Friday, January 14, 2011

Kenny Dalglish Targets Four January Buys In Crucial Transfer Window

Kenny Dalglish will ask Liverpool's principal owner, John W Henry, to provide the funds for as many as four January signings in an attempt to rectify the club's desperately disappointing campaign when the pair meet in the next 48 hours.

Though the Scot has offered his squad staunch support in public since he replaced Roy Hodgson at Anfield – insisting after Wednesday's 2-1 defeat at Blackpool that the players already at his disposal "look good enough" to move Liverpool away from the relegation zone – he is convinced he must use the transfer window to bolster his resources if he is to have any chance of salvaging the season.

Henry arrived on Merseyside on Thursday to begin a 10-day visit and will doubtless seek talks with his caretaker manager as a matter of urgency. The American can expect the 59 year-old to request that Fenway Sports Group, the club's parent company, makes substantial funds available this month, despite the uncertainty over his position and Liverpool's repeated insistence that January is a "difficult" time to buy.

Dalglish – together with Damien Comolli, the club's director of football strategy – is thought to harbour hopes that as many as four senior reinforcements could be drafted in, with a left-back, a wide player and a striker top of his agenda.

Luis Suarez, the Ajax striker, has emerged as the most likely target for the last of these positions, with the player's club minded to sell him – providing they receive an offer in excess of £18 million. Sources in Holland have confirmed that a bid from Liverpool, who has watched the player intensely over the last few months, is anticipated.

As well as Suarez, the Ajax left-back Urby Emanuelson is believed to be a target, while Lille duo Gervinho and Eden Hazard – both of whom can play either as an orthodox striker or in a wide position – have attracted Liverpool's attention. Moves for Yann M'Vila and Sylvain Marveaux, both of Rennes, are expected to wait until the summer.

Ashley Young, of Aston Villa, and Charles N'Zogbia, the Wigan winger, have also been discussed, though it is feared the former's asking price may prove prohibitive, while the DW Stadium club have received no offers for the latter. Hamburg's Eljero Elia and Anderlecht's Romelu Lukaku are also under consideration.

Dalglish's determination to sign a left-back to replace Paul Konchesky may also lead to a return to Anfield for Stephen Warnock, with the club believed to be considering a loan offer with a view to a permanent move in the summer.

What the Scot will seek to learn from Henry, though, is what level of funding is likely to be available, as he admitted on Thursday. "I can always make a request [for money], but it might not always be accepted," said Dalglish. "I have never broached the subject of money being available with the owners. If there is a possibility of someone coming in then we will cross that bridge when we come to it."

FSG has made it clear it will not set a hard and fast transfer budget, preferring to judge each case on its own merit, but with just 17 days of the window remaining, the club cannot afford to waste time. It also remains uncertain as to what extent Dalglish must trim his squad before he seeks additional recruits. FSG is unimpressed with Liverpool's already bloated wage bill and is unlikely to permit its exponential growth simply for short-term gain.

Saleable assets, though, are in short supply at Anfield. Konchesky cannot be sold without dispensation from Fifa as he has already played for two clubs this season, while the wages earned by the likes of Christian Poulsen, Ryan Babel and Milan Jovanovic will make them hard to move on.

Even more pressingly, Dalglish's side, who has been defeated in both of his games in charge, must overcome the small matter of a Merseyside derby. Though Everton would be forgiven for travelling to Anfield in confident mood, Tim Cahill admits "that disharmony can bring you together".

The Australian – who in on international duty at the Asian Cup and will not be playing – is one man Dalglish perhaps should not cite to Henry as he looks for funds to bolster his squad. To Cahill, hard cash is not nearly as effective as heart, particularly amid the heat of a derby.

"In games like this you have to make sure you give everything," said the midfielder, speaking to promote the Tim Cahill Everton Experience, a fund-raising initiative to help the victims of the Queensland floods.

"It's down to your work ethic and spirit. We all know what a great spirit we have at Everton. Over the last six or seven years, at the worst times, when it's not going your way, that spirit is what has brought us through."

Anfield Side Come Up With A Good Way To Kill Two Birds With One Stone.

Damien Comolli is apparently very keen on Liverpool snapping up Dutch winger Eljero Elia and the idea of offering Hamburg some cash as well as the seemingly unneeded wide man Ryan Babel is a clever one and it could well be the type of deal the Bundesliga side accepts.

24 year old former Ajax attacker Babel has spent the past three and a half seasons at the Merseyside club trying to convince Rafa Benitez, Roy Hodgson and now Kenny Dalglish that he has what it takes but it seems that his consistently inconsistent displays have left him with no future at the club and perhaps a move to Germany would help reignite a career that is danger of becoming more well known for Ryan’s Twitter Tweets than his questionable ability.

