Friday, January 21, 2011

Kenny: We’ll Play ‘Liverpool Way’

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish is keen for the club to rediscover the style of their glory days — as it is the only way he knows how to play football.

The success of the late 1970s and through the 1980s was built on the pass-and-move doctrines instigated by Bill Shankly and Bob Paisley.

Dalglish flourished as a player in those teams and tried to continue the legacy in his first spell as manager.

The game may have moved on since he was Reds boss nearly 20 years ago but, particularly in the last couple of years, Liverpool’s style became more structured and solid with less focus on attack and flair.

In the three matches Dalglish has been in charge since taking over from Roy Hodgson, there has been a noticeable move towards a more upbeat, positive approach.

It is a conscious decision by Dalglish to fill his players with the knowledge and expertise he learned when he wore the Reds’ famous number seven shirt. Asked if it was important to rediscover the attitude Shankly introduced at the club the 59-year-old Scot said: "Well, it has never gone for me.

"Pass and move isn’t old fashioned, it’s the Liverpool way.

"That’s the way I was brought up and I don’t think I could change. I think that’s the way the players would like to play as well.

"It’s great for the fans to watch and you can’t underestimate their role.

"Everyone has to play their role. We have to lift the fans. If the staff, the owners and everyone else sing from the same hymn sheet, which we are doing, then I’m sure we have happier days ahead of us.

"The sooner we start winning games the sooner we can look forward and upwards."

Dalglish has been given the job on an initial six-month basis after taking over from Hodgson but chairman Tom Werner said he is a contender to assume the role full-time.

"He has many of the qualities that we have articulated will be what we are looking for and he is going to be a candidate," said Werner.

Henry and Werner met with Dalglish yesterday and the subject of transfers understandably cropped up.

Those discussions were "positive" according to the Reds boss.

Liverpool Line Up €12m Strike Ace As Suarez Move Falters

Liverpool are reportedly set to turn their attentions to Lacina Traore - should they lose out on Luis Suarez.

Suarez's protracted move to Anfield has eked out for some time now and - according to The Telegraph - the Reds and Ajax are currently way apart in their valuation of the Uruguayan.

And, with Liverpool desperate for striking reinforcements in January, they could be forced to set their sights elsewhere in pursuit of more potent attacking options.

One of their reported targets is FC Cluj frontman Lacina Traore who, according to talkSPORT, could be available to Liverpool for €12 million.

Sportingo reports that Liverpool will have to fight of the advances of Fulham if they hope to sign the 6ft 8in striker who could prove to be an intriguing partner for Anfield hero Fernando Torres.

Although lacking the goalscoring prowess of Suarez, the 20-year-old Ivorian would work as a competent foil for Torres as Liverpool attempt to transform their season.

Despite the introduction as Kenny Dalglish as the new Liverpool boss, the Anfield club are still way off the pace in the Premier League and find their attacking department in desperate need of bolstering.

Damien Comolli Confirms Interest In Luis Suarez And Ashley Young

Liverpool Director Of Football Strategy Damien Comolli has dismissed suggestions that the English giants are in crisis this season, but confirmed the club are interested in signing Luis Suarez and Ashley Young.

The Reds are currently 13th in the Premier League table, having collected just 26 points from 22 matches, and are just four points above the relegation zone.

Hopes of European qualification are fading fast but Comolli believes that it's not the time to scream crisis at Anfield.

"There is no crisis," Comolli told Canal+Sport, according to France. "I see things from the inside, but I do not have that feeling there.

"Yes, there is a problem [of confidence] in the side and we saw that against Wolverhampton. From the moment we conceded a goal, there was not much effort to stage a comeback.

"[Fernando] Torres and [Steven] Gerrard are exactly at the same physical level as they were in the year in which they finished second [2008]."

The Frenchman also spoke about the prospective recruitment of Ajax striker Luis Suarez and Aston Villa attacker Ashley Young. However, Comolli insisted that Liverpool were not 'in dialogue with Ajax' over signing Suarez - suggesting that the interview may have been conducted earlier this month.

"We are looking primarily for an offensive player because the team is short on pace. As for Suarez, At the moment there is no dialogue with Ajax but he is one of the players we are interested in. Will he be available in January? It's another issue.

"As for Young, if he is available then he will be of interest for us. But I do not think that this is the case."

Dalglish Insists Cole Will Get His Chance

Kenny Dalglish has played down the significance of Joe Cole's appearance for Liverpool reserves, with the Anfield boss insisting the move was designed to improve the midfielder's fitness levels.

Cole's name appeared on the team sheet for a Lancashire Senior Cup tie on Wednesday, leading to speculation that Dalglish did not fancy the England international.

Cole has had a torrid first season at Liverpool and it appeared his fortunes had not improved following the appointment of Dalglish, but the Scot has insisted the former Chelsea man will get his chance.

"Some people look at reserve-team football for first-team players as a punishment," Dalglish said. "But this was a necessity for everybody. It wasn't a punishment. If it was a punishment, the players would've been told that.

"It is all very well training but you still need a runabout on the pitch. Joe Cole will get an opportunity."

Liverpool And Arsenal Linked With January Move For Daniel Opare

Liverpool and Arsenal are confirmed challengers in the race to sign Daniel Opare.

The Ghanaian international defender has been linked with a number of Barclays Premier League clubs in recent months, and the player's agent has confirmed interest from Liverpool, Arsenal and a number of top English sides.

Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish is thought to be in the market for a defender, and the Standard Liege 20-year-old is thought to be one of the players being monitored by the Anfield outfit.

Arsenal are also in the market for a defender, with Arsene Wenger admitting that the Gunners need to strengthen in the position due to an injury crisis taking hold of his Emirates side.

