Saturday, December 31, 2011

Match Report: Liverpool 3 - 1 Newcastle

Liverpool's record signing Andy Carroll may have not made his mark against his former club but ex-Newcastle striker Craig Bellamy more than made up for it with two goals at Anfield.

Another for Steven Gerrard on only his second appearance after two months out with an ankle infection ensured the Reds' struggles at home were banished.

Kenny Dalglish's side had drawn four of the last five at Anfield, where they have dropped 12 points so far this season, and for an hour it appeared that run would continue.

However, Bellamy - who had scored in the first half to cancel out Daniel Agger's own goal - curled home a free-kick and Gerrard made sure of victory with an angled shot.

It was the first time Liverpool had scored three goals in a match since the August 27 win over Bolton.

The night was supposed to be all about Carroll, who was given the role of main striker in the absence of the suspended Luis Suarez, but the big centre-forward again came up short.

Playing as a lone front man he struggled for support, especially in the first half, and was often found out of position as he chased the ball.

His best chance came in the latter stages of the match when he crashed a header against the crossbar from close range.

But, fortunately for Carroll, Bellamy's eye for goal was a lot sharper to ensure Liverpool - undoubtedly helped by a 31-minute cameo from Gerrard - came from behind to win a match which looked like a struggle at times.

The story of Liverpool's six home draws this season has been one of failing to take chances and the first one created in the 15th minute was a typical example.

Former Magpies left-back Jose Enrique drilled a cross through the six-yard area but Stewart Downing was moving away from goal rather than towards it and the ball rolled to safety.

Charlie Adam fired a 35-yard shot over while Downing drew Tim Krul into a save low at his left-hand post.

Newcastle took the lead in odd circumstances in the 25th minute.

Haris Vuckic was walking towards the bench having been hit in the face by Glen Johnson's clearance but Newcastle played on and when Ryan Taylor swung in a cross from the left the ball just missed Yohan Cabaye only for Agger to inadvertently divert it past Jose Reina under pressure from Demba Ba.

However, within four minutes Liverpool was level through Bellamy.

Cheick Tiote made a poor attempt at clearing Adam's cut-back from the right of the penalty area and Bellamy drive through a crowd of players from 16 yards.

The home side picked up the tempo and Downing's volley was blocked by Jonas Gutierrez while Martin Skrtel flashed a header just wide of the far post from Bellamy's corner.

Early in the second half Cabaye was lucky to escape punishment after catching Jay Spearing halfway up his shin with a late tackle.

Gerrard replaced Adam just before the hour and the captain's first involvement was to whip in a near-post cross which almost picked out Carroll.

When the England midfielder did find the unmarked striker in five yards of space in the penalty area the £35million signing's first touch let him down badly.

Carroll played a decoy role in Liverpool's second goal but the decisive move came from Danny Simpson.

As Bellamy lined up a 67th-minute free-kick the Newcastle defender decided to back-track to the goalline, allowing Carroll to advance towards Krul. When the set-piece came in Simpson got in the way of his goalkeeper and the ball crept between the two of them.

However, Newcastle would have equalised three minutes later when Ba clipped a narrow-angle shot over Reina - only for Skrtel to clear just inches from the goalline.

Despite Carroll's best efforts he seemed destined not to score when his header rebounded off the crossbar.

Bellamy departed, with blood pouring from a cut above his left eye after a clash with Fabricio Coloccini, to be replaced by Dirk Kuyt for the final 16 minutes.

Not to be outdone Gerrard popped up with a trademark third goal in the 77th minute when he ran from deep to collect Henderson's through-ball and side-foot an angled shot past Krul from the left of the penalty area.

It capped an improved second-half performance and helped ease some of the frustration which had been building up at Anfield.

After their bright start Newcastle have now won one in eight and manager Alan Pardew needs to arrest the slide.

Dalglish - We Deserved It

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish thought the Reds fully deserved their victory after coming from behind to beat Newcastle.

The visitors took a 25th minute lead through Daniel Agger's own goal, but the Reds hit back via a Craig Bellamy brace and a Steven Gerrard effort.

The win was only the second in six matches at home after a proliferation of draws and Dalglish was delighted to get the three points despite not dominating as much as they had done in some of their previous stalemates.

"I thought it was a fully-deserved victory," he said.

"We showed great courage, commitment and desire to get back into the game after losing a goal.

