Saturday, April 16, 2011

Kenny Dalglish 'To Use Liverpool Funds For Single Big Star'

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish is set to be given a 'significant' transfer budget to use this summer - but rather than add depth to his squad, he is set to rely on younger players from the academy and use the money for one big star.

Liverpool have already been linked with a series of top names in world football amid expectations that new owners Fenway Sports Group will invest heavily at the end of the season.

Several Reds fans are calling on Dalglish to improve the squad by adding strength in depth.

However, the recent performances of some of the younger stars already at the club are said to be encouraging the Scot to go in a different direction.

A large kitty to spend on just one or two names would give Dalglish free rein to go after any of Europe's top stars, in the same way he splashed out almost £60million on Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll in January.

And defender Martin Skrtel believes such an approach is the right move - even though it is considered a risk to the club's aspirations of breaking back into the top four.

'The young guys from the academy have already got a chance in the first team, like Martin Kelly, Jay Spearing, John Flanagan and Peter Gulacsi.

'They're still young but they are part of the first team.

'We can see they are the future of Liverpool FC and it is the right way. These players will be a big part in the future of Liverpool.'

Skrtel reserved special praise for 18-year-old right-back Flanagan, whose mature performance on his first senior start helped the Reds to beat fourth-placed Manchester City 3-0 earlier this week.

'He was brilliant. Even though he is just 18, on the pitch he looked like an experienced player,' the Slovakian international added.

'He showed his best and he can be a very good player.'

Dirk Kuyt Agrees One-Year Extension To Liverpool Contract

Dirk Kuyt has agreed a one-year contract extension to remain at Liverpool until 2013, his management company has announced.

The 30-year-old Holland international, who arrived at Anfield from Feyenoord in 2006, was contracted until next summer but has been rewarded for his form this season.

"I am very happy. We have spent a long time [in discussions] but always with the intention to reach an agreement," said Kuyt. All the conversations were conducted in a friendly atmosphere. It fits perfectly with the feeling I got at this club.

"Since the day I first walked in, I felt welcome. That feeling has never left."

Liverpool Sweet On Swede Defender

Oscar Wendt is close to leave FC Copenhagen with Liverpool among the favourites to snatch the Swede, report

A number of clubs have been coveting the 25-year-old after the left-back stared for the Danish side in the Champions League.

And his agent's latest comment, claiming the defender is ready to sign a deal with one of Europe’s elite clubs confirms the interest surrounding him, with Liverpool leading the race.

"There are several large clubs interested in Oscar, but I have no comment to make until something is signed," Niclas Jensen told Expressen.

"It could be that a deal is done within the next few weeks."

With Paul Konchesky unlikely to return to the club, Liverpool is searching for a full-back and Wendt's appears to be the latest in a long line of defenders to be linked with the club.

Reports at the start of the week had surfaced that Jose Enrique had signed a deal with Livepool from Newcastle United, but these have since been rubbished by Magpies manager Alan Pardew.

Liverpool Revisit EPL Left-Back Target After Breakdown In Contract Talks

Contract negotiations between Aston Villa defender Stephen Warnock and manager Gerard Houllier have broken down according to the Daily Mail.

Warnock has been frozen out at Villa Park since the arrival of Houllier, and the 29-year-old left back looks set to leave in the summer.

The news will have alerted the attention of potential suitors Liverpool who were heavily linked with a move for the former Reds trainee in the January transfer window.

Kenny Dalglish has made a left sided defensive recruit the top priority this summer, and an Anfield return for the England fringe player could be on the cards.

Warnock's career started at Liverpool, where he progressed through the club's youth academy before making his debut in 2004 in a Champions League qualifier.

A move to Blackburn Rovers in January 2007 provided him with a platform to showcase his potential having endured a largely frustrating spell at Anfield playing second-fiddle to John Arne Riise.

His fine form for Rovers caught the attention of Villa who moved to bring Warnock to Villa Park in the summer of 2009, but he has recently fallen down the pecking order under Houllier.

Having deemed Paul Konchesky surplus to requirements for Liverpool, Dalglish opted instead to deploy an out of position Glen Johnson at left back for much of the season, until a recent injury curtailed his campaign.

With Fabio Aurelio also struggling for fitness, 'King' Kenny has had to utilize his squad by delving into the youth academy to promote some of Liverpool’s brightest young stars.