Manchester United, Spurs and Chelsea are also thought to be interested in the player, who joined Standard Liege in the summer from the Real Madrid Castilla side.

“Yes. He is a great player. He is a right defender and can play right-midfield," a representative of the player told

"They call him the 'flying Ghanaian'. He is a great player, he is playing well and in the future we will see."

Liverpool is thought to have money to spend following the arrival of NESV as the club's new owners at the end of the summer.

Dalglish is thought to have targeted an attacking foil for Fernando Torres as the priority at Anfield, but the Liverpool manager is keen to strengthen in a number of core positions and Opare could provide the answers in defence.

Arsenal boss Wenger is also thought to have money to spend following the announcement of bumper profits in north London at the end of last year.

The Black Stars starlet developed his skills as part of the famed Ajax academy during his teenage years, and the French professor could look to get the best out of the 20-year-old at Arsenal.

Whilst a transfer fee or valuation is yet to be discussed, it's though that Liverpool, Arsenal or any of the clubs monitoring the player would have to pay in the region of £8 million to secure Opara's services.

Boudebouz In No Hurry

Ryad Boudebouz is happy to bide his time at Sochaux and wait for the right move to come along.

The Algeria international is attracting mounting interest, with his potential recognized across Europe.

At just 20 years of age he is regarded as a hot prospect for the future and the likes of Liverpool, Paris St Germain, Marseille and Lyon are all reported to be monitoring his situation.

Boudebouz is flattered to learn of the reported interest from afar and admits he would welcome the opportunity to test himself at a higher level at some stage in his career.

He is, however, in no hurry to make that step up and claims he would be willing to see out another 12 months at Sochaux.

"My future? I don't know what will happen," Boudebouz told L'Equipe.

"I am not looking for anything at the moment. I am happy at Sochaux in a team that plays good football.

"I want to reach a new level but if I have to wait another season to get there, that is not a problem."

Reina Remains Committed

Jose Reina is confident he will be challenging for top honours again with Liverpool.

Although Reina has been linked with an Anfield exit during a disappointing campaign for the Reds, the Spanish goalkeeper remains committed to the new six-year deal he signed only last year.

The 28-year-old, who signed from Villarreal in 2005, won the FA Cup in his first season with Liverpool and helped them reach the following year's Champions League final.

And while he admits it has been a tough season at Anfield, he is determined to battle through the bad times and believes he can help restore the club to its former glories.

"There have been moments when we've not played well, where it's been difficult to stay upbeat and positive," he told the club's official website.

"But this is football - and you have to fight every day to become a greater team.

"When things have gone badly for us, I've tried my best to do my bit to improve the team. There is no point being sad, so I've tried to be positive at all times.

"We are sailing on the same ship and we all want the team to produce the results which we're capable of.

"All I can do from my position is support my team-mates and play my own part.

"I signed a new contract last summer and still have more than five years left to run on it.

"Obviously, I want to be part of a team that has the chance to win the title, win major trophies and to play with the best players, but I expect that to happen here at Liverpool, and for the club to return itself to that level.

"I plan to stick with my contract."

Martin Kelly Thanks Glen Johnson For Helping Improve His Game

Liverpool defender Martin Kelly has said that fellow defender Glen Johnson has helped him improve as a player, despite both being in direct competition for the right-back role in the side.

Kelly has started in every one of Kenny Dalglish's three games in charge so far and has earned praise for his performances.

He started in the FA Cup loss to Manchester United at Old Trafford as England international Johnson had to pull out because his partner was due to give birth, and kept his slot against Blackpool and Everton, where Johnson was forced to play down the left-flank.

And Kelly said on the club's official website: "It was good to play in a big game like that at Old Trafford.

"I remember missing the FA Youth Cup final there through injury and I was devastated, so it was good to go back and play there.

"Glen has been a good help for me. Just watching him on the pitch and seeing how good he is on the training ground has also helped me. He's a great lad and we get on well.

"For me it's good to play at right-back. I could have been pushed out to left-back when Glen came back against Blackpool but the manager has kept me there, and hopefully my performances have shown I can stay there.

"I am enjoying playing at right-back but if the time comes when I'm needed to play centre-back I will play there as well.

"It's good to be able to play anywhere in the back four if need be.

"Playing against Manchester United and then Everton are two of the biggest games I've ever been involved in.

"I've only played 20 games for Liverpool so far and playing in the derby was enjoyable and tough, and I'm still feeling a little stiff from that."

Tom Werner Wants To Live Up To Reds Philosophy

Tom Werner has vowed to restore the principles on which Liverpool FC built their success.

But the Liverpool chairman insists he does not need to oversee a revolution at Anfield.

After a turbulent three-and-a-half-year period under former owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett, an air of relative stability has been brought to matters off the pitch following October's £300million purchase by New England Sports Ventures.

"We (Liverpool) have a philosophy which has been successful for more than 100 years. All we need to do is live up to that philosophy," said Werner.

The new American owners, through NESV subsidiary Fenway Sports Group (FSG), have spent the intervening period assessing all aspects of the club.

And it has been time well spent as Werner does not believe drastic change is required, although that could not save former manager Roy Hodgson from losing his job after just six months in charge.

"It is a privilege to work for Liverpool," said Werner, who achieved success with principal owner John Henry and NESV with the Boston Red Sox baseball franchise.

"I hope the fans would recognize that we have been winners before, we have been judged in baseball as among the best owners.

"We don't want to over-promise and under-deliver but I hope they see we have certainly shown a commitment to moving forward, that we are not interested in short-term results.

"If we can show progress that is good, and hopefully we are building a management team which can produce success year in, year out as we have in Boston.

"There are challenges, we need to increase our match-day revenues, we need to have a club that is younger, but I am more encouraged by the essential foundation of Liverpool."