"We equalised, Martin (Skrtel) had a great clearance off the line and I think we deserved to win.

"It's probably the game where we've created the least chances as well, but we've scored three goals. It's funny how that happens.

"I'm not relieved, just satisfied that we got what we deserved. If we got what we deserved in every other (home) game I don't think it would have been unreasonable."

The Liverpool boss praised Bellamy after his brace against his former club.

"It's not the first time we've praised him and it certainly won't be the last," said Dalglish of Bellamy, who left the field late on to have four stitches in an eye wound after a clash with Fabricio Coloccini.

"He took the first one well, because it was tight in the area, and the second one was a free-kick.

"The defender ran back on the line for some reason and Andy (Carroll) ran back with him.

"It went between the goalkeeper and the full-back - it was a good free-kick and may have gone in any way.

"We are delighted for him. We just hope his cut eye isn't too bad. As he came off, I just said congratulations to him."

Gerrard climbed off the bench to score in only his second appearance after two months out with an ankle infection.

Dalglish added: "When Steven's not playing, he's influential so I suppose you can add the word hugely influential when he is in the team.

"He's getting back to fitness which is fantastic reward for him and everyone who has worked with him to get him back to the level he's at now.

"He's always been a huge asset for the football club and he's got a lot of years to go yet and we'll look forward to that.

"I think we were pretty much in control any way (before Gerrard's arrival).

"They had a bit of possession at the start of the second half without really threatening, but obviously, him scoring the third goal helped us.

"He's put the pressure on himself now, scoring a goal, but it's great to see him getting his reward.

"He's worked really hard to get where he is. It was a freak injury, really, so the boy deserves a bit of luck in 2012."

Pardew - Magpies Not At Best

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew felt his side could have been better in their 3-1 defeat at Liverpool.

The Magpies took the lead via a Daniel Agger own goal, but the Reds hit back with a Craig Bellamy brace and Steven Gerrard effort.

Pardew felt Liverpool's second goal, which saw visiting defender Danny Simpson and goalkeeper Tim Krul fail to keep out Bellamy's free-kick on the line, was a key part of the match.

He said: "We were having a good period there and it was never a foul, I don't know why the ref has given that, and then we've made an error on the free-kick.

"The defender and the goalie got in each other's way and we've let a sloppy one in, but we should never have been in that situation in the first place.

"We could have been better last night, I didn't think we were at our best in the second half. I thought we could have been a lot more positive about our play."

Despite the loss, Pardew heaped praise on his seventh-placed side for what they have achieved this year.

He said: "We've done brilliant, we've got some very good players and we've had a really, really good calendar year.

"We need to take that now into next year, and if we do anything like this last year, we may surprise ourselves and the opposition in the league.

"We're still in a good position even though we were beaten last night."

Dalglish Delighted With Return Of Steven Gerrard In Newcastle Defeat

Kenny Dalglish, the Liverpool manager, prayed Steven Gerrard's wretched luck is over after seeing a brilliant cameo from his skipper inspires victory against Newcastle.

Gerrard's appearance as a second-half substitute in the 3-1 win at Anfield proved to be the game's pivotal moment, bringing a miserable 12 months for the 31 year-old to a satisfactory conclusion.

The England midfielder, playing only his second game since returning from a two-month absence due to an ankle infection, scored his side's third and was instrumental in providing the cutting edge Liverpool have missed in his absence.

While Gerrard admitted the last year has been 'terrible', his manager said he deserved a goal for the strides he has made in regaining fitness.

"It's great to see him getting the reward because he was worked really hard to get back," said Dalglish. "It was a freak injury that got him in trouble in the first place. The boy deserves some luck, so maybe 2012 will bring him that.

"Steven has put the pressure on himself now by getting the goal. Even when he's not even playing he's still influential. He's getting back to full fitness and that's fantastic for him."

Gerrard admitted he'll be glad to see the back of 2011, when groin and ankle problems kept him on the sidelines, saying: "I've had a terrible year and I can't wait to put it behind me, but it's great to be back, to be back playing with the lads and getting on the scoresheet,"

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew felt his side could have claimed a point, and argued a poor refereeing decision by Lee Probert prior to Liverpool's second goal on 77 minutes was the key moment.

"The second goal was the turning point. It was never a foul and I don't know why the referee has given it," said Pardew. "We made an error on the line but we shouldn't have been in that position in the first place.