Signing Warnock would be perceived as a low risk move, with Liverpool fans knowing they are bringing in a reliable, model professional who will give his all for a club close to his roots.

But having been linked with a host of Europe’s finest up-and-coming stars such as Fabio Coentrao, Taye Taiwo and Jose Enrique, it is unclear whether Reds fans will be bowled over by this signing should it materialize in the summer.

Liverpool Target £7 Million Asian Star

Inter Milan defender Yuto Nagatomo is being linked with a move to Liverpool, according to Sportingo.

The 24-year-old has seen opportunities at the San Siro limited with Maicon and Cristian Chivu ahead of him in the pecking ordering.

And with him looking for way out of the club, and Liverpool looking to expand their Asian playing squad after sponsors Standard Chartered recommended such a move, Nagatomo could be on his way.

The Japanese international would help fill the birth on either the right hand-side, where Glen Johnson's form and fitness has been inconsistent or at left-back where Liverpool had have plenty of issues in the past.

Manager Kenny Dalglish, who is expected to be given a permanent deal this summer, will be given money this summer to re-build a squad that has struggled in the Premier League this season.

Liverpool's market value in Asia is impressive as it is, but with Nagatomo on board their dominance will only swell in the East.

Wenger Praises Anfield's 'Good Business'

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes that Liverpool have done good business in signing strike duo Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll as a replacement for Fernando Torres.

While much has been made of the combined £50 million outlay spent in January by new owners NESV on the former Ajax and Newcastle United men, the Gunners boss believes that they will in time prove valuable assets for the Reds.

Speaking to Arsenal TV Online ahead of Liverpool’s Sunday visit to the Emirates, the French tactician remarked about the merry-go-round of deals which also saw Torres end up at Chelsea.

“They have done good business. You could say at the end of the day that everybody paid big money but it was still good business because everybody got good players.”

Carroll has already proved himself a thorn in Arsenal’s side this season, scoring the only goal of Newcastle’s 1-0 win in London earlier this season. Set to face the physical England international again, Wenger stressed that the key to nullifying his danger was to dominate the game.

“We want to have the ball. If we master the session and the ball they will not be dangerous. Our target is of course for us to have the ball and to dominate the game.”

Dirk Kuyt Backs Campaign To Save Woolton Baths

Liverpool FC star Dirk Kuyt has joined the campaign to save a closure-threatened swimming pool.

Kuyt, who lives near Woolton baths, met up with former Brookside actor Simon O’Brien and primary school pupils Jake Sullivan and Elian McClements to show his support.

Jake, 10, and Elian, nine, who have used the baths since they were five, collected a 2,000-signature petition to present to councillors at Liverpool town hall.

Woolton baths closed in October for “health and safety reasons” and residents fear they may never reopen.

Kuyt, who signed autographs for the boys after adding his name to the petition, said: “I’ve lived in the area for a few years now and I’m pleased to support something important to the community.”

Speaking after the meeting, big Reds fan Elian said: “It was the best day of my life. I was a bit starstuck. It is amazing that Dirk Kuyt is getting involved.”

Jake, an Evertonian, was not quite so excited, but said: “It is good that he is supporting our campaign. Hopefully it will all get sorted soon.”

Jake’s mum Sam spoke of her pride at the pair’s dedication to the cause.

She said: “They were really pleased to get Dirk’s support. They have put a lot of effort into this and it means a lot to them.

“It is great that a local celebrity like Dirk Kuyt is getting behind the campaign.”

Meanwhile, Simon revealed that council leader Cllr Joe Anderson has agreed to meet him to discuss possible plans for keeping the baths open.

He said: “I have been doing a lot of research and found out that two pools, one in Kirkham and one in Chester, operate schemes which could suit our project.

“It would involve a joint project between the community and the council.

“I will be meeting council officers to discuss ways we can regenerate the baths so they can stand on their own two feet, and I have just received an invite from Cllr Anderson for a meeting as well.

“The fact 77,000 people use the baths each year means there is a lot of potential and people really do care.

“Having Dirk here was great. He understands that places like this are unique and important to the people who live here.

“I’d like to thank him for coming down and getting involved.”

Agent: Midfielder May Join Liverpool

Per Jonsson, the agent of Birmingham City winger Sebastian Larsson, has stated that his client wants to continue playing in the Barclays Premier League once his contract comes to an end this summer.

Following talks with his current club’s new owners, Larsson felt that there was no future for him at St. Andrews and decided to part ways in June.

