Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Carroll To Make 'Big Impact'

Glen Johnson is confident Liverpool team-mate Andy Carroll is ready to make an impact on the international scene for England.

The most expensive British player in history made his England debut against France last November and is expected to lead the line in Saturday's Euro 2012 qualifier against Wales.

Carroll has started Liverpool's last two games after injury held up his debut and Johnson has been impressed by the powerful striker's ability.

He feels the former Newcastle United ace is more than just a target man and is predicting Carroll will be a hit in international football.

"He scares the life out of opposition defences," said the full-back.

"Everyone sees Andy as a big target man, who can hold the ball up. But there is far more to his game than that.

"He is always an outlet. You can stretch the play by giving it to him and he scores goals. Defenders just do not like the way he plays.

"He has caught me by surprise with his development but in football your life can change very quickly.

"There is no doubt he can make a big impact."

Ahead of Saturday's eagerly-anticipated clash at the Millennium Stadium, Johnson is expected to be handed the job of shackling Wales winger Gareth Bale, who has been in stunning form for Tottenham Hotspur this season.

Johnson added: "It is difficult to say how you stop Gareth Bale, but I am sure we will find a way.

"He is a fantastic player. Inter Milan are one of the best sides in the world, but he destroyed them that night.

"That is where he got the recognition from. He is playing really well. I am sure he will go on and have a great career."

Liverpool Targeting £8m Move For Real Sociedad's Xabi Prieto

Liverpool are considering a move for Real Sociedad’s Xabi Prieto as they continue their exhaustive attempts to rebuild for next season.

Prieto came through the ranks at Real Sociedad and along with Antoine Griezmann, who Liverpool has also watched, is one of the Basque club’s most saleable assets.

The skilful midfielder, 27, plays on the right or centre and would command a fee in the region of £8million, but has a reputation for blowing hot and cold.

Griezmann came close to joining Liverpool during the last transfer window and the 20-year-old remains high on the Anfield club’s wanted list.

Barcelona’s Jeffren Suarez has also been mentioned.

Liverpool are confident Luis Suarez will be fit for their next Barclays Premier League match at West Bromwich Albion on April 2, even though he has been forced to pull out of Uruguay’s squad for friendlies against Estonia and the Republic of Ireland with a groin problem.

Matt Jarvis Could Be On His Way To Anfield This Summer

Liverpool are planning a summer swoop for Wolverhampton Wanderers winger Matt Jarvis.

According to the Sunday Mirror, Reds Director of Football Strategy Damien Comolli is set to reignite his interest in the 24-year-old midfield talent, and will try to bring the player to Anfield in the summer.

Having scored the only goal to give his Wolves side a valuable three points in this weekend’s Midlands derby, Jarvis has been rewarded for his fine form with a call-up to Fabio Capello’s England team.

It caps an impressive rise from the Football League with Gillingham where he started eight years ago as a 17-year-old reports the Independent.

A naturally right-footed player, Jarvis operates predominantly on the left side for Wolves and has been given his chance with the injury to Theo Walcott and Adam Johnson's lack of match fitness.

Having never been capped at under-21 level, Jarvis admitted he was unsure whether he would ever be given the opportunity to play for his country.

Speaking last October he stated, "It is everyone's dream to play for their country and it would be absolutely fantastic but I don't want to tempt fate.

"The people [who play] in my position are all young. There are a lot of players who might think about it after this tournament [Euro 2012] when it will be a whole new up-and-coming team, which will be exciting."

Liverpool was reportedly planning a bid for Jarvis in the recent January transfer window.

But Wolves manager Mick McCarthy managed to keep hold of his prized asset, despite delving into the transfer market himself to bring in what was construed as a ready-made wing replacement in the form of former Anfield scholar Adam Hammill from Barnsley.

Reds manager Kenny Dalglish has pinpointed a wide midfielder as a top priority when the transfer window reopens in June, and it is believed that Jarvis is on a shortlist of potential buys that also includes England international teammate Ashley Young.

Liverpool will likely face competition for either player’s signature, but if there is one thing Anfield owners NESV have shown, it’s that they are prepared to back the manager in the transfer market when it comes to recruiting designated targets.

Liverpool Plan Arsenal Full Back Heist

Liverpool are planning to make a bid for Arsenal’s young left back Kieran Gibbs, in order to solve manager Kenny Dalglish’s defensive woes, according to reports.

Dalglish has been relying on members of the Liverpool squad who would usually play in other positions, such as Glen Johnson and Danny Wilson, to fill the left back while he finds a player good enough to be first choice.

It is believed Dalglish thinks Gibbs would be perfect for the position which some pundits argue has taken a decade to fill with a perfectly fitting player.

England international Gibbs sees himself behind Gael Clichy at Arsenal, with Gunners boss Arsene Wenger preferring to rely on the experience of the latter. Should Clichy sign a contract extension with Arsenal - as has been suggested - then future looks bleak for Gibbs if he does decide to stay with the Gunners, giving him more reason to head to Liverpool.