"We could have been better tonight, more positive. But we have done brilliantly in 2011. We have some very good players who are all fighting for each other."

Cabaye Expected To Escape Action

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew is confident Yohan Cabaye will not face retrospective punishment from the Football Association for his horror tackle against Liverpool.

The Frenchman avoided any action from referee Lee Probert in the 3-1 defeat at Anfield on Friday night despite leaving Jay Spearing in a heap with a studs-up challenge.

An FA disciplinary panel could decide to act upon the incident, but Pardew is confident Cabaye, a summer signing from Lille, did not aim to hurt his opponent.

"There was no malice in the tackle. I don't think the FA will look at it," said the Newcastle boss in The Times.

The incident sparked an angry, on-field reaction from Liverpool's players, but boss Kenny Dalglish claims to have missed the tackle.

"I didn't see it," claimed Kenny Dalglish. "If it was a bad one, I'm sure the governing body will take appropriate action."

Liverpool Make Surprise Move For Gary Cahill

Liverpool is trying to gazump Chelsea’s move for Gary Cahill.

The highly-rated Bolton and England defender, 26, had been expected to join the Blues after a £7milllion transfer fee was agreed this week.

But the bid was threatened by a disagreement over personal terms and Kenny Dalglish is poised to swoop.

Cahill, who is out of contract this summer, is understood to prefer staying in the north.

Kop boss Dalglish is a big admirer of the centre-back who would compete for a place with the injury-prone Daniel Agger, Martin Skrtel and Jamie Carragher at Anfield.

Stamford Bridge manager Andre Villas-Boas revealed that talks with Cahill had hit a snag, before appearing to suggest he was looking at alternatives.

Villas Boas said: “We’re still miles apart regarding agreement with the player. We’ll continue to monitor this situation, as we continue to monitor others.

Pool To Land Reds Starlet

Blackpool have agreed a deal to sign Liverpool defender Danny Wilson on loan until the end of the season.

Wilson has yet to make an impact at Anfield since his arrival from Rangers in 2010 and has made just one appearance in the Carling Cup so far this season.

The Scotland international admitted earlier this season that he would be open to a loan move away from Liverpool in search of regular first-team football and Reds boss Kenny Dalglish has now decided to let him move on.

Blackpool boss Ian Holloway has held a long-term interest in Wilson and was linked with a move for the centre-back during the loan transfer window.

Liverpool loaned Jonjo Shelvey to Bloomfield Road earlier this season and they have now agreed to let Wilson make the switch to the Seasiders.

Wilson will complete the move when the transfer window officially opens on 1st of January and Liverpool have allowed him to be eligible for Blackpool's FA Cup campaign.

Gerrard - No Fear Of City

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard insists the Reds have nothing to fear from their trip to title-chasing Manchester City at the start of 2012.

The England international scored on only his second appearance after two months out with injury as the Reds beat Newcastle 3-1 at Anfield on Friday night.

Now he has his sights set on Roberto Mancini's side as the two clubs face each other in top-flight action on Tuesday ahead of a two-legged Carling Cup semi-final.

And Gerrard, having watched his side have the better of the 1-1 draw against City just over a month ago, insisted the trip to the Etihad Stadium does not faze them.

"They are a fantastic team who have started the season really well but we've got nothing to fear," Gerrard told the club's official website. "Bring it on.

"We showed against them here a couple of weeks ago that we more than matched them.

"These are exciting games, we don't fear these and these are the games as a player you want to play in. I can't wait.

"We've been very strong on the road. It's at home that we haven't got the results our football has deserved but we will go to City full of confidence.

"We will give it our best shot and see where it takes us."

Friday, December 30, 2011

Premier League Preview: Liverpool vs Newcastle United

With just a point separating the two sides, Liverpool take on Newcastle United at Anfield on Friday, knowing the importance of a win.

After six games without victory, Newcastle beat Bolton Wanderers 2-0 at the Reebok Stadium on Monday.

Alan Pardew's men had only taken two points from their previous six games, before Hatem Ben Arfa and Demba Ba scored in the second half to topple Bolton and get within a point of sixth-placed Liverpool on the English Premier League table.

Ben Arfa came off the bench after recovering from an ankle injury to score only his second goal for Newcastle since his debut against Everton in September 2010, and the winger is keen for more against Liverpool.