According to Tribalfootball, Liverpool has since monitored the availability of the Swede and it is widely believed that Anfield would be the preferred destination of the player as well.

“The new owners have no feelings for Sebastian and they need to realize that there has been a problem there. They might have seen that but they haven’t found a way around it,” Jonsson said about Larsson’s situation at Birmingham.

Besides the Reds, Manchester City and Newcastle are also said to be keen on acquiring the services of the former Arsenal winger.

In addition to making a strong impression in his 180 club appearances thus far, Larsson has been capped by Sweden 29 times and after winning the Carling Cup this season, he is certainly an important free agent with a winning mentality.

'Why We Want Kenny Knighthood'

Steve Rotheram has explained why he will be putting down an early motion requesting the Queen confer a knighthood on Kenny Dalglish.

Steve Rotheram has explained why he will be putting down an early motion requesting the Queen confer a knighthood on Kenny Dalglish.

The Liverpool MP made the announcement during a moving speech at Friday's Hillsborough Memorial Service at Anfield.

Mr. Rotheram believes Dalglish's role in supporting the families of those who died in the 1989 tragedy deserves recognition.

He told "I spoke to the families and there are lots and lots of individuals who have helped them. Don't forget, it's a family support group, but they also need - and have had - support and comfort from different individuals over the years.

"One person who has been there from the very beginning, and is now back at the club as manager, is Kenny.

"Kenny and Marina were pivotal at the very beginning - the amount of funerals they went to and, if you remember, the toll it took on them as a couple.

"When I was speaking to some of the family members, they were saying it might be nice for Kenny to get some recognition for what he's done.

"One of the ways I can help that as a politician is by putting a motion down in the House of Commons asking for the Queen to confer a knighthood on Kenny Dalglish."

He added: "It's parliamentary recess next week, so I need to contact the Table Office and they will tell me the terms and the words I can use and basically we will put this down so hopefully other people can sign it - and I am sure we will get a lot of people who will.

"That support will go forward as a motion. There will be other mechanisms and online facilities for us, and we will use them to try and garner some further support and then we will put it forward to the authorities to see whether 'Sir' Kenny Dalglish is something the Queen would like to do in the future."

Mr. Rotheram admitted his announcement may have come as a bit of a shock to Dalglish.

He explained: "I haven't seen Kenny and he was unaware of any of this because the families and myself only discussed this last week.

"I think it would have come as a bit of a shock to him to be identified to be the recipient of quite a long lead during my speech!

Youngster Eyes Silverware

Academy youngster Craig Roddan has called upon his teammates to give it one more push as Liverpool U18s look to cap a superb season with some silverware.

Rodolfo Borrell's side have responded well to their FA Youth Cup defeat against Manchester United and remain in the hunt for the FA Premier Academy League Group C title.

The Maghull-born midfielder admits it has been a joy to play in a team packed full of attacking talent and is hopeful they can maintain their momentum as they enter the final straight.

Roddan told "We've done well recently and got a great result at Manchester United, which was especially pleasing after losing to them in the FA Youth Cup.

"It helped us to put that game out of our heads and we then beat Sheffield Wednesday. We can now look forward with optimism.

"We still have a chance of winning the league. We've had a great season and it would be fantastic to win some silverware at the end of it all.

"We've had a few blips and issues with postponed matches, which mean we are up against it in the run-in. But we will take it one game at a time and hopefully our quality will see us through."

Roddan arrived at Liverpool from Wigan back in 2007 and has gone on to develop a fine midfield partnership alongside Conor Coady.

The 17-year-old believes the duo complement each other at the heart of Borrell's team and admits they have a good relationship off the pitch, as well as on it.

"Conor's a great lad," he said.

"We get on great away from football which I suppose helps in some ways. We've got a great understanding on the pitch too.

"We are both very vocal and tend to break up the play and give it simple. We play a 4-2-3-1 formation most of the time and we just hold as a pair in the centre.

"We've got a lot of talent in our team so it's great to get involved and then support as the attacking players do the damage."

On occasions this season the U18s have been a joy to watch, a fact Roddan puts down to a combination of talent and the coaching of Borrell.

He said: "We have some great lads here but we've also got a top manager in Rodolfo. He pushes us hard when we are on the pitch but when we are off it he can have a laugh with us.

"He knows when to come down on us and when to have some banter, which is important.

"I feel I've learned a great deal under him and I know that all of the lads love working with him."