Sunday, April 10, 2011

Lucas Calls For Dalglish Deal

Liverpool midfielder Lucas has called on the club's owners to give Kenny Dalglish the manager's job on a permanent basis.

Reds owners Fenway Sports Group have confirmed they have held initial talks with Dalglish about a long-term deal at Anfield.

Dalglish replaced Roy Hodgson on a caretaker basis in January and has helped the side get their season back on track after a disappointing spell under the previous boss.

Lucas, who recently signed a new contract at Anfield, believes Dalglish deserves the job for the work he has done so far during his second spell at the helm.

"We can all see he knows a lot about football and that everything he does is aimed at helping his staff and the players."

Liverpool To Splash Out On Jose Enrique

Liverpool will splash £15million on Newcastle defender Jose Enrique in the summer – after a frustrating four-year wait.

Ex-Kop boss Rafa Benitez tried to sign the Spaniard in 2007.

But Newcastle paid Villareal £6.3m for the left-back nicknamed The Bull and gave him a five-year contract.

Now Kenny Dalglish is hoping he’ll succeed where Benitez failed and get Enrique, 25, to provide the ammunition for his old Toon team-mate Andy Carroll.

Everton’s Leighton Baines has been strongly linked to a switch to Anfield – as revealed in last week’s Daily Star Sunday – but the Goodison club will fight to keep him out of their rivals’ grasp.

Director of football Damien Comolli has watched Enrique in action and has no doubt that he’s the left-back for Liverpool.

A deal could be pushed through in the next couple of months – providing Italian giants AC Milan don’t step in with their own bid.

Dalglish Bid To Kop Connor Wickham

Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish is ready to win the race for Ipswich hot-shot Connor Wickham – and beat old pal Harry Redknapp to his signature.

Wickham has just signed a new deal at Portman Road, but that will not stop a transfer going through if Liverpool come up with the asking price of around £10million.

The Kop chief has been on Wickham’s trail for months, watching him for club and country. He sees Wickam as the perfect capture to give him a young striker behind Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez.

Spurs supremo Redknapp is after Wickham too – as People Sport first revealed – but Dalglish’s entry to the race will turn the head of the teenage terror.

Dalglish wants to sign a handful of players when he gets the go-ahead and is officially named long-term boss at the Kop. He would like to improve his squad and bring in younger players.

The Liverpool boss is also chasing Wigan’s James McCarthy and Dalglish hopes to get the cash backing to buy Wickham in the next transfer window.

Liverpool Consider Anfield Return For Experienced Friedel

Liverpool are preparing to offer Brad Friedel a sensational chance to extend his Premier League appearance record into another season.

The 39-year-old American, out of contract at Aston Villa this summer, is on Kenny Dalglish’s list of options if he is forced to replace Pepe Reina.

Spanish star Reina, 28, has hinted he may move on rather than face another season without Champions League football .

Manchester United and Arsenal are keen to sign him, which would leave Dalglish searching for an experienced replacement.

Friedel – whose career in England began at Liverpool – would fit the bill. He will be 40 in May, but Saturday’s trip to Everton extended his record for consecutive top- flight appearances to 259 games.

Villa boss Gerard Houllier has been unsure about extending Friedel’s contract because of his age with talks about a new deal put on ice since January.

Liverpool Set Sighs On Roma Star

Liverpool has been the latest side to express their interest in luring Roma’s £10 million rated star Jeremy Menez to Anfield in the next transfer window.

As Liverpool’s wild search for a star winger goes on, Roma winger Jeremy Menez’s solid display throughout the season in the Serie A has caught the eye of the 18-time Premier League champions. Jeremy Menez is currently rated £10 million, but it certainly won’t mind for Kop boss Kenny Dalglish to pay more in attempt to lure the 23-year-old to make a move to Anfield.