Elia is a similar style of player to Babel but it appears that during his season and a half with Hamburg he has shown a great deal of promise and now that his club have effectively placed a price on his head it would appear that Eljero is very much there for the taking.

Director of Football Comolli and new boss Dalglish will now be looking at how they can attempt to steer the troubled Liverpool shop away from danger and there are a number of passengers they can afford to lose and regardless of the occasionally effective cameo appearance, which actually seems a thing of the past, Babel is eminently losable.

Pavel Pogrebnyak Linked With Summer Switch To Anfield

Liverpool striker target Pavel Pogrebnyak could make a summer move to the Barclays Premier League.

The Russian international has been linked with a number of clubs in recent months, with former Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson thought to be one of the interested parties.

New Reds chief Kenny Dalglish is expected to continue the Anfield outfit's interest in the player, although Liverpool are now unlikely to secure a switch this month.

"He will stay here until the end of the season. In summer we will make a decision," player agent Oleg Artemov told the Daily Mail.

"A number of Premier League sides are interested in him. We've received a lot of offers."

Spurs, Everton and Blackburn are also reportedly keen on the player, who has returned to the Stuttgart starting line-up for a Bundesliga relegation battle following the arrival of a new manager.

The former Zenit St. Petersburg player was thought to be considering an exit under the old regime at the German outfit, but the arrival of Bruno Labbadia has led to the striker having a change of heart.

Liverpool are thought to see the 27-year-old attacker as an ideal foil for Fernando Torres, with the player able to take some of the goalscoring and all-round pressure off the club's Spanish star.

New owners NESV have promised the Merseysiders money to spend, and the player's value is not an issue for Liverpool should they wish to move for the player.

Availability is likely to be a key issue for Liverpool, but they could turn to Pogrebnyak if they fail to land a striker in the remaining weeks of the window.

Liverpool Handed Boost In Pursuit Of Sweden Playmaker

Reported Liverpool target Sebastian Larsson has failed to reach an agreement over a move to Newcastle.

The Birmingham midfielder had been widely expected to move to St James' Park during the transfer window, but Blues boss Alex McLeish has revealed a deal is unlikely to happen.

McLeish said: "Newcastle made a bid but I don't think Seb could agree terms so he is still a Birmingham player."

This apparent rejection from the Sweden international will serve as a boost to his other suitors one of whom - according to tribalfootball - is Liverpool.

Liverpool is known to be in the market for attacking reinforcements this month in order to transform their season. The Anfield club is just five points about bottom side West Ham and is in desperate need of more potent goalscoring threats.

Aston Villa winger is Ashley Young is reportedly on the Liverpool radar, as is Manchester City's Shaun Wright-Phillips as speculation mounts that the Reds will spend big in the transfer window.

However, Liverpool director of football strategy Damien Comolli has moved to calm rumours that their will be plenty of new recruits moving to Anfield.

"I will stick to what I said from the beginning: if [Liverpool boss] Kenny Dalglish is not happy with a player we think could make the team better then it's always down to the manager. That hasn't changed," Comolli said at a Liverpool press conference unveiling Dalglish.

"We didn't even have chance to talk about the transfer window yet. We have been working on it with Roy [Hodgson] and the owners but I need to update Kenny on what's going on.

"Will there be some activity? I don't know. I still don't know. It's a very complicated market in January."

Liverpool And Spurs Withdraw Ricky van Wolfswinkel Bids

Ricky van Wolfswinkel's proposed move to Liverpool or Spurs appears to have fallen through after it was revealed he needs surgery to repair a damaged collarbone.

Both English clubs are thought to have been tracking the Dutch playmaker with a view to making a bid for his services this month.

However, any move has been scuppered after he broke his collarbone in a Europa League game last month - coincidentally at Anfield.

He was initially expected to recover with basic physio treatment, but the fact he needs an operation and will not play again this season has put an end to any prospects.

'There have been calls and contacts, but not any concrete offers. Now that is in the past,' said Van Wolfswinkel's agent Louis Laros, who has not ruled out a move to either of the interesting parties in the summer.

'Ricky likes English soccer and Liverpool or Spurs would be very important options,' he added.

Van Wolfswinkel's injury could see Spurs turning their attentions to fellow Dutch league star Luis Suarez.

The Uruguayan international, who is also a reported target for Liverpool, has been made available by Ajax for the right price.

