Friday, February 11, 2011

Kenny Dalglish Insists Pepe Reina Is Going Nowhere

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish has moved to quash reports that Pepe Reina is set for the exit door this summer, with Old Trafford a rumoured destination.

Reina, who signed a new six-year deal last season, which reportedly has a £20 million escape clause, has long been admired by Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson and has been touted as a potential replacement for the retiring Edwin van der Sar.

Dalglish, however, has insisted that the Spaniard will remain at Anfield for the long term, and that the return of Champions League football to Merseyside is his priority as manager.

Speaking to reporters, Dalglish said: “We have a fantastic goalkeeper and he will be here for a long, long time.

“The Champions League is what everyone here wants to get to. For us it’s only been a year where we’ve not had it and that’s what we want to get back.

“It should be the same for every player, we should all be aiming for that.”

Liverpool Keep Tabs On Athletic Bilbao Defender Aymeric Laporte

Liverpool are reportedly pursuing Athletic Bilbao teenager Aymeric Laporte.

According to, Paris-Saint Germain are also considering a move for the highly-rated defender, who has been drafted into the Bilbao first team squad aged just 16.

Such is his potential, Los Leones have written a buyout clause of £15 million - according to - into the contract of the French youngster in an attempt to ward off any suitors.

With plenty of room to improve and develop, Laporte would fit with the ethos of Liverpool owners New England Sports Ventures (NESV) in their quest to bring the cream of young European talent to Merseyside.

Liverpool appear to be trawling continental academies in pursuit of future Anfield heroes; with moves for Valencia starlet Paco Alcacer and Maccabi Tel Aviv's Omri Altman also said to be in the pipeline.

NESV have identified the development of young players at their Academy as a priority - tasking Liverpool director of football strategy Damien Comolli with identifying precocious stars.

Comolli is renowned for having an eye for talent in its infancy - something which Liverpool Academy director Frank McParland paid testament to.

"His [Comolli's] philosophy is to bring through young talent and he's since told me that we will be seeing a lot of him here at the Academy," he told the official Liverpool website.

"That can only be good news for us. He has a strong interest in young, elite players and we are already in the process of looking to sign some very talented teenagers.

"He has a great network in Europe and when you combine that with what we already have in place here, it promises to be very exciting times for us."

Liverpool have also been linked with moves for Ipswich wonderkid Connor Wickham and Southampton winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain as they look to build a squad to challenge for honours in the future.

Liverpool 'Crazy' Over €25m Playmaker Target

Liverpool is one of the Barclays Premier League clubs being linked with a move for Josip Iličić.

The 23-year-old Slovenian international has been monitored by a number of clubs after a rapid rise to prominence in Italy, with Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish thought to be one of the managers taking a look at the player in January.

“Clubs from England are going crazy for him – Liverpool, Tottenham and Chelsea all want him,” agent Amir Ruznic said yesterday.

"There is also an interest from Spain, other Italian clubs and Russia. Clubs are ready to pay €15millon for Ilicic but that is not enough. If somebody is ready to pay €20, €25 million, than something could happen."

Iličić has scored eight Serie 'A' goals this season from his attacking midfielder position, but it's his overall ability and performances that have sparked interest from clubs across the continent.

New Liverpool owners NESV have already shown their willing to back the manager at Anfield, spending in excess of £55 million on striker additions in January.

Dalglish has hinted that more signings are to come on Merseyside, with the Liverpool chief keen to strengthen in other areas post-season as he builds for a top four challenge next term.

Competition for the former Maribor man is expected to be fierce though, and the fact that Palermo doesn’t wish to sell the player could also prove to be a major stumbling block.

Liverpool would have to meet the demands set-out by the player's agent if they have a chance of bringing the talented youngster to the club, but with other clubs on the trail the fee could escalate higher for one of the top talents in Europe.

Liverpool Plan Surprise £18m Barcelona Raid

Liverpool are preparing a summer move to sign Barcelona youngster Bojan Krkic. The Anfield side’s Director of Football Damien Comolli has set his sights on the Spanish international who may be on his way out at the Nou Camp as the player’s agent has admitted is unsure of his clients future at the Catalan giants.

The 20 year old has spent the best part of four seasons trying to claim a regular first team berth but appears no nearer to securing that goal than three years ago. Bojan has found himself falling down the pecking order and is now behind fellow youngster Pedro and may well feel that he has to leave the club in order to continue his career progression.

A crowd favourite, the pint sized attacker has scored 38 goals for the La Liga champions but is most often used from the bench and is now the subject of much interest from prospective suitors with the likes of Napoli and Valencia reportedly interested in nabbing the speedy front man.

Liverpool is now also chasing the adaptable attacker who can play either as an out and out striker or out on the wing. The Merseyside club is looking to bring in new youthful additions to help the club plan for the future and Comolli hopes to be able to persuade the Barcelona starlet to move to the Premier League club.

Having brought in Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez to Anfield, Liverpool are continuing to scout out young talent to help boost their squad and the club’s owners are willing to spend in the transfer market to help turn the club into genuine title contenders once again.

The club has invested wisely in bringing in young up and coming players from around Europe, such as Jonjo Shelvey, David N’Gog and Daniel Pacheco and has a fair few quality academy graduates also making an impact with Martin Kelly being the stand out player so far.

