Wednesday, January 19, 2011

King Kenny Has Already Brought Renewed Vigour And Enthusiasm At Anfield

Glasgow Rangers mad Kenneth Mathieson Dalglish from Dalmarnock, was signed as a youngster by Celtic after his boyhood club Rangers failed to spot his immeasurable talent.

Dalglish took time to develop his natural on field role, manning the nets as a pupil at Milton Bank, and at right half for Scotland schoolboys. It was the eagle eyed Jock Stein that saw potential in the mercurial teenager and dispatched his Lieutenant Sean Fallon to try persuade sixteen year old Dalglish’s Protestant parents to allow him to represent the Catholic Bhoys.

Fallon’s charms snared Mr. & Mrs. Dalglish and wee Kenny from was duly snapped up by the Scottish giants, joining a conveyor belt with the likes of McGrain and Macari.

At Parkhead, Dalglish found himself amongst a pantheon of stars. Earning a small wage as an apprentice joiner, he was farmed out to develop his precocious talent at Cumbernauld United, the Celtic nursery team. Dalglish progressed onto the reserves and debuted at Douglas Park against Hamilton Accies in 1968. Breaking into a team that had been crowned Briatin’s first European cup winners in 1967 was no easy feat and it would be a further three years before Dalglish received his first team break in a benefit game against one of Scotland’s oldest clubs.

This game introduced Dalglish to the world of football and immediately thrust the lad from the Govan Docklands into the realms of football royalty. Dalglish was hypnotizing, netting six in a 7-2 routing of Killie.

Dalglish’s first competitive goal came soon after – a spot kick against his beloved Rangers, and the first of 23 for that campaign. He beat that the following season by netting an entrancing 41. With 269 appearances, 167 goals, five Championships, four Scottish Cups, a League Cup-winners medal, and the club captaincy Dalglish needed a fresh challenge.

And so he crossed South of the border over Hadrian’s wall in a record fee to Liverpool. Not to add too much pressure, Dalglish was immediately handed the number 7 shirt worn by his famous predecessor – Hamburg bound Kevin Keegan.

It is at Liverpool that Dalglish cemented his legend, kick-started by a debut goal against the Boro and another against Newcastle.

Given full poetic license at Anfield, he was the perfect foil and supplier to the predatory Ian Rush – Liverpool’s record goal scorer. The spellbinding pair proved that it wasn’t necessary to play a little and large combination, to have a cavalier attack that scored bucket loads of goals on route to winning every major footballing honour in Europe.

The new Liverpool number seven immediately showed Anfield his worth by scoring on his league debut against Middlesbrough and on his home debut against Newcastle United.

Keegan’s Hamburg were on the menu for the Super Cup and the Red Warrior Poet orchestrated a 6-0 thrashing of the German giants. It was a hugely memorable season which culminated in a Red European Cup Final win. Dalglish dinked the winner against Belgian champions Bruges, securing an historic 1-0 victory at Wembley – one of his three European Cup wins.

After the tragedy of Heysel and losing the 1985 European Cup final to Juventus through a Platini penalty, Dalgish succeeded Joe Fagan in the Anfield hotseat. As player manager he secured Liverpool’s first domestic double, and narrowly missed out on a second in 1988 – Wimbledon’s Lawrie Sanchez nodding past Grobbelaar and Dave Beasant saving the first Wembley penalty for one of the greatest FA Cup upsets. Under Dalglish’s tutelage, a Liverpool team boasting Barnes, Beardsley, Houghton, Aldridge and Rush secured a further two championships as well as an FA Cup in 1989.

The toll of managing Britain’s premier club, along with the stress of experiencing the Hillsbrough tragedy (Ibrox disaster in 1971 & Heysel in 1985) haunted Dalglish, and in 1991 he resigned with Liverpool sitting pretty at the top of the table.

Dalglish returned to Blackburn eight months later and secured the Premier League for Jack Walker’s team. In 1997, he again stepped into the void left by Kevin Keegan, taking the helm at St James Park. He guided the Magpies to the 1998 FA Cup Final, losing 2-0 to Arsene Wenger’s high charged Gunners at Wembley.

A year later King Kenny returned to Parkhead as Director of football, recruiting John Barnes as manager, a move which did not work out.

Dalglish is a global face and one of the greatest players to have stepped onto a British field. The caretaker manager’s appointment of Steve Clarke was very shrewd and it will be interesting to see Dalglish lock horns with Fergie, Wenger, Mancini, and Redknapp.

Dalglish was the obvious choice – one that has renewed vigour and enthusiasm. Anfield is buzzing again. Liverpool may not have Man

City’s spending power, but Dalglish’s football nous coupled with the right boardroom backing can at least achieve Red respectability.