The French wide man has fallen out of favour with the club’s loyal supporters and has made it abundantly clear that he will be open to a move away from the Stadio Olimpico. Argentinian Maxi Rodriguez and former Netherlands captain Dirk Kuyt are both the current first choice starters on either wing for Liverpool but Kenny Dalglish wants to bring in new additions to beef up his attack.

There has been much speculation that fellow wide men Joe Cole and Milan Jovanovic may be sold this summer after both were unable to make any significant impacts this season. Liverpool’s Director of Football, Damien Comolli, will hope that Menez is keen to make a move to Liverpool to help provide the ammunition for star strikers Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll after spending three seasons at Roma.

Liverpool Weigh Up Free Transfer Swoop For Nicolas Douchez

Liverpool sent scouts to check on Rennes goalkeeper Nicolas Douchez in the club’s 2-0 defeat to Brest in Ligue 1 yesterday. Douchez’ contract runs out this summer and the 30-year-old could join any interested party on a free transfer.

The Reds are already snapping up Douchez’ team-mate Sylvain Marveaux when his deal runs out and according to L’Equipe, Douchez could well be next on the Anfield side’s list.

Douchez moved to Rennes in 2008 from Toulouse and quickly established himself as the first choice keeper at Stade de la Route de Lorient. As Rennes have moved up the Ligue 1 standings, even mounting a title challenge this season, the 30-year-old has begun to attract more attention.

On a free transfer Douchez is an attractive proposition and Aston Villa boss Gerard Houllier made an attempt to snap up the keeper just last month. The Frenchman however was told his countryman was not looking for a move to Villa Park.

Liverpool will face opposition for Douchez, with Paris Saint-Germain and several La Liga sides running the rule over the former Toulouse player.

The Anfield side’s interest will do little to dampen speculation that Pepe Reina is preparing to quit the club in the summer, with the Spaniard concerned about a prolonged spell outside the Champions League.

Gerrard To Return For Pre-Season After Successful Surgery

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has undergone surgery on the groin injury that has curtailed his season.

It was confirmed on Friday that the midfielder would not play again this term after suffering a setback in his recovery from the problem that has kept him out since early March, and tests revealed that the 30-year-old required an operation.

The procedure has been declared a success and Liverpool expect their talismanic leader to be available for pre-season training.

A statement on the Liverpool website read: "Liverpool FC confirmed that Steven Gerrard has undergone successful surgery on his groin.

"The decision was taken after consultation with leading specialists. The player will now begin a rehabilitation program and is expected to return for pre-season training.''

Danes Won't Risk Agger

Denmark coach Morten Olsen insists they will not take any risk with Liverpool defender Daniel Agger's fitness.

Agger has been ruled out for the rest of the season with a knee injury he picked up in last weekend's defeat at West Brom.

The problem is likely to sideline the central defender for up to two months and Olsen says he will not pick Agger for the Euro 2012 qualifier with Iceland on 6th June.

"He is out. Daniel can't go around aiming for a game two months away," Olsen told Ekstra Bladet.

"He will have to aim at getting ready for Liverpool's summer training and hopefully he will be perfectly fit for the opening of next season's Premiership.

"He will have to prepare himself and hopefully this will result in that he is ready for the important games we will be playing this autumn."

'Our Test Of Strength'

Alan Hansen has pin-pointed the up-coming games against Manchester City and Arsenal as a way of measuring the squad's strength in depth.

City visit Anfield on Monday night, with the Reds travelling to the Emirates six days later to face Arsene Wenger's men.

The Kop legend believes the two games will give manager Kenny Dalglish a good evaluation of his current squad's capabilities.

"They are both mega games," said Hansen in his LFC Weekly Column.

"The thing about them is one is at home and the other is away, it will give Kenny a realistic assessment of where Liverpool are at present.

"He already knows what areas need strengthening but back to back games against top teams give you a real sense of how capable your players are."

The Scot was quick to highlight the strength in depth that City possess since being taken over by Sheikh Mansour in 2008.

