Friday, February 04, 2011

Kenny Dalglish Hits Out At Andy Carroll Critics

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish has expressed his delight following the signing of Andy Carroll from Newcastle United, and has hit back at critics of the £35 million spent on the striker.

The Reds boss, who has also welcomed Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez to Anfield, has stated that the club has signed a player of great potential, rubbishing thoughts that the 22-year-old will struggle to justify his price tag.

He said: "I don’t want it to be negative in any way, shape or form about Andy Carroll signing for Liverpool football club. He’s a great signing for us, as is Luis’ signing, it’s fantastic for us.

"And we can reassure Andy that we’re more positive than yourselves are [the media]."

Dalglish also insisted that the club wasn’t going to rush the 22-year-old into first team action, as he looks to recover from a thigh injury.

He said: "We’re really looking forward to getting him up and ready and working and I’m sure he’s anxious as well but he’s just got to be conscious of the fact that he doesn’t push too hard.

"So we’ll look after him, get him fit and he’ll play when he’s fit and ready. It might be a few weeks but we never signed him for a few weeks, we signed him for five-and-a-half years. So that’s what we’re looking forward to.

"He’s got fantastic potential. He’s already part of the England squad and for us it’s a fantastic signing for us. He’s the best person we could have got in here to wear the No.9 shirt and at such a young age, when you consider that he’s wore the No.9 at Newcastle, which is a fantastic honour and he can wear the No.9 here as well.

"For somebody at 22 years of age that’s a lot to carry on your shoulders and he’s showed by what he did at Newcastle that he’s capable of doing that. Anybody that can wear that No.9 shirt up there and score goals has got a chance.

"We know that he’s only a young boy. We know the price might be a bit more than what some people think it should be but then every single person in here has got to justify their wages and their costs so if you can do that with yourselves then surely he can do that for us."

Liverpool Set For Anfield Stay

Liverpool will not be leaving their Anfield home any time soon, owner John W Henry has suggested.

The subject of a new stadium became a major source of controversy for the Merseyside club's previous owners, Tom Hicks and George Gillett, who ran into trouble after reneging on famous early promises to get work started on a new home within 60 days of their arrival.

But Henry believes the Reds do not need a new stadium, having been impressed by the atmosphere of the current ground on his numerous visits to date.

"The Kop is unrivalled," Henry said, in an interview with Fox Soccer Channel. "The atmosphere, I was really surprised because we've heard so much about needing a new stadium.

"We were surprised at how beautiful Anfield was both viewing it as an empty stadium and then with the first game. It would be hard to replicate that feeling anywhere else."

Henry also gave his thoughts on the sale of Fernando Torres to Chelsea, admitting that once it became clear the Spaniard wanted to leave for Stamford Bridge the club saw little point in retaining his services.

"One of things that we talked about from the very beginning was how important it was that everyone was on the same page. No player is bigger than the club," Henry said. "We expect players to want to be there. If they don't want to be part of Liverpool Football Club then we should do everything we can to facilitate them going elsewhere."

Fábio Coentrão In Fresh Link To Anfield Move

Liverpool is reportedly planning a summer move for versatile Benfica wideman, Fábio Coentrão.

The Portuguese is thought to have been on the radar of the Reds for a number of months after initially reported that they had shown interest in the 22-year-old.

Coentrão has since been quoted in the French press expressing his 'love' for Liverpool and, now, suggest the Anfield club have 'earmarked' the Portugal international for a summer transfer.

Liverpool is currently short on recognized left-backs after the failure of Paul Konchesky to make a lasting impression at Anfield saw him loaned out to Nottingham Forest.

This would suggest that Liverpool will be in the market for reinforcements when the transfer window reopens, and Coentrão would be an exciting successor for the beleaguered Konchesky.

However, Liverpool are expected to have to spend big to land Coentrão, who has a buyout clause of £26.7 million written into his contract, which expires in 2016.

Liverpool, though, have demonstrated their financial clout under the ownership of New England Sports Ventures and are likely to provide stiff competition for Coentrão's other reported suitors.

Real Madrid, AC Milan and Bayern Munich are alleged to be prepared to battle with Liverpool for Coentrão's signature as a summer of heavy spending awaits.

Gary Cahill Emerges As Anfield Target

Liverpool has reportedly joined the race to sign Bolton Wanderers defender Gary Cahill.

The 25-year-old has been linked with a number of Barclays Premier League clubs as his stock continues to rise at the Reebok, with Liverpool thought to be one of the clubs interested.

The News of the World claimed Kenny Dalglish was keen to bring the player to Anfield in the middle of January, although Liverpool never made an official approach for the player.

Arsenal is known to be interested in the player too, with Arsene Wenger previously stressing his admiration for the Trotters centre back. The pair could come together in a summer bidding war for the England international.

“Gary Cahill is a player I want at this football club for a long time to come. If someone comes in with £25 million, any football club would have to look at that," said Owen Coyle as he tried to warn off potential suitors last month.

Liverpool director of football strategy Damien Commoli is thought to have highlighted the player as a potential long-term successor to Jamie Carragher, although Coyle's valuation may be an off-putting factor.

The Merseysiders would hope to land the player for a discounted fee, and are known to be in the market for a defender after it was revealed Liverpool made an enquiry for Micah Richards on deadline day.

Liverpool Keeping Tabs On Young Villarreal Star

Liverpool have joined the race for precocious Villarreal defender Mateo Musacchio.

The Argentina youth international, 20, has been part of the Villarreal first team for a year since breaking through from the club's youth ranks.

Musacchio is considered a key part of the club's long-term plan, but a series of outstanding La Liga performances have attracted the interest of a number of top clubs.

