Saturday, January 15, 2011

Emotional Kenny Tells Reds To Cool It

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish admits his Anfield return will be emotional but he has told his players to make sure they keep their tempers in check in Sunday's 215th Merseyside derby.

Dalglish will walk out of the Anfield tunnel as Reds boss for the first time in nearly 20 years and although the welcome he will receive will surpass anything afforded his predecessors he will have wanted to arrive in better circumstances. Dalglish is desperately in need of a win after two losses to start his latest era but that will not detract from the moment he walks under the famous Anfield sign to take his place on the bench.

"It will be emotive coming back down the steps," he said. "If the supporters are pleased to see me sitting there, they will not be as pleased as I am. It's all very well being romantic but the truth of the matter is we have got to start winning games. Me, the players, the staff, we are all responsible for trying to achieve that. It would cap off a fantastic day if we got a positive result. But Everton want a positive result, too, because they haven't exactly set the world alight this year either."

Dalglish will send out his team - without Scousers Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher through suspension and injury - at Anfield telling them to play the game and not the occasion. There have been 19 red cards in this fixture in the last 14 years and Dalglish is keen for his men not to add to that tally.

"The players here know the importance of the derby and sometimes the local lads get carried away and are too motivated and get a bit heated,'' Dalglish said. "Nowadays if you say 'Good morning' to someone you've got a chance of getting a red card. But you can't blame players for being passionate and committed - they've been highly criticized for not being passionate and committed.

"If there is a bit of understanding from the officials I'm sure it would ease things along a bit. You have to be intelligent - the fact it is a derby doesn't change the rules of the game, they are exactly the same. But you have to go and compete, just as you have in every other game. We want to see the players competing but within the rules of the game and if I have 11 players on the pitch we have a chance of winning.''

After defeats in Dalglish's opening two matches, and the team on a run of four losses in five domestic league and cup matches which have dropped them closer to the relegation zone, the significance of this derby is being hyped up. But the manager played down those suggestions.

"We're going out to win game. Where it takes us at this moment in time isn't particularly relevant,'' he added. "It's where you are at the end of the season when you add up the points that's the most relevant thing. A positive result for us gives everyone a lift. We just need a bit of confidence. The best way to do it is to start winning matches. The sooner we do that, the quicker the confidence will come.''

Fernando Torres Must Put In A Big Shift For His Team-Mates

In among the debris of Liverpool’s defeat at Blackpool there were one or two signs that Kenny Dalglish had already had a positive effect on Fernando Torres; the Spaniard’s goal for a start, when he finished forcefully after a good run.

But Dalglish and Liverpool need much more than that if the team’s fortunes are to turn around. They need Torres working hard in the right areas. They need him to be strong when the ball is played up and to constantly make runs off the back of defenders.

Not only that, they need him to do it on Sunday in the Merseyside derby, otherwise Everton could end up rubbing more salt in the wounds.

But if anybody can breathe new life into Torres, it is surely ‘King Kenny’.

As one of the cleverest strikers to ever grace this game, Dalglish can offer all sorts of tips. The first one must be to work hard, to put in the miles so that your team-mates, for one thing, can find you with a pass. Significantly, this has not always happened.

Back in October at Goodison Park, for example, Jamie Carragher had a right go at Torres when he did not get across to make himself available. Carragher got closed down because he did not have an option and, typically, was not slow to tell the forward where he went wrong.

Liverpool Tipped To Make Sensational Double Dutch Swoop

Liverpool are reportedly in line to launch a double bid for Ajax duo Luis Suarez and Urby Emanuelson.

According to The Telegraph, the Reds have been monitoring both players and now it would appear they could be set to launch a €31 million swoop on the Dutch giants.

Liverpool have consistently been linked with a move for Suarez in recent weeks in their pursuit of more potent goalscoring options.

Earlier this week an Ajax source told that Liverpool have been in contact regarding a move for the €23 million Uruguayan striker and - although they have yet to lodge a formal offer - a concrete bid is expected to come imminently.

But Liverpool is expected to have to fight of Spurs for Suarez's signature and the 23-year-old would supposedly favour a move to London.