Liverpool Plot Summer Swoop For Inter Milan Ace

Liverpool are considering a summer swoop for Inter Milan star Victor Obinna, according to reports in Italy.

The Nigerian international is currently on loan at West Ham and has stated he would like to stay at Upton Park, but his head may be turned if there’s the possibility of a move to Anfield.

The 23-year-old has made just eight appearances for Inter Milan since joining them from Chievo, and the San Siro club is reportedly ready to sell for around £8million.

And that has alerted Liverpool’s newly appointed director of football Damien Comolli.

Obinna would fit the criteria of the club’s new American owners who are keen to recruit young players who would have a re-sale value.

Agger In Talks With Fiorentina

Liverpool defender Daniel Agger is reported to be negotiating terms with Fiorentina.

Agger, 26, warned recently that he would look to leave the club if he was not a first-team regular.

There appears little reason for the player to act on that threat - he has made four appearances already in January, starting both games since Kenny Dalglish took charge - but FIFA agent Bernardo Brovarone has claimed he is now discussing a move to Italy.

"The Viola have put forward a contract proposal to Agger, offering him €1.5 million, but he wants €2 million per season," he told Lady Radio. "Now we have to wait and see what Liverpool say about it."

Agger, who joined Liverpool from Brondby in 2006, has also been linked with Tottenham, Arsenal and Juventus.

Jay Ready For First Team Fight

Jay Spearing is looking to fight for a first team place following his return from a serious training ground injury.

The former Academy youngster has been out since December 19 after he cracked a small bone just above his ankle in his fibula during training at Melwood, and is hoping to play a role in Kenny Dalglish's squad as soon as possible.

Speaking to, Spearing said: "The injury was very frustrating really and it all happened on my own.

"I went to block a shot and my studs got stuck in the ground. I went over and then I heard a crack.

"Obviously we have to get on with these things, the timing of it wasn't the best for me but you just have to pick yourself up and get on with it.

"I feel a lot better now and I've got as game under my belt so I can start fighting for a game and show Kenny what I can do - hopefully at the weekend with the derby coming up."

The midfielder, who Sammy Lee called an infectious character to have around the training ground, captained the reserve side's 2-1 victory over Sunderland on Tuesday, which was his first game since picking up the injury.

"Obviously I need to get a few games before I can get back involved with the first team," he added.

"It was a good game. We started off very well and in the first half we played a lot of good football in and around their half. In the second half we seemed to tire a little bit but we kept our shape well and I think we fully deserved a win."

During the seven weeks that Spearing was out, Liverpool found a new manager in the shape of King Kenny Dalglish, and Spearing is very excited about the prospect of playing for such an illustrious figure and indeed his boyhood idol.

He added: "It's a clean slate for everyone, Kenny is our manager now and we have to listen and follow his decisions.

"Everyone has to try and get in his good books and impress.

"He's a massive influence and the stature that he has from his playing days and as a manager is huge. It gives the lads a lot of confidence and it's a big boost to the club all round.

"Kenny always has time for you and it's a great help especially for the local lads. We'll be working off his ideas."

Speaking on Spearing's return from injury, assistant manager Lee said: "He is a good player and it's no surprise to anybody here that he has been a regular member of our squad this season.

"It is great to have him back and he is chomping at the bit to play again."

Ryan Babel Admits Improper Conduct Charge

Liverpool forward Ryan Babel has admitted a charge of improper conduct in relation to him posting remarks about, and a picture of, referee Howard Webb on Twitter.

The Holland international has requested a personal hearing and that will take place next Monday, 17 January.

After Sunday's FA Cup exit at Manchester United, where Liverpool conceded a controversial first-minute penalty and had captain Steven Gerrard sent off, Babel posted a mocked-up picture of Webb wearing a United shirt.

He also wrote: "And they call him one of the best referees? That's a joke. SMH (shaking my head]."

Liverpool A Right Shower After Blackpool Loss

Liverpool’s miserable night at Blackpool ended with a cold shower!

The Reds trooped off the pitch following their shock defeat to discover the Bloomfield Road boiler had broken down.

So, after the indignity of being beaten by the Tangerines for a second time this season, they faced a freezing shower before heading home.

"That is the third time it has happened," said Blackpool boss Ian Holloway. "My lads were embarrassed and freezing again themselves. Cold showers!’’

Holloway vowed Manchester United can expect steamy scenes when they travel to the coast for their rearranged fixture on February 25, as he has persuaded chairman Karl Oyston to fork out for a new boiler that should be installed next week.

"We have managed to talk him into buying the right type of boiler now, that won’t break down," he said.

"He has told me that he will do, but he wouldn’t sanction it the other week.’’