He added: "You don't necessarily look at their players and think that they are brilliant, but they have spent £15-25m on squad players. That gives them strength in depth.

"If you look at the players who are on their bench and who don't make their bench and have been loaned out - such as (Emmanuel) Adebayor, (Craig) Bellamy, (Roque) Santa Cruz and (Wayne) Bridge - it emphasizes how much they have spent to build their squad."

Hansen is also predicting a busy summer transfer window for the Reds, as they look to build on a squad that was bolstered by the arrival of Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll in January.

"Realistically we need to get closer to them sooner rather than later and that means this summer will be particularly important for Liverpool," he said.

"We're not a million miles away from Man City. The way we can bridge the gap is by bringing in the right players with the right qualities this summer."

Morgan Treble Sinks Owls

Rodolfo Borrell hailed a 'fantastic' team performance after Liverpool U18s maintained their push for the Academy League title with a 3-0 triumph over Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday afternoon.

Adam Morgan was the star of the show as he netted a treble to take his tally to 16 goals in his last 11 matches - but Borrell was eager to heap praise upon the collective effort rather than individuals.

He told "It was a consistent team performance. Adam Morgan scored three good goals but it is unfair if he takes all of the plaudits.

"Everyone worked hard throughout the game. We played really well, particularly in the second half. However, we must keep our feet on the ground.

"We are in a good moment but we must work even harder and put all of our focus into the next game. We will not look beyond that."

Merseyside Giants Must Reconsider Groundshare, Says Mr Fixit

Keith Harris, English football's Mr Fixit who has brokered a series of takeover deals in the top two divisions, has urged Liverpool and Everton to re-consider groundsharing and forget about developing Anfield and Goodison Park.

Harris says adopting the European model of investing in the same stadium is the only way the two clubs can progress in the current economic climate. Liverpool's American owners are assessing whether to redevelop Anfield or move to a new stadium on their own while Everton have suffered a series of setbacks trying to find a new site.

But Harris, chairman of the investment bankers Seymour Pierce, says none of these is the best option. "Groundsharing has worked well in Milan and Munich, so why not? It makes so much common sense," he said. "Is it more sustainable for both to build a £250m stadium that is predominantly empty when not being used for playing?"

The municipally owned San Siro has become antiquated but Harris, noted for his mediating skills between club owners and potential buyers, says merging is the best way forward. "The technology is there and Liverpool is not a wealthy city. At some stage it will be forced on us and that will be a change for good."

Harris, who spoke at last week's SportAccord conference in London, joked that he had received "more death threats from fans than from my ex-wife" over his initial comments about groundsharing on Merseyside. But he persists with his belief that it will work, because the two sets of fans are not as hostile to one another as some rivalries. "It should be given serious consideration rather than dismissed as something that is crazy."

A former Football League chairman, Harris also painted a grim picture for the future of lower-league clubs as a result of the new £195m three-year TV deal with Sky to start in 2012-13, which is worth £69m less than the current deal. "This deal will mean a squeeze at the bottom," said Harris, who said budgets may be slashed to accommodate player contracts that run beyond the current deal. "I can see the teams not competing to reach the Premier League being cast off and becoming feeder clubs, or even semi-professional."

Harris said the new TV deal would have a huge negative effect. "Clubs may have been thinking they would get the same again but now they will have to adjust their belts." He also revealed that new owners for Portsmouth would be revealed within a week but admitted it was becoming difficult to find buyers for League One and League Two clubs. "The Championship is the attractive preying ground right now because you are one removed from milk and honey and should be able, by judicial expenditure, to avoid going down into what is becoming more of an abyss."

Harris also cautioned against Leeds being allowed into the top flight unless they disclose more about their owners. West Indies-based holding company FSF, run by three discretionary trusts, is said to run the club, but its bosses are unknown. "The Premier League is fastidious about ownership. Someone somewhere knows who the owners are. It's a question of preparedness of disclosure."