Dalglish’s return to the Liverpool hot seat after 12 years away from frontline football has ignited a dimming spark amongst Liverpool fans. It may prove to be just the catalyst needed to revive this great sleeping giant.

Liverpool Make Alvaro Negredo Back-Up Option If Bid For Luis Suarez Fails

Sevilla striker Alvaro Negredo has emerged as a back-up option for Liverpool if their move for £20 million-rated Luis Suarez fails to materialize, according to The Times.

The Reds are in the hunt for a new striker this January, with David Ngog and Dirk Kuyt their only first-team options to partner Fernando Torres in attack.

Ajax’s high valuation for Suarez has forced the club to consider other avenues, and Negredo’s form for Sevilla this season has led to director of football strategy Damien Comolli making a firm enquiry about his availability.

Kenny Dalglish and Comolli are said to have now switched their attentions to the Spaniard as his transfer fee would be more realistic for the club’s finances.

Liverpool Facing Battle To Land 'Next Ronaldo'

Liverpool is facing stiff competition from Chelsea in the race to sign Chilean international Alexis Sanchez.

The Udinese star has been monitored by a string of top European clubs in recent seasons, with Liverpool one of those keen to bring the player to the Barclays Premier League.

Former Reds boss Rafael Benitez was keen to bring the player to Anfield as recently as May, and his Liverpool replacement Roy Hodgson was also thought be interested in bringing the player to Merseyside before his recent departure.

Real Madrid, Lyon and Manchester United are also thought to be interested in signing the player, but Chelsea now appear to be leading the race for the 22-year-old, according to the Metro.

Udinese owner Giampaolo Pozzo has revealed that the Blues are in talks with the club over a move for the player, who has previously been dubbed 'the new Ronaldo'.

"With Chelsea we talked about €30million. I want this figure, if not more. It is useless to talk about something we do not want to do because we cannot remove someone from the team when we're halfway through a season," Pozzo told Sky Italia.

Sanchez has the ability to play on either flank, and the former River Plate loanee shot to prominence after braking into the Chilean national team as a teenager.

It's unknown if new Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish has taken an interest in the player, but the Merseysiders are keen to add attacking flair to their outfit in the current transfer window.

New owners NESV have pledged a transfer war chest in the region of £35 million, money which Liverpool could invest in a playmaker like Sanchez should director of football Damien Comolli give the nod over a move for the player.

Competition would be fierce to take the player from the zebrette should Liverpool decide to make their move, but others are likely to join should the interest become more fierce.

Ajax Tell Liverpool: 'Only Obscene Offer Will Get You Suarez'

Liverpool have been told that only an 'obscene' offer will be enough to land Luis Suarez from Ajax - with Anderlecht's Romelu Lukaku now seen as the club's primary target.

Reports that Ryan Babel would return to Ajax as part of a deal for Suarez appear to be premature, with Bundesliga club Hoffenheim ready to make a £7m offer for the forward.

That would leave Liverpool needing to find extra cash to bid for Suarez as insiders at Ajax believe Babel would have been used as part of a player-plus-clash deal.

And sources in Amsterdam have told talkSPORT that while Babel remains an attractive option, a deal to bring him to the club remains far off.

"Babel would be an interesting project but nothing is done. There might be news later this week," our Ajax source said.

"We want to keep Luis and only obscene offers would be enough."

Uruguay international Suarez is seen as the perfect partner for Fernando Torres in the Liverpool attack and while there appears to be interest from Anfield, Ajax are so far holding firm.

Suarez scored 49 goals in 48 appearances for Ajax last season and it is believed he would prefer to stay for one last season in Holland before leaving in the summer.

Babel Prefers Ajax Over Hoffenheim

Ryan Babel looks poised to leave Liverpool in his fourth season at Anfield, but his agent has revealed that he will only join Hoffenheim if a move to Ajax fails to materialize.

Babel, who has scored 22 goals in 146 appearances, is negotiating personal terms with the German club after they agreed a fee, believed to be €7 million, with Liverpool. However agent Winnie Haatrecht says the move will only happen if the forward is unable secure a return to former club Ajax.

''Hoffenheim will only be an option if Ryan isn't allowed to go on loan to Ajax or they do not want him,'' he said.

The player himself spoke on Tuesday of his hope for a loan move back to Holland - and stated that deal could form part of Ajax striker Luis Suarez's potential transfer to Liverpool.

Liverpool are reported to be interested in Uruguay striker Suarez, who scored three times at the 2010 World Cup before his infamous sending-off for a goal-line handball in the quarter final against Ghana, but no offer has been made.

Ince Set For Liverpool Talks

Notts County boss Paul Ince will seek talks with Liverpool about re-signing his son and Stephen Darby on loan.