According to sources, Dalglish has been impressed by Gibb’s international experience, and believes that his tender age of 21 can only serve as a positive in shaping the youngster to learn Liverpool’s style of play.

Liverpool Face EPL Fight In Race To Land €10m Argentine Ace

Liverpool face reported competition from Everton and Spurs in the race to sign Argentine international Fernando Gago.

The Real Madrid midfielder is thought to be one of a number of players heading for a Santiago Bernabeu exit this summer, with Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish reportedly monitoring the situation.

Speculation reached fever pitch a fortnight ago, with claims in the Sunday People that the Anfield outfit were preparing an offer for the 24-year-old midfielder.

Now, talkSPORT claims that both Everton and Spurs have joined the race to sign the player, with David Moyes and Harry Redknapp adding the former Boca Juniors star to their list of potential summer additions.

The news will come as a blow to Liverpool, who were hoping to land the player for a fee under Los Blancos' €10 million valuation.

Jose Mourinho is thought to have cleared the player for a summer exit with the Argentine keen to play first team football, something Liverpool boss Dalglish was hoping to offer the player.

The Scot has hinted at a number of summer changes on Merseyside, with Dalglish looking to strengthen his Liverpool squad in a string of positions.

Christian Poulsen is thought to be heading for a Reds exit after failing to impress under the new regime, and the investment of Liverpool owners NESV could be crucial come the end of the season.

Everton Tell Liverpool Not To Bother With Baines Bid

Everton will not allow Leighton Baines to join Liverpool under any circumstances.

Kenny Dalglish is said to be ready to make a move for the left-back in the summer and is willing to pay around £10m.

Baines, who was part of Fabio Capello's provisional World Cup squad last summer, moved to Everton for around £6m in 2007 and has gone on to become one of the club's most indispensible players.

He was rewarded with a new contract in 2010 and has a deal at Goodison Park until 2015.

There are no plans to extend that further despite rumours of Liverpool's interest but sources at Goodison Park have told talkSPORT that Baines, 26, will definitely not move to Everton's bitter rivals and that any approach will be blocked.

Bayern Munich wanted Baines in the summer but Everton refused to negotiate with the Bundesliga giants and the indications are that the England international is eager to honour his current contract.

Tottenham Ready To Make £5m Move For Liverpool Flop Joe Cole

Sources were claiming in January that Liverpool would happily listen to offers of as little as £5m for a player that Harry Redknapp knows very well. One wonders how exactly the 29 year old would fit into the Tottenham set-up, the former Hammer may end up swapping one bench for another if he does indeed look for a move to White Hart Lane.

At present Cole is very much a bit part player at Liverpool under Kenny Dalglish and has made just one Premier League start since early December and the arrival of Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll will see the club opt for a more traditional 4-4-2 formation leaving the England international hopeful with even less of a chance to get a start.

Maxi and Dirk Kuyt have been regularly selected to play out wide and that has left Joe Cole having to wonder what future he has on Merseyside. However a move to Tottenham would surely present even more obstacles to first team football.

After all the North London club have a number of wide options either out on loan or sitting on the bench, players such as David Bentley and Niko Kranjcar don’t get a look in and the January signing of Steven Pienaar would also get in the way of Cole’s hopes of first team football.

That then leaves the likes of Aaron Lennon and Gareth Bale who seem to be the first choices in the wide roles and it seems that unless Redknapp is planning a clear-out, which seems unlikely given the club’s success this term, a move for the pint sized Liverpool man would not make a great deal of sense.

Aquilani Will Cost Juve £14m

Juventus will have to pay Liverpool a fee of €16million (£14m) if they want to sign Alberto Aquilani on a permanent basis, according to the Italian's agent.

The 26-year-old is nearing the end of his season-long loan with Juventus, but a to-buy option was included in the deal and his representative, Franco Zavaglia, is negotiating the future.

After a £20m move to Liverpool from Roma in 2009, Aquilani struggled with injuries in his debut Premier League campaign and it was decided last summer, when Roy Hodgson was in charge of the English club, that a temporary return to Italy would be beneficial.

Aquilani has enjoyed his time with Juventus, who are understood to want to keep the creative midfielder, but Zavaglia is not 100 per cent certain that an agreed fee will be paid to Liverpool before a 30th June deadline.

"The agreement between Liverpool and Juventus is already there. It all depends on the willingness of Juventus," Zavaglia told Radio Mana Mana.

He continued: "Maybe Juventus want to save something and Liverpool do not want to lose anything.

"But there is an expiration date, everything is organized.

"I think Aquilani will stay at Juventus and there will not be any obstacles."

It has been suggested that Roma will attempt to re-sign Aquilani in the summer, but Zavaglia thinks this is unlikely.

He said: "I don't think it is possible, but in football anything is possible."