Liverpool And Newcastle To Fight For £10m Lille Star This Summer

Liverpool and Newcastle are set for a summer transfer tussle for Lille striker Gervinho, according to reports in France.

The Ivory Coast international was a January transfer target for a long list of clubs across Europe and Ligue Un table-toppers Lille wanted him to stay until the end of the season and fire them to the title.

But the Ivory Coast international is keen to test himself in another country so the club have now agreed to sell him in the summer.

Gervinho has hit 10 goals in 21 games so far this season and Newcastle have identified him as a long-term replacement for Andy Carroll, who joined Liverpool for £35m in January.

But the Reds are ready to disrupt Newcastle's attacking options once again by making an offer of their own for the Lille star.

It is understood that the French club are willing to do business for around £10m.

Agger Hails Dalglish Impact

Liverpool defender Daniel Agger has hailed the impact of Kenny Dalglish and says his side have an outside chance of finishing in the Premier League's top four.

The Reds have been resurgent under club legend Dalglish following the departure of Roy Hodgson and last week secured a 1-0 win at champions Chelsea.

This came following a devastating blow after Fernando Torres left Anfield for the Blues in a deal worth £50million.

Agger, 26, claims Dalglish and new assistant Steve Clarke have instilled belief in the players and the Denmark international is happy with the spirit in the camp.

"I played the last game against Bolton under Roy Hodgson and I think that is where it started and we began to play really well," he said.

"A big part of it is Kenny and Steve Clarke. They have made a major difference.

"But it is also something to do with confidence, because it is the same footballers as before.

"Confidence can win you games and somehow Kenny and Steve have put the confidence back in the players and the belief.

"I think we have shown that definitely in the last four games. It is looking good, although there is still a long way to go."

He added: "What has Dalglish done? He is a positive guy. In football terms, he is positive.

"First of all because he likes to play positive football, going forward, and keeping the ball on the ground and I think he is good among the players.

"The training sessions have been really good and I think everything starts at the training ground.

"If you can get that right you have a big advantage in the games."

Liverpool suffered a poor start under former boss Hodgson but now sit sixth in the table ahead of Saturday's clash with Wigan.

Agger admits it will be a tall order to break into the UEFA Champions League places this term, but says anything is still possible with momentum.

"It is going to be really, really difficult. It is a six point gap and we have played a game more. I don't know if we can get in there," he remarked.

"But, if we can have a good run, and we are on a good run already with four straight wins, and if we can continue playing the same way, with the same confidence, I think we can get close.

"Everybody at Melwood agrees, and it sounds simple and stupid, but we have to take every single game and see where it takes us.

"I know that is the standard answer, but if you start to look ahead and count the games left and how many points you can get, you lose your focus. We do have momentum."

Poulsen Seeks Regular Role

Christian Poulsen claims he has been assured of his future at Liverpool if he impresses Kenny Dalglish in training.

The Dane was strongly linked with a move away from Anfield during the January transfer window less than six months after joining the club.

The summer signing from Juventus has struggled to win over the Reds faithful after being brought in by former boss Roy Hodgson.

Following Hodgson's departure in January it was suggested Poulsen could soon follow him out of Anfield.

Poulsen has revealed he had a chat with Dalglish about his future and the Scot informed him he remained part of his plans.

"After the new manager came in I had a short meeting with him," revealed Poulsen. "I asked whether I was staying.

"He said he wanted to use all the players and if I performed in training he would use me.

"He has showed he is ready to use all the players, so if I do what he asks, hopefully I will play more often."

Poulsen has been impressed by the impact of Dalglish with the former Reds star leading the side to sixth place after four successive wins in the Premier League.

"I didn't know what to expect," added Poulsen. "It was a fresh start for everybody.

"But the support the manager gets is unbelievable. It is amazing to see how the fans support him and that, in turn, has taken a bit of pressure off the team."

Poulsen insists he can handle the criticism that has been aimed at him as that is part and parcel of playing for a big club.

"Liverpool has such a big history," noted Pouseln.

"They really want to win something and be where they deserve to be - the top of the league.

"At a club like that it is normal that even if you draw a game it feels like a defeat.

"You have to live with the criticism. Hopefully it will be a better time for me but I can live it. It is part of being a professional footballer.

"Liverpool has such a big history and I hope, given some time, they can come back to the top."

Poulsen admits he has huge sympathy for former boss Hodgson after his time in charge at Anfield was cut short.

"Football tends to be black and white," noted Poulsen.

"I still think Roy Hodgson did a good job. He worked really hard to try to make everything right for the club but there were so many things going on.

"There were new owners, new players, a new system. And we made a bad start.

"We needed time. But football is about getting results. We have just won four games on the trot and from that the confidence and performances grow."

Jonjo Shelvey Out For Three Months With Knee Injury

Liverpool's young midfielder Jonjo Shelvey has been ruled out for around three months with a knee injury.

A tendon problem will keep him out of action until May, meaning it is unlikely that the promising youngster will figure again this term.

The England Under 19 international, who was signed from Charlton Athletic last summer, missed the clash with Germany this week due to the problem.

He will begin a lengthy rehabilitation program with the club's medical staff at Melwood.

Shelvey told the club's official website: "I'm a bit down at the moment but I'm just hoping now I can come back stronger.

"I am now going to take a 12-week rehabilitation and hopefully I'll be back soon."