Thomas Ince spent an impressive two months at the League One club this season and scored twice in eight appearances. Defender Darby was on loan at Meadow Lane for the same period, also turning out eight times.

Liverpool was unwilling to let Ince rejoin the Magpies unless he signs a new contract. He is refusing to agree so the clubs are in stalemate.

"The situation is the same with Thomas. He's not going to sign a contract," Paul Ince told the Nottingham Evening Post. "It might change under Kenny (Dalglish) because he might put him into their first-team squad. If he doesn't do that, I will be going in to see him.

"He's only young, he wants to play here because he enjoyed it and he wants to forward his education."

On Darby, Ince senior added: "We're trying to bring him back too because he did well."

Joe Cole Rules Out Loan Move Back To Boyhood Club West Ham

Liverpool's out of favour midfielder Joe Cole will remain at Anfield despite links with a loan move to former club West Ham, UK can reveal.

Cole has struggled to find form following his free transfer from Chelsea in the summer and is yet to feature under new Reds boss Kenny Dalglish.

The Hammers board have backed manager Avram Grant after Martin O'Neill rejected the chance to take the manager's job at Upton Park.

But Cole will not be rejoining the east London club in the current transfer window.

"He’s not going back to West Ham, there’s no chance of that happening. Certainly not now," a source close to the player told UK.

"Joe’s not heard anything from Avram, or anyone else at West Ham for that matter. He’s focused on the job at Liverpool."

Former Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson lured Cole north with an £80,000-a-week deal and virtually guaranteed him regular first-team football.

However, Cole has, like many Liverpool players this season, failed to shine and must take his share of blame with the club sitting just four points above the relegation zone.

Cole has scored just one goal in 11 league appearances, the winner against Bolton in Hodgson’s penultimate game in charge.

Martin Kelly Relishing Being Thrown In At The Deep End

Martin Kelly is enjoying the steep ‘learning curve’ of his rapid rise to Liverpool’s first team under Kenny Dalglish.

The 20-year-old has been the Scot’s choice at right-back in his three games in charge of the club.

And the Whiston-born defender is relishing the challenge of being thrown in at the Premiership deep end.

Kelly said: “I'm made up with my own form.

“Hopefully I'll keep training well and get a chance to play.

“It's the first time I've played three games in a week.

“It's pretty tough on you mentally as well as physically, but it’s all a learning curve.

“In the Premier League, Europa League and Champions League you need to play three times a week, so it's really good to do that.”

Kelly, who came through the ranks primarily as a central defender, is impressively managing to ward off competition from England’s number one right back.

Glen Johnson was played as a left back for the recent games at Blackpool and in the 125th Merseyside derby on Sunday.

Kelly believes the impact of new boss Dalglish is already having a marked effect on the Liverpool squad.

He said: “The team is coming together a lot more.

“We are all enjoying training and there have been some feisty challenges.

“It's good to have that in training.

“I think we are all working together as a team.

“He (Dalglish) has put points in place how he wants us to play.”

Kelly was largely selected for Europa League games under previous manager Roy Hodgson and made just two league starts when the 63-year-old was at the helm.

But already, he has won praise from Dalglish for his performances against Manchester United at Old Trafford and Blackpool at Bloomfield Road where his pass set up Fernando Torres for the Reds’ opener.

The England U-21 international stressed the competitiveness of this year’s Premiership and called for unity to turn Liverpool’s results around.

He added: “The things we are doing in training are starting to come together on the pitch.

“It will only be a matter of time now before we start getting the results as well as the performances.

“We were fighting and the equalizer came. We could have gone on to get a winner but it wasn't meant to be.

“We've just got to look forward to the next game now.

“The Premier League is a lot closer this season. We have got to stick together as a team.”

Reds Begin Defence Of Cup

Liverpool Reserves boss John McMahon is hoping his young side can mount a successful defence of the Lancashire Senior Cup when they take on Manchester City tonight at Hyde United in the quarter-final.

Confidence in the camp is high after last week's 2-1 win over Sunderland at the Academy and the likes of Daniel Pacheco and Suso could be involved in the squad.

Last season's final was brought forward to the start of this campaign when McMahon's side produced an impressive performance to beat Oldham Athletic's first team 3-0.

With the weather at the end of 2010 causing havoc to the fixture list last week's game with the Black Cats was the second string's first game since November 23.

"Manchester City will be a good test for us and we need games now so we are looking forward to it," McMahon told

"The performance against Oldham's first team at the start of the season was very pleasing. We did really well and the young lads produced a great performance.

"The Lancashire Cup and Liverpool Senior Cup are important for us because it gives us extra games against good opposition which the young lads need."