"I just hope that the goals are going to come one after another now," Ben Arfa told the club's website.

"The atmosphere at Anfield is very special but the most important thing will not be the ground - it will be the three points."

With Davide Santon out after suffering a knee injury against West Bromwich Albion, Ryan Taylor returned to the starting line-up and is expected to start against Liverpool.

Ba brought his league goal tally to 13 goals in 16 games against Bolton, and is looking for a win against a Liverpool side which have drawn six games at home so far and won only three.

"It was a very important win because six games without a win is a long time. Now we have to make sure that next Friday (at Liverpool), we get something too," Ba said.

Liverpool once again dropped points against a lower side in their 1-1 draw against last-placed Blackburn Rovers on Monday - their second-straight draw after their goalless stalemate at Wigan last Wednesday.

Luis Suarez, Maxi Rodriguez and Dirk Kuyt scored the three goals in Liverpool’s 3-0 win last season at Anfield against Newcastle.

Rodriguez scored Liverpool's equalizer against Blackburn - his 11th goal in his last 12 starts - Kenny Dalglish will be hoping that the Argentine will continue to link up well with striker Luis Suarez, who is still stuck on five league goals for the Reds.
Captain Steven Gerrard finally returned from an ankle injury in the second half against Blackburn, but his lack of match fitness failed to lift the Reds, who have scored just 21 goals this season - four less than Newcastle.

Liverpool have dropped points at home against Swansea City, Sunderland and Norwich City and Dalglish will hope that Gerrard can raise his game against a Newcastle side looking to overhaul their opponents on the table.

Dalglish Praise For Maxi

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish has piled the praise on Maxi Rodriguez ahead of Friday's Premier League clash with Newcastle.

The Argentinian attacker is expected to play a key role against the Magpies, with striker Luis Suarez missing due to a one-match suspension.

Rodriguez has been prolific at Anfield with 11 goals in his last 12 home starts, including finding the back of the net in their Boxing Day draw with Blackburn.

Dalglish has joked the 30-year-old, who he has to man-manage in order to maintain fitness, may take the team's training sessions in order to boost their goals tally.

"Maybe Maxi has the secret - he can take training for shooting this morning!" he quipped in the Liverpool Echo.

Dalglish added: "Maxi is a very intelligent footballer. He knows how to play and he loves to play.

"He's not able to play in every game and we have to manage him as best we can. But when he does play he doesn't give you many bad performances. He's a real credit to himself and to his profession."

Liverpool's home draw with Rovers means they have now been held at Anfield in Premier League action on six occasions; no other side has drawn five.

Dalglish Urges Gerrard Caution

Kenny Dalglish will continue to ease Steven Gerrard back into action, with Liverpool wary of asking for too much, too soon from their skipper.

Gerrard made his eagerly-anticipated return from injury on Boxing Day as he stepped off the bench during a 1-1 draw with Blackburn.

A 21-minute outing in that Anfield stalemate was only his sixth appearance of the season, with an ankle infection having kept him sidelined for long periods.

It is hoped that he can put his injury troubles behind him and help the Reds' push for a top-four finish, but Dalglish insists he will not be rushing his captain back into a regular role.

"We will manage it as professionally as we did before," said the Scot.

"Steven was back to full fitness before he got a freak injury and that's why he had to recuperate again, but the two of them weren't related.

"He is back and looks even better than he did the last time he came back but we are not going to be irresponsible and throw him in and take a chance.

"We know he's fit and we know he just needs game time; in the same way as we monitored him through the last time and we'll do the same this time.

"It has been disappointing for us not to have him fit and available for selection.

"He has been frustrated but I think he feels the bad luck may be behind him and he deserves a bit of good fortune."

Dalglish will hope that Gerrard's return can help to galvanize Liverpool, with the Reds boss looking for his side to build on recent showings on home soil and turn Anfield into a fortress - starting with Friday's meeting with Newcastle.

"If you want to be really positive you could say we are undefeated at home but we've said before we don't want to set our standards that low," the Scot said.

"We want to be winning our home games as often as we possibly can and we've certainly given ourselves opportunities to have won every home game.

"We haven't done that but we will keep going and we believe we will do.

Liverpool Keen On Swansea City Youngster Joe Allen

Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish has his eye on young Swansea City midfielder Joe Allen and after a lengthy scouting assessment the Anfield manager is said to be considering making a move for the Welsh international.

