead with a thumping header.

Adam got on the scoresheet barely a minute later as he finished off good work from Kuyt by firing low past Jaaskelainen.

It almost got worse for Bolton as Suarez rounded Jaaskelainen but shot into the side-netting.

Bolton had a rare opportunity when Klasnic had a shot blocked by Jamie Carragher.

But there was little respite for the Trotters as Daniel Agger charged forward from deep to fire a shot well over.

Liverpool should have had a free-kick inside the area when Jaaskelainen clearly handled a back-pass from Paul Robinson under pressure from Suarez but Probert gave nothing.

Suarez and Henderson made way for Carroll and Maxi Rodriguez 14 minutes from time.

The Reds eased off but continued to dominate possession with Jose Enrique twice finding room to whip in good crosses.

Some of the gloss was taken off their afternoon, however, when Petrov troubled Carragher and Klasnic tapped in a stoppage-time consolation.