The source told “Suarez would prefer Tottenham at the moment because he is a family-orientated man with a very young child and he likes the idea of living in London.”

Conversely, €8 million-rated Emanuelson has hardly found himself at the centre of Liverpool speculation during the transfer window, but has reportedly been targeted as a potential replacement for Paul Konchesky.

The Holland international can also play in a more advanced role and would prove a versatile option for Kenny Dalglish in his quest to turn around Liverpool's season.

According to The Mirror, the new Liverpool boss will ask to be backed in the transfer market during a meeting with owners New England Sports Ventures this week and hopes to bring in a midfielder to partner Anfield hero Steven Gerrard.

Liverpool Line Up Shock Move For £15m New Gerrard Partner

Liverpool are reportedly monitoring West Ham star Scott Parker.

The 30-year-old has been in sensational form again for the Hammers this season and has consistently been linked with a move away from Upton Park.

Parker has stated that he has no desire to leave West Ham, but it comes as no surprise that he is wanted by a number of clubs - including Tottenham - and The Guardian now reports Liverpool are interested in his signature.

However, Liverpool is expected to have to spend big to bring the former Chelsea midfielder to Anfield, after Spurs were told that they would have to pay £15 million for his services.

“I like Scott Parker but for about £15million and at 30 years old he is not a Tottenham buy," said Spurs boss Harry Redknapp.

“Daniel [Levy] wouldn’t buy a player of that age. It’s a lot of money and big wages.”

But, according to The Mirror, Kenny Dalglish will ask to be backed in the transfer market during a meeting with owners New England Sports Ventures this week and hopes to bring in a midfielder to partner Anfield hero Steven Gerrard.

The new Liverpool boss is thought to have identified Parker as the man to play alongside Gerrard, but whether the Anfield club will launch a bid remains to be seen.

Parker would certainly provide a competent foil for the Liverpool skipper, allowing him greater freedom and the chance to link up with Fernando Torres.

The acquisition of a new striker to play with Torres is also a priority for Liverpool, and they have been linked with moves for Ajax captain Luis Suarez and Roma hotshot Mirko Vucinic.

And, despite Dalglish said to have drawn up a shortlist of potential candidates, he has stated that he will allow Liverpool director of football strategy Damien Comolli to look after transfer dealings.

"There is so much demand on a manager's time that it is important to have someone actively organising people, going to see either teams for reports on matches or individual players," said the Liverpool legend.

"I think it is a fantastic help and I don't have a problem with Damien."

Roma Would Consider Selling Mirko Vucinic To Liverpool

Mirko Vucinic is no longer untouchable, as Roma would sell him to Liverpool if budgetary constraints forced a need for immediate cash flow.

Il Corriere dello Sport reports the Italians have never generated much favour for selling the 27-year-old Montenegrin ace, but firm interest from Liverpool, and a need for cash could change their position.

It's no secret the Reds are keen on Vucinic and they see him as an ideal frontman to play off Fernando Torres.

For now Vucinic is seen as stable in the capital, but with Roma's future unknown and linked to a sale from club creditors Unicredit, player exits may be needed in future.

Dalglish Targets Sunderland Skipper To Transform Liverpool's Season

Liverpool is reportedly plotting a shock January move for Sunderland captain Lee Cattermole.

According to the Mirror, the Reds will 'check the situation' of the 22-year-old in their pursuit of midfield reinforcements during the transfer window.

Kenny Dalglish will ask to be backed in the transfer market during a meeting with owners New England Sports Ventures (NESV) this week and hopes to bring in a midfielder to partner Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard.

The new Liverpool boss is thought to be keen to add a tough tackling enforcer to the middle of the park and, having gained a reputation as somewhat of a red card specialist, Cattermole would certainly provide that.

A move for Cattermole would appear to be more likely than one for reported target Scott Parker as the former is yet to peak in his career and would have plenty of room to develop at Liverpool.

This criteria was outlined as something of importance by NESV after their acquisition of Liverpool and Damien Comolli has been tasked with identifying potential investments.

The Liverpool director of football strategy is known to be scouting a number of young transfer candidates, with Southampton starlet Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Belgian sensation Eden Hazard both linked with moves to Anfield.