The pint sized 21 year old has been in fine form this term and has managed to adapt well to life in the top tier and shown maturity beyond his years as he helps pulls the strings in the Swansea City midfield. The Carmarthen born youngster has become a pivotal member of Brendan Rogers’ side and he would be loathed to lose such a talented asset but may fear that Allen may be tempted by the thought of a high-profile move to Anfield.

Though Liverpool brought in a number of central midfield options in the summer, including Charlie Adam and Jordan Henderson, Messrs Dalglish and director of football Damien Comolli are plotting moves with the long term future of the club in mind and have been scouting youthful talents they feel have the potential to become part of a new generation of talent at the club.

Allen has already racked up over 100 appearances for the Swans and as well as being a part of the side that secured promotion from League One to the Championship the intelligent midfielder was a crucial member of the side that triumphed in the play-offs to make the leap into the Premier League.

Dalglish has scouted Joe Allen and believes the Welshman could be a very useful addition to his Liverpool squad and even though the Swansea City man is tied to a long term contract the Scot will look to make an offer for the central midfielder either in January or more likely next summer.

Kiev Star Linked To Liverpool

Dynamo Kiev forward Andriy Yarmolenko has emerged as the latest striker to be linked with a move to Liverpool.

Despite being linked with a host of players including Colombian striker Teo Gutierrez, Jan Klaas Huntelaar, Eden Hazard, Adam Johnson and Christian Eriksen, are reporting the Anfield giants have now switched their sights to Ukraine international Yarmolenko.

The 22-year-old has scored 40 goals in 119 appearances for Kiev, not to mention six goals in 17 games for the International side.

Yarmolenko can operate up front or on the winger meaning his versatility would appeal to Kenny Dalglish and is reportedly available for £10m.

Liverpool Linked With Porto Defender

Porto defender Jorge Fucile is being touted as a January signing for Liverpool as they look to improve their defence, according to The Daily Mail.

The 27 year old can operate at either fullback position and has been capped 34 times for Uruguay. Liverpool already has two Uruguayan players in their ranks with Luis Suarez and Sebastian Coates. Fucile may be interested in not only a move to the Premier League, but a move with his compatriots. Suarez and Coates have told the Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish that Fucile would be a great signing and the Reds are expected to press home their interest.

Liverpool’s defence is one of the best in the Premier League this season and Dalglish wants to keep up that formidable record. A signing of Fucile’s calibre could put Glen Johnson in the background at Anfield. The England international is often accused of being too attacking minded and Fucile’s defensive qualities may tip Dalglish to deploy him over Johnson.

Fucile’s Porto teammate Fernando has also been targeted by Dalglish in the central midfield. A season-ending injury to Lucas has left the Reds short in the anchor role and Fernando is highly rated across Europe. Dalglish could complete his January signing with the transfer of Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha, who tore apart Manchester United in the Carling Cup tie at Old Trafford.

Liverpool Consider Celtic Star As Lucas Replacement

Liverpool are reportedly contemplating a January move for Celtic midfielder Beram Kayal.

The Israel international has impressed all and sundry since his move to Parkhead from Maccabi Haifa in the summer of 2010, and has made 55 appearances for the Hoops.

According to the Daily Mail, Kayal is a target for Liverpool as Kenny Dalglish considers bolstering his midfield during the transfer window.

Injury to Lucas Leiva last month has prompted the Liverpool boss to identify potential replacements for the Brazil international, who is sidelined for the rest of the season.

Kayal, it would appear, is one of the names on the shortlist of Dalglish, while Fernando of Porto and Barcelona's Seydou Keita have also been linked with moves to Anfield.

Liverpool Told To Forget About Bent

Former Anfield star John Barnes says Aston Villa striker Darren Bent does not fit the bill for Liverpool, as the Reds consider goalscoring reinforcements in January.

The Merseysiders have scored only 18 times in as many Barclays Premier League fixtures this season and, with Luis Suarez set to begin an eight-game ban in the New Year, Kenny Dalglish has been tipped to bolster his attack.

Bent, meanwhile, has been linked with Liverpool in the past, but it would seem unlikely that Dalglish would attempt to bring the England international to Anfield next month.