Liverpool, Juventus and AC Milan are the three clubs currently understood to be tracking him, but Villarreal are adamant they won't sell.

Musacchio has a contract until 2014 but reports in Spain claim that a generous offer might tempt him to leave.

It has been reported that Milan are ready to treble his wages, and Liverpool could follow suit if he becomes available.

Fernando Llorente Admits He Turned Down Liverpool

Athletic Bilbao striker Fernando Llorente has admitted that Liverpool were interested in signing him during the winter transfer window as a replacement for their departing Spanish international Fernando Torres.

Llorente and los Leones were opposed to the star striker being sold in January, with clubs such as Tottenham and Real Madrid both rumoured to be interested.

"Representatives from Liverpool arrived in Bilbao and had talks with the leadership of our club, but obviously I did not want to be put on the transfer list. So to talk about this any longer makes no sense," Llorente informed Marca.

"I understand the fans of Athletic who don't like talk of clubs that are interested in me, but it shows that I'm doing my job well. At the moment my football future is associated with Atheltic," the Spanish striker confirmed.

Pepe Reina 'Considers' Liverpool Future

Pepe Reina is believed to be contemplating leaving Liverpool in the summer, with Manchester United considering a bid for the Spaniard at the end of the season.

The 28-year-old has seen a number of his team-mates leave Liverpool over the last few seasons, as well as the manager who brought him to the club – Rafa Benitez.

With the departure of fellow Spaniard Fernando Torres to Chelsea on the final day of the January transfer window, reports claim the keeper is now considering his options at Anfield.

There was speculation on Thursday; Reina has a buy-out clause within his current Liverpool contract which, if matched, could trigger his departure.

Reina has been linked with a move to Arsenal in the past and there is now speculation Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson could be contemplating a surprise bid for the 28-year-old in the summer as he searches for a long-term replacement for the retiring Edwin van der Sar.

Liverpool fans have taken to club forums and blogs this week to discuss the possible departure of Reina, with some pointing out that when he first joined the club there was a large group of Spanish players and back-room staff who have all, one by one, left leaving the goalkeeper as one of the only Spaniards remaining.

Andy Carroll Out For Another 8 Weeks

Liverpool’s £35m new boy Andy Carroll could be out for another EIGHT weeks.

Carroll has yet to play this year because of a thigh injury and recently flew to Sweden to see a
specialist for a second opinion about the problem.

And his former Newcastle team-mate Kevin Nolan revealed Carroll faces a long wait for his Liverpool debut, saying: “He could be out for another eight weeks.”

Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish refused to put a time on Carroll’s return yesterday.

But did admit: “We’ve got to be patient and we’ve got to make sure we act in the best interests of Andy first and foremost and ourselves.

“The injury isn’t a problem. It will be a few weeks, but we are desperate to see him play and the sooner we can get him fit the better it will be for everybody.

“But we haven’t bought him for five-and-a-half weeks – we have bought him for five-and-a-half years.”

Carroll, who was officially unveiled at Anfield yesterday, insists he won’t be changing his ways despite being involved in a series of off-field scrapes.

He said: “I don’t mind a pint now and again, but that is the way I have been brought up. That’s who I am and I am not really going to change.

“I am just going to carry on playing my football, keep my head down and do it at the right time. I have made some mistakes in the past, but they are all behind me. I have got to move on into the future.”

He is aware that he will be under intense scrutiny after swapping one goldfish bow for another – but says he will be more responsible.

He added: “I feel I’m ready for those responsibilities. I’ve made the move now and feel I’ve settled down and know what I need to do and concentrate on football.

“I know in myself what I can do – that’s scoring goals and creating chances. Fernando Torres was a great player, but I need to concentrate on my own game.”

And he has been boosted by big mate – and Scouser – Nolan telling him all about life in Liverpool. Carroll said: “Kevin told me it is a great club and that I should settle in well and the fans will take to us.

“He has got a few friends here and that will help me to settle in.”

Nolan and Carroll are close mates after the England striker was sent to live with his club captain as a condition of his bail on an assault charge.

Nolan said: “There’s no-one more disappointed than me. Not only have we lost a top player, but I’ve lost a good mate who was very close.

“It’s going to be tough and a bit weird over the coming weeks. “He’ll be all right at Liverpool because he’s a brilliant player, fantastic. I know Andy, and I think he’ll score goals and he’ll be a top, top player.”

Ian Holloway: Charlie Adam Only Liverpool's Third Choice

Blackpool manager Ian Holloway has accused Liverpool of not wanting to sign Charlie Adam enough. The highly-rated Scotland midfielder was linked with a move to Anfield throughout January but the clubs failed to agree a fee, while Tottenham were also unsuccessful with a late bid.

Adam's agent Kenny Moyes was quoted criticizing Blackpool for their handling of the situation, claiming his client had been "seriously mucked about".

However, Holloway feels Liverpool were more interested in completing deals for Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll and that Adam deserved better.

The Seasiders manager said: "I think his agent should be very careful what he says, if it's true.

"The boy will go to a top club eventually but he has to go on the right footing, where they really want him, and to be perfectly honest I didn't feel that was the case. Charlie is someone I care about immensely and I believe he's improving. I believe he's a great professional and I believe he should walk into a club when they really want him. He shouldn't be third choice, they shouldn't be doing two other deals, Suarez and Carroll, and putting their energy into that and nothing for Charlie."

Holloway branded the events of transfer deadline day "total madness", but insisted his club had acted in the right way.

"The whole thing is sharks swimming trying to bite pieces off my players, and at the end of the day Charlie will get what he deserves," Holloway added. "I'm very proud of us. The chairman stood there resolute and said, 'That's not good enough'. I think I'll be proven right in time and what Charlie will eventually go for will be a decent amount of money for this football club."