Dalglish Warns Ryan Babel He Could Be Punished By Liverpool

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish has warned his players about their responsibilities when going on social networking sites like Twitter, and admitted that the club may take action against Ryan Babel for his outburst at referee Howard Webb.

Babel caused controversy after posting a picture of Webb bedecked in a Manchester United shirt following the club's FA Cup defeat to the Red Devils and Tweeted: "And they call him one of the best referees? That's a joke. SMH [shaking my head]."

Since then, Babel has accepted an improper conduct charge from the FA, and Dalglish admits the Dutchman could now be sanctioned by the Anfield club too.

"Ryan has to be responsible. If you are going to be on Twitter you have to be responsible," said the Reds boss, according to the Press Association.

"You know the repercussions if you say or do something which is contentious.

"He never drew it [the picture] up, he just forwarded it on.

"I think it was a bit tongue-in-cheek, it wasn't his creation and he has apologized unreservedly to the referee.

"The club will take some action I would have thought and then that should be it for me."

Kenny Happy With Comolli 'Help'

Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish has backed director of football strategy Damien Comolli and labelled the Frenchman a "fantastic help".

Principal owner John Henry flies in for this weekend's 215th Merseyside derby with a number of issues to address.

He will meet Dalglish for the first time in his official capacity as manager for a second spell after taking over from Roy Hodgson less than a week ago.

Director of football strategy Comolli will be party to some discussions as he and the 59-year-old Scot try to plot a path forward after a disappointing six months.

Comolli will be a key component as he has been in the post since November working on transfer policy and a long-term blueprint.

And despite Dalglish's extensive knowledge of football at many levels, even having been out of management for more than a decade, he is happy to defer to the Frenchman on such matters as he is concentrating on getting things right with the current squad.

"Forget transfers and talk about the position Damien has," said Dalglish.

"There is so much demand on a manager's time that it is important to have someone actively organising people, going to see other teams for reports on matches or individual players.

"Having conversations daily with people in the game and seeing what the movement of players are and then reporting back to the manager so the two of them can make a decision.

"I think it is a fantastic help and I don't have a problem with Damien."

A second successive defeat, at Blackpool in midweek, has made Dalglish's first home game on Sunday against Liverpool's near-neighbours even more significant.

There were few positives to take from the performance at Bloomfield Road but what is encouraging is the effect the manager appears to have already had on Fernando Torres.

The striker has struggled for goals this season but the way in which he took his third-minute strike against the Seasiders was like the Torres of old, racing onto Martin Kelly's through-ball to emphatically fire home from a tight angle.

In that moment the Spain international showed more confidence and intent than he has at any other time this campaign.

That, and a second successive good display from Kelly and a decent performance from Christian Poulsen on his first league appearance for nearly two months, gave something for Dalglish to focus on.

"It was a great goal from Fernando and he was a real positive," said the Scot.

"As was Kelly at right-back and Daniel Agger at centre-back, who felt unwell before the game, but went right through it.

"And Christian Poulsen did well in the middle, passing and moving."

Dalglish now has to get more of his players performing closer to their best as they host Everton on Sunday.

The former Reds player knows the significance of the game, having quit as manager first time around nearly 20 years ago following a 4-4 draw in the FA Cup at Goodison Park after the emotional strain of the 1989 Hillsborough disaster finally took its toll.
"The derby is always a great occasion," said Dalglish.

"Every city which has a derby thinks they have the best one of the lot but ours taking some beating."

Reds Sign Ex-Gunners Starlet

Liverpool have today confirmed that teenager Jason Banton has joined the Academy until the end of the season.

The former Arsenal and Blackburn winger was on trial at the club and was an unused substitute in the Reserves' 2-1 success over Sunderland earlier this week.

Academy director Frank McParland told "Jason has been training with us here at the Academy for the past three to four weeks.

"He's a talented winger who we feel can be a very good player for us.

"It didn't work out for him at Blackburn so we have stepped in and have signed him at least until the end of the season. It's up to him now to show that he has what it takes to wear the red shirt."

Banton, 18, played in the same youth team as Arsenal starlet Jack Wilshere.