Barnes certainly does not expect to see the 27-year-old sign for the Reds, and does not believe Bent is suited to the style of football Liverpool have adopted under Dalglish.

“It all depends on the way you actually play and you have to play to someone’s strengths,” Barnes told talkSPORT.

“I don’t know if he is the type of player that they want, he likes to be direct, play over the top, run on quickly.

"Liverpool doesn’t play that way and as good as Darren Bent is a good goal-scorer in the right team, I don’t know whether he’d fit at Liverpool.”

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Dalglish Wants Rewards

Kenny Dalglish believes Liverpool deserve to be in a better position in the Premier League but recognizes his squad must continue to do their talking on the pitch.

The Reds boss has for the first time since his return in January 2011 started to find himself the subject of criticism after six draws at Anfield so far this season.

Boxing Day's 1-1 result against a Blackburn club which is in disarray increased the pressure on Dalglish, who has always stood up for his squad by repeating they are still settling after a summer overhaul.

But had Liverpool taken the 12 points they have dropped at home, they would be hot on the heels of league leaders Manchester City and Manchester United.

Ahead of Friday's visit of Newcastle, Dalglish knows wins have to be earned, however, he also thinks his side have been short-changed after dominating games but scoring just 21 goals in 18 league games.

"We want to move on and everybody wants the reward for the fantastic play they have produced," he told a press conference.

"We need to improve the goals for column so we'll continue to pursue that goal and I'm sure next year they will be better for the experience they have had this year.

"I think we deserve to be higher up the table than we are but you've got to earn that right and not talk about it - but to be fair they have done a lot of talking on the pitch for us.

"As long as we are in there somewhere, continue to do the right things and give ourselves a chance (come the end of the season) then we'll be happy with that."

Liverpool will be without controversial star striker Luis Suarez against Newcastle after the Uruguayan was banned for one match and fined £20,000 following a Football Association improper conduct charge regarding his behaviour against Fulham on 5th December.

Dalglish Delivers Carroll Defence

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish has again defended Andy Carroll after accusing the media of targeting the most expensive British footballer in history.

Ahead of a reunion with former club Newcastle on Friday, the record-breaking £35million striker has endured a torrid 12 months in 2011 after moving to Anfield last January.

Carroll has struggled for fitness, has scored just five goals and has dropped out of England contention since joining Liverpool, while reports continue to surround his social life.

Dalglish was in September angered by Fabio Capello after the England boss suggested the misfiring 22-year-old needed to cut down on his drinking and late nights.

And the subject remains a sore spot for Liverpool's manager, who has now implied reports regarding Carroll's social life are fabricated.

"I think you yourselves have a bigger problem with Andy Carroll than anybody else," a prickly Dalglish told his pre-Newcastle press conference, which was broadcast on Sky Sports News.

"Every week there is questions. This time it is understandable, I suppose, because he is playing against Newcastle United, if he is to start.

"But I don't understand the rest of the stuff. I think somebody has got some imagination about the lifestyle that big Andy leads compared to the one that we know he leads.

"So, really, he is unfortunate that he attracts a bit of attention to himself from yourselves.

"But, for us, he has come here and gone about his work very well on and off the pitch and is adjusting to life at a new club with new philosophies and a new way of playing."

Former Newcastle boss Dalglish has come under some pressure after Liverpool were held to a sixth draw of the season at Anfield on Boxing Day following a 1-1 result against rock-bottom Blackburn.

Pardew - Carroll Will Be A Star

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew has backed Andy Carroll to eventually live up to his record-breaking price tag.

Pardew reluctantly sold the 22-year-old to the Reds, who host the Magpies on Friday evening, on the final day of the last January transfer window when owner Mike Ashley decided a bid of £35million was simply too good to refuse.

The transfer came as a huge blow to the manager, who had seen the Gateshead-born frontman take to Premier League football with a commendable relish under predecessor Chris Hughton and provide the spearhead for Newcastle on their return to the top flight.

Almost 12 months on, Carroll's lack of form and that of the man he replaced at Anfield, Chelsea's Fernando Torres, is the subject of an intense debate with the combined £85million which was paid for them looking ever more expensive.

However, Pardew, like Liverpool counterpart Kenny Dalglish, remains convinced Carroll will prove his worth sooner rather than later.

He said: "He hasn't really had a run in that Liverpool side and like all strikers, he probably needs a run.

"He's a great lad and a great player. I like Andy.

"It was disappointing to see him left out of the England squad the last time because I think he can be an England player and England's No.9.

"He is going through a period of transition at a new club, finding his feet and finding out that they play slightly differently to how we did here, but he will find his way."

One-match Ban For Suarez

Liverpool striker Luis Suarez has been handed a one-match suspension, fined £20,000 and warned as to his future conduct after admitting to an improper conduct charge for his behaviour at Fulham.

The club has also been fined £20,000 for failing to control their players in the same match.

Uruguay international Suarez was pictured apparently making a one-figured gesture towards Fulham's fans following Liverpool's1-0 defeat at Craven Cottage on 5th December.

The ruling, announced by the Football Association, comes at a sensitive time for the Reds, who have made clear their anger over an eight-game suspension handed to the striker for racially abusing Manchester United's Patrice Evra.

The FA confirmed Suarez's punishment on their official website on Wednesday.

A statement read: "Liverpool player Luis Suarez will begin a one-match suspension with immediate effect after he admitted an FA charge of improper conduct in relation to the same game.

"Suarez was also fined £20,000 and warned as to his future conduct following a gesture he made towards the Fulham fans at the end of the fixture."

The suspension means Suarez will be absent for the Reds' game at home to Newcastle on Friday.

Liverpool, whose players and manager, Kenny Dalglish, wore Suarez T-shirts in the warm-up of their match against Wigan, look certain to appeal the eight-game ban for the Evra incident once they have assessed the commission's detailed report.

Meanwhile, the club has been fined £20,000 and warned as to their future conduct for "failing to ensure their players conducted themselves in an orderly fashion" during the same match.

The encounter saw Reds midfielder Jay Spearing sent off, an incident that led to a handful of Liverpool players remonstrating with referee Kevin Friend.

Liverpool admitted the charge of failing to ensure their players conducted themselves in an orderly fashion but contested the financial penalty.

The FA added: "The club admitted the charge, which was in relation to the dismissal of Jay Spearing, but did not accept the standard £20,000 penalty for the offence. However, at an Independent Regulatory Commission hearing today [Wednesday 28 December] the fine was imposed."

Liverpool Rookie To Remain At Bury For Rest Of The Season

Liverpool rookie David Amoo will sign an extension to his loan deal at Bury this week and stay there for the rest of the season.

The youngster has impressed during his spell at Gigg Lane and has made nine appearances since joining back in September.

Bury manager Richie Barker asked Liverpool if Amoo could remain at the club for the rest of the season and they have agreed to let the 20-year-old winger stay where he is, with an announcement expected shortly.

Liverpool Target Says He Wants To Stay In Italy

Liverpool has been handed a transfer blow after long-time target Stevan Jovetic pledged his immediate future to Fiorentina.

The 22-year-old Montenegrin forward has been a key player for the Italian side this term after missing the whole of last season through injury.

Liverpool has monitored Jovetic in the past but he says he wants to stay in Italy.

He said: "I'm happy and I was convinced that I would return stronger than I was before. The fans love me here and I'm content."

Dalglish Urged To Make Argentine Bid

Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain would be an ideal January signing for Liverpool, according to former Anfield star John Barnes.

The Reds have been tipped to reinforce their goalscoring department during the transfer window, having found the net only 18 times in as many league outings so far this season.

Higuain would certainly provide Kenny Dalglish with a serious threat in front goal, with the Argentine forward having registered 18 strikes in 30 appearances for club and country this term.

The 24-year-old is, however, not a guaranteed starter for Real, and has been linked with a move away from the Santiago Bernabeu.

And Barnes believes Higuain would be the perfect acquisition to bolster a Liverpool strikeforce, which already includes the likes of Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll.

“Goal scoring has been the problem all year,” Barnes told talkSPORT.

“They’ve been creating enough chances but they really haven’t got an out and out goal scorer.

“Luis Suarez is a fantastic player, he scores goals, he comes short, he goes wide but what they are missing is a real penalty box player.

“They have to get a classic centre-forward, a number nine, who’s going to be a six-yard box player and they need to get one of really proven quality, someone like Gonzalo Higuain.

“He’s not playing at Real Madrid, if you get the ball in the box he can score, he can play outside the box and he’s the kind of player that Liverpool should be going for.”

Hansen Hails Transfer Policy

Alan Hansen believes Liverpool's transfer policy in the past year has helped them enjoy a much more fruitful 2011 and will see them kick on again next year.

Like everyone else with Reds connections Hansen has been delighted with the progress the club has made since Kenny Dalglish returned to manage the club in January.

Part of that success has been down to the players the club has been targeting in the transfer market.

"Critical to the improvement has been Liverpool's transfer policy which has seen several young players with huge potential brought in, predominantly from other Premier League club," said Hansen in LFC magazine this week.

"There is no way that we, or any other club for that matter, can compete with Manchester City as far as transfer fees go.

"That leaves Liverpool with a question to answer. Do you sign what's left of the bigger named established players, or do you try and build a new team around youth?

"Liverpool has done the latter and that policy of buying younger players will, I believe, ultimately reap rewards and dividends, hopefully sooner rather than later."

The Reds haven't just bought for the future though. Some players have made an immediate impact.

"Luis Suarez is a prime example of a player who has been an instant hit," continued the Scot.

"His performances, almost every single time he plays, have been sensational. He's got such quick feet that every time he gets the ball the anticipation levels amongst Liverpool fans rise. He's been fantastic to watch in 2011."

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Agger Urges Reds Belief

Danish defender Daniel Agger insists Liverpool must maintain belief if they are to solve their recent woes in front of goal.

The Reds were again left frustrated by a failure to take their chances in the 1-1 home draw against Blackburn Rovers on Boxing Day.

Rovers keeper Mark Bunn produced a number of top saves to deny the home team - particularly from Andy Carroll's late volley.

Kenny Dalglish's men have now drawn six of their nine Premier League matches at Anfield this season.

But centre-half Agger, who also saw a late header cleared off the line by teenage Blackburn defender Adam Henley, believes Liverpool will get their rewards if they continue to play in the same vein.

"When you don't take your chances, you don't win football games," he told the club's official website.

"Looking at the game against Blackburn, we still created chances so the confidence must still be there.

"It's a worry but what can you do? The only way to solve it is to create more chances.

"I really think for 80% or 90% of the time we are playing well. That's the strange thing as normally when you play well you get a bit more luck.

"But somehow we are missing that final touch. We need to find that. Normally when you try harder you get the luck and that's what we must keep doing."

Liverpool Enter The Race To Sign Prolific Dutch Striker

Liverpool are reportedly showing an interest in Holland international Klaas Jan Huntelaar just days after the prolific forward distanced himself from a move to Manchester United.

The striker had been linked with a possible move to Old Trafford in the January transfer window, but Huntelaar made it clear that he was unaware of any interest from the Premier League champions.

"I know nothing of alleged interest from Manchester United. I will not even speculate, I am concentrating fully on Schalke," revealed Huntelaar.

"I'll let any offers come to me quietly and will then see what happens. This is the attitude I’ve always had. My contract runs until the summer of 2013. If they [Schalke] want to talk, I'll gladly listen.”

Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish once again saw his side waste a number of opportunities on Boxing Day as the Reds were held to a 1-1 draw with struggling Blackburn Rovers.

With Luis Suarez facing an eight match ban and Andy Carroll yet to discover his best form for Liverpool, it seems the club could yet dip into the transfer market in January.

Huntelaar has scored 15 goals in 16 league appearances this season and seems to have rediscovered the form that saw him move from Ajax to Real Madrid back in 2009.

Reports have suggested that Schalke would demand as much as £15million for the 28-year-old who would certainly bring a superb record with him to the Premier League.

Huntelaar was prolific during his days in Holland and despite a difficult time in Spain and Italy, is once again back to his clinical best.

Ibrahimovic Could Derail Liverpool Bid For Barca Star

Liverpool's efforts to sign Barcelona midfielder Seydou Keita could be derailed by AC Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

The Swedish forward is trying to convince the Mali international - recently named his nation's best sportsman of 2011 - to snub a move to Anfield and the Premier League in favour of a move to his Serie A side.

Spanish newspaper El Mundo Deportivo claims the two players are firm friends and have held multiple conversations about the 31-year-old's future.

Keita is looking to change clubs in January, or at the end of the season, as he looks for a fresh challenge and the opportunity to start more games.

Liverpool has been linked with the former Sevilla man since the summer and their interest could increase following the serious injury Lucas suffered, with Keita a